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Friday, 29 February 2008 19:01
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 Tennessee fans really shouldn't have been shocked that the Volunteers are expected to have a short stay after moving to No. 1 in The Associated Press' college basketball poll for the first time.
The last five teams to enjoy a No. 1 ranking for the first time before Tennessee jumped to the top this week all had stays of one week or two, and two of the teams lost their next two games after movin' on up.
Alabama moved to No. 1 for the first time in school history in late December 2002, and the Crimson Tide stayed there for two weeks, losing 51-49 at Utah to drop to fourth. They were unranked when the season ended.
Florida made its first appearance at No. 1 in December 2003. The Gators lost 69-68 in overtime to Maryland in their first game as a top-ranked team and then lost 73-65 to Louisville late in the week. The Gators dropped to 15th in the next poll and were out of the rankings by the end of the season.
Saint Joseph's reached the top for the first time in the next-to-last poll of 2003-04. The Hawks were unbeaten when they moved up to No. 1 on a Monday. Three days later, they lost 87-67 to Xavier in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament and fell to fifth in the final poll.
Wake Forest moved to No. 1 for the first time in late November 2004. The Demon Deacons were on top for two polls before losing 91-73 at Illinois. They stayed in the Top 10 the rest of the season, reaching as high as No. 3.
Last February, Wisconsin reached No. 1 for the first time and it was a one-week stay as the Badgers lost 64-55 to Michigan State and 49-48 to Ohio State in a 1-vs.-2 matchup. Wisconsin dropped to No. 4 and was sixth in the final poll.
Tennessee's reign as a No. 1 will likely last this one week following the 72-69 loss at Vanderbilt, but the Volunteers were trying to avoid what happened to Florida and Wisconsin when they played Kentucky this weekend.
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PAC-10'S ROOKIES: One conference has statistical proof that this is the season when freshmen have more than lived up to their advance billing.
Entering this season only 11 freshmen in Pac-10 history have averaged 15.6 points per game. Entering this week four members of the current freshman class are better than that: Jerryd Bayless, Arizona, 21.1; O.J. Mayo, Southern California, 20.1; James Harden, Arizona State, 18.0; and Kevin Love, UCLA, 17.0.
Since returning from a knee injury on Jan. 12, Bayless has averaged 24.1 points and 4.7 assists while shooting 50.4 percent from field and logging 37.3 minutes per game.
In a three-game stretch from Feb.10-16, the point guard scored 50.7 percent (103 of 203) of Arizona's points and still managed 13 assists.
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SUPER SHOOTING: Utah State senior guard Jaycee Carroll is putting up some impressive shooting statistics.
Carroll, who an honorable mention All-America selection last season, is the only player in Division I who is shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 3-point range, and is above 90 percent from the free throw line.
Through 28 games, Carroll was shooting 52.4 percent from the field (209-for-399), 51.4 percent from 3-point range (91-for-177) and 91.5 percent from the free throw line (108-for-118). He leads the nation in 3-point shooting and is fifth in free throws and his 22.0 scoring average is 12th.
Dating to the 1986-87 season, when the NCAA officially began using the 3-point line, the only Division I player who has shot better than 50 percent from both the field and on 3-pointers and better than 90 percent from the free throw line was Arizona's Salim Stoudamire.
In his senior season of 2004-05, Stoudamire shot 50.4 percent from the field (210-for-417), 50.4 percent from 3-point range (120-for-238), and 91.0 percent from the free throw line (122-for-134).
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VAST VIEWERS: Last Saturday's 1-vs.-2 matchup of Tennessee at Memphis was ESPN's most-watched men's college basketball game.
No. 2 Tennessee's 66-62 victory averaged 3,636,000 households and 5,281,000 viewers. The prime-time telecast averaged a 3.8 rating, making it ESPN's highest rated men's college basketball game since the Kentucky-Duke matchup in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 22, 1998, averaged a 3.9.
It also stands as the most-viewed regular-season men's college basketball on any television outlet - broadcast or cable - since CBS' coverage of Duke at North Carolina on March 6, 2005, averaged 3,977,000 households.
ESPN's most viewed men's college basketball telecast had been North Carolina at Duke on March 4, 2006, which averaged 3,134,000.
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IMPRESSIVE COMPANY: If you're going to have a monster scoring game it only adds to the big performance when you are mentioned with the like of Larry Bird and Elvin Hayes.
Houston senior guard Robert McKiver had 52 points in the Cougars' 95-67 victory over Southern Mississippi on Wednesday night. He was 17-for-34 from the field and 11-for-12 from the free throw line and had seven 3-pointers, five assists and four steals.
McKiver's effort was the highest-scoring game in Division I this season and it broke Hofheinz Pavilion's single-game record, which was set by Bird when he scored 44 points for Indiana State on March 9, 1977.
It was the most points scored by a Houston player since Hayes had 55 against Southwestern on Feb. 12, 1966. It was the first 50-point performance by a Cougar since Hayes had 51 against Virginia Tech on March 2, 1969.
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WINNING DIFFERENCE: Arizona State has made quiet a move in coach Herb Sendek's second season, guaranteeing itself a winning record despite having freshmen playing almost half of the minutes available.
Last season the Sun Devils were 4-17 in games decided by 10 points or less. This season, they lead the Pac-10 in that category with a 7-2 record. Arizona State was 0-1 in overtime last season. This season the Sun Devils are 4-0, including a win over Stanford. The four overtime wins are the most by an Arizona State team since 1985-86 Sun Devils went 4-2.
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SHAQ'S GREETING: UCLA coach Ben Howland was coming off the court at halftime of Thursday night's game at Arizona State when new Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal greeted him.
O'Neal sat in a corner spot courtside at Wells Fargo Arena for the fourth-ranked Bruins' 70-49 victory, shaking hands with anybody who stopped by.
``He said hi to me at half when I came off,'' Howland said. ``He's been up to Pauley (Pavilion) a lot and I've seen him over the years. He's not only a great player but a great person.''
The 7-foot-1 O'Neal also posed for a picture with the Arizona State spirit team, and none of the young women stood past his waist.
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GOODBYE CARTER: East Tennessee State spoiled Campbell's farewell to Carter Gym with a 96-87 victory this week.
With a capacity of 947, Carter Gym was the second-smallest Division I facility behind the Charleston Southern Fieldhouse, which holds 790.
Carter Gym opened on Feb. 20, 1953, with Campbell's 66-63 victory over the Wake Forest junior varsity and it remained the Camels' home through the move to Division I in 1977, despite always being 4 inches short of the regulation 94 feet.
The Camels will move into the 3,100-seat Gilbert Craig Gore Arena next season.
``Yes, we'll be losing a great homecourt advantage,'' said fifth-year coach Robbie Laing. ``On the other hand, there's no doubt that we're definitely trading up.''
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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.
 

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