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Wichita State gets rare Top 25 nod

SHARE Wichita State gets rare Top 25 nod

The last time Wichita State was in The Associated Press' Top 25 its star player was Xavier McDaniel, and current coach Mark Turgeon was still in high school.

The Shockers entered the rankings Monday at No. 24, their first appearance since Dec. 6, 1983. It comes following a victory Sunday against George Mason, their recent big rival.

"It's nice when you haven't been ranked in a long time. It's good because I've watched programs build themselves up and get national exposure and be in the Top 25," said Turgeon, the 41-year-old coach who signed a 10-year contract extension last April after leading Wichita State to its first NCAA appearance since 1988. "I'd rather be in the Top 25 in February as every coach says, but right now we're going off last year's success rather then an early season win over George Mason."

The Shockers lost to George Mason twice last season — at home in the regular season and then in the round of 16 in the Patriots' run to the Final Four. On Sunday, Wichita State (3-0) beat George Mason 72-66, a win that drew enough attention to move them into the rankings.

"We were a lot more fired up to play them than they were to play us since they beat us at home last year and then in the NCAA tournament," Turgeon said. "It was pretty exciting for our guys to have another chance at them, and we were ready to play with them hanging their Final Four banner and playing in front of their largest crowd ever. Our guys were fired up for the game."

Maryland (5-0) was the other newcomer in the poll, moving in at No. 25 after winning the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Terrapins were ranked for the first 12 polls last season, reaching as high as 14th.

Florida (4-0) beat North Florida, Jacksonville and Chattanooga by an average of 41 points last week to easily hold the No. 1 spot for a third straight week. The Gators received 66 first-place votes and 1,794 points from the 72-member national media panel.

North Carolina (3-0), which had easy wins over Sacred Heart and Gardner-Webb around a bit of a scare from Winthrop, stayed No. 2 and had the other six No. 1 votes and 1,720 points.

Pittsburgh, Ohio State, UCLA and LSU all moved up one place from last week and were third through sixth. Wisconsin, Alabama and Duke each jumped two places to seventh through ninth, while Kansas dropped seven places to round out the Top Ten.