Pitt stays No. 1; Wake Forest now No. 2

Pittsburgh will start its second week as the No. 1 team with a new No. 2 in Wake Forest.

The Demon Deacons jumped from fourth to second in The Associated Press college basketball poll yesterday following its victory over North Carolina.

The Panthers (14-0) beat St. John’s 90-67 on Sunday in their first game as a No. 1 team and just hours later Wake Forest (14-0) handed North Carolina its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference loss, 92-89.

Pittsburgh received all but two first-place votes from the 72-member national media panel and the Demon Deacons got the others in reaching their highest ranking since their only two weeks as a No. 1 team in November 2004.

Duke (14-1), which beat Davidson and Florida State last week, fell one place to third, while Connecticut (14-1), which won road games against West Virginia and Cincinnati, moved up one spot to fourth.

North Carolina (14-2), the unanimous No. 1 from the preseason poll until last week’s voting, dropped to fifth.

Oklahoma was sixth, followed by Michigan State, Syracuse, UCLA and Clemson (16-0), the nation’s only other unbeaten other than Pitt and Wake Forest.

Texas was 11th, followed by Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Xavier, Arizona State, Butler, Minnesota, Purdue and Louisville.

Baylor, California, Villanova, Tennessee and Michigan were the last five ranked teams.

California (15-2) moved into the rankings for the first time since March 2003. The Golden Bears have won nine straight, including their first four Pac-10 games, under first-year coach Mike Montgomery – and they’re headed into their rivalry game at Stanford on Saturday in Montgomery’s return to the place he coached 18 seasons.

“It’s definitely a nice sign for our team and what we’ve accomplished so far,” Cal guard Patrick Christopher said Monday of receiving a ranking. “We can’t be satisfied with our play in January. We’re definitely focused on the long term. Sometimes it’s just about respect. This is the first time in my collegiate career being in the Top 25. It’s definitely something to be excited about. We want to keep what we have going.”

Michigan (13-3) was ranked in two polls before falling out last week, but the Wolverines are back in following wins over Indiana and Iowa.

Boston College (13-4) dropped out after a one-week appearance. The Eagles jumped in at No. 17 after their win at North Carolina and they were gone just as fast after home losses this week to Harvard and Miami.

West Virginia (11-4) also fell out after a one-week appearance. The Mountaineers, who lost to Connecticut and Marquette this week, gave the Big East a record nine teams in the Top 25. Now the 16-team conference is down to eight ranked teams.

There are eight games between ranked teams this week and one matches two of the three unbeatens – Wake Forest, which plays at Boston College on Wednesday, at Clemson on Saturday.