UNLV men move up in national basketball rankings

The UNLV basketball team, which won two games this past week to improve to 8-0 on the season, moved up to No. 20 from No. 24 in the weekly Associated Press Top 25 poll released on Monday.

The Rebels also climbed to No. 19 from No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, also released Monday.

UNLV won both of its road games last week — an 82-51 victory at Illinois State on Wednesday and an 82-70 win at instate rival UNR on Saturday. The Rebels host Boise State at the Orleans Arena on Wednesday, playing a home-away-from-home game while the National Finals Rodeo occupies the Thomas & Mack Center.

By winning their first eight games of the season, the Rebels are enjoying their best start in 20 years, when UNLV finished 34-0 before losing to Duke in the national semifinals during the 1990-91 season.

Meanwhile, Duke, with a victory over a top-10 team and a win in a rematch of last season’s national championship game, remained a unanimous No. 1 for a second straight week.

The Blue Devils capped a tough two-week stretch by beating Michigan State and Butler, and that meant they again got all 65 first-place votes from the national media panel.

Duke (8-0) was No. 1 in the preseason poll and has stayed there for the first four polls of the regular season.

Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas and Kansas State, which lost to Duke earlier this season, were second through fifth for the second week in a row.

Connecticut, which went from unranked to seventh last week in the second-best inseason poll jump ever, moved up one place to sixth.

Michigan State, Syracuse, Georgetown and Baylor rounded out the top 10.

It is the first appearance in the top 10 for Baylor, which was 11th last week and moved up with wins over Prairie View A&M and Arizona State.

Tennessee jumped two spots to lead the second 10 and was followed by Villanova, Memphis, San Diego State, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Brigham Young, Purdue and UNLV.

Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Louisville and Texas rounded out the Top 25.

Louisville (6-0) moved into the rankings for the first time this season. The Cardinals’ biggest win was over then-No. 16 Butler in the opening game at their new downtown arena. They were ranked for four weeks last season, and in 2008-09, they were in the Top 25 all season, reaching No. 1 for the first time in school history in the final regular-season poll.

Louisville is the seventh Big East team in the rankings, while the Big Ten and Big 12 have five each. The Big East has four of the top 10 — Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Syracuse, Georgetown — and the Big 12 has three — Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor.

Georgetown moved into the top 10 for the first time this season, making the week’s biggest jump from 16th to No. 9.

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