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Duke finishes atop AP poll

Duke joined UCLA in the record books by being No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll for the third straight season.

The Blue Devils (29-4), a top seed in the NCAA tournament for a fourth straight year, moved from third to first Monday in the voting by a national media panel.

The only other school to finish No. 1 in three straight final polls was UCLA, which did it from 1971-73.

Victories over Maryland and North Carolina capped a third consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title run for Duke (29-4), which received 45 first-place votes and 1,701 points.

Stanford (28-2), a unanimous No. 1 the last two weeks, dropped to second after losing to Arizona last week.

The Cardinal, the only team in Division I with less than four losses, were No. 1 on 23 ballots and had 1,674 points.

Michigan State (24-4) and Illinois (24-7), the other No. 1 seeds for the NCAA tournament, were third and fourth in the poll. The Spartans dropped one place after losing to Penn State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament, while Illinois (24-7) held fourth after losing to Indiana one round later.

Duke, Michigan State and Stanford were 1-2-3 in last season's final poll.

Arizona, which was fourth at the end last season, was fifth this year. The Wildcats (23-7) received one first-place vote and improved three spots from last week.

North Carolina remained sixth and was followed in the Top Ten by Boston College, Florida, Kentucky and Iowa State.

Five teams were ranked No. 1 this season, one short of the record set in 1993-94. Stanford was on top for seven weeks, while Duke was there for five, Arizona three and Michigan State and North Carolina two each.

Maryland led the Second Ten for the second straight week and was followed by Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, UCLA, Virginia, Syracuse, Texas, Notre Dame and Indiana.

The last five ranked teams were Georgetown, St. Joseph's, Wake Forest, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Indiana (21-12) and Iowa (22-11), the finalists in the Big Ten tournament, were the new teams in the final poll. Indiana, which lost the title game, was ranked for the first time this season. Iowa, which had been struggling since star Luke Recker fractured his kneecap in late January, returned to the poll after being out the last three weeks.

Ohio State (20-10), 24th last week in its first poll appearance of the season, was beaten by Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals and dropped out.

Fresno State (25-6), which was 25th last week, fell out after losing to Hawaii in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.

Indiana became the seventh team this season to make a one-week appearance in the poll, joining Georgia, Missouri, Providence, Temple, Ohio State and Dayton.

Forty-three teams were ranked during the season, the most since 45 in 1997-98, and five off the record of 48 set in 1992-93.

Twelve teams were ranked from the preseason right through the final poll, including Duke, Michigan State and Stanford, all of whom never fell out of the Top Five. Five of the 12 came from the ACC, with Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest joining Duke.

Eight teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 — Tennessee, Seton Hall, Utah, Connecticut, Arkansas, Cincinnati, DePaul and Southern California — were not in the final poll.