Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ohio State jumps to No. 5


Ohio State, waiting for heralded freshman Greg Oden to recover from surgery, moved up two spots in the first regular-season college basketball poll by The Associated Press.

While Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and Pittsburgh held the top four spots from the preseason rankings on Monday, the Buckeyes (3-0) jumped from seventh to fifth after winning the BCA Classic.

Ohio State has just one starter back from last season's Big Ten champions, but its early ranking was predicated on a five-man recruiting class considered one of the nation's best. The 7-foot-1 Oden, however, won't be available until January. He had surgery on his right wrist during the offseason and is continuing his rehabilitation.

The Buckeyes' home wins over VMI, Loyola of Chicago and Kent State were by an average of 24 points. Those performances vaulted them over two teams that didn't play last week - UCLA, which stayed sixth, and LSU, which dropped from fifth to seventh.

Florida (1-0), which opened defense of its national championship with a 79-54 victory over Samford, was again a runaway No. 1. The Gators received 65 first-place votes from the 72-member national media panel, two more than they got in the preseason voting.

North Carolina, which opens its season against Sacred Heart on Tuesday night, was No. 1 on seven ballots, down from the nine it received in the preseason poll.

Kansas and Pittsburgh opened with victories over Northern Arizona and Western Michigan, respectively, and held third and fourth place.


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