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North Carolina moves into top spot on poll

North Carolina, which followed its impressive 1-vs.-2 showdown win over Duke with a double-overtime thriller against Georgia Tech, Monday moved back into the top spot in the AP college basketball poll.

The Tar Heels (24-1), who remained perfect in six games involving the top two ranked teams with the 97-73 victory over Duke, were No. 1 for five weeks earlier in the season. They fell out following a loss to Maryland with the Blue Devils taking over for the last three weeks.The voting by the national media panel was nearly unanimous as North Carolina, which beat Georgia Tech 107-100 Sunday, received 68 first-place votes and 1,748 points.

Duke (21-2), which rebounded from the loss with a 65-49 victory over North Carolina State on Sunday, had 1,624 points, 16 more than Arizona (21-3), which had the other first-place votes.

The Wildcats, the defending national champions and only other No. 1 team this season, holding the spot in the preseason poll and the first two of the regular season, switched places with Kansas. Arizona has the nation's longest current winning streak, 14 games.

Utah held fifth, while Connecticut moved up one spot to sixth, its highest ranking of the season. Kentucky moved up one place to seventh and Purdue jumped two spots to No. 8. UCLA, which was sixth last week, dropped to ninth following its loss to Oregon.

Princeton was 10th, its first Top Ten ranking in more than 30 years. The Tigers held the same spot in the poll released Dec. 12, 1967.

New Mexico led the Second Ten and was followed by Arkansas, Michigan State, Stanford, South Carolina, West Virginia, George Washington, Mississippi, Cincinnati and Massachusetts.

The last five teams were Michigan, Texas Christian, Syracuse, Maryland and Rhode Island.

TCU (20-4), which has won nine straight games, and Rhode Island (17-5), which has won four in a row after dropping three of four, returned to the rankings. The Horned Frogs were ranked for two weeks before falling out six weeks ago, while the Rams are in the poll for the 10th time this season, never getting higher than No. 20.

Falling from the ranks of the ranked were Iowa and Xavier.

Iowa (16-7) split its two games last week, but has lost five of six, dropping from 10th to 16th to 24th and then out of the poll.

Xavier (15-6), which split its two games last week, was 21st last week and is out of the rankings for the first time this season. The Musketeers were 10th in the preseason poll and got as high as No. 7.

George Washington, which won two games last week to reach the 20-win mark, made the week's biggest jump, from 22nd to No. 17.

Stanford, which lost three of four after opening the season 18-0, had the week's biggest fall, from No. 9 to 14th. The Cardinal had been ranked in the Top Ten for the past eight weeks.