The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 18, 2013

Spartans on the war path

NORMAN — Michigan State made the one-step move to No. 1 by beating Kentucky in the 1 vs. 2 matchup last week.

It’s the third time the Spartans have been atop the poll. They have to hope they can make a run as No. 1 that lasts longer than the other two, which were both for two weeks.

Michigan State’s first time on top was during the 1978-79 season, one that ended with a national championship. The Spartans were led by Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser.

The next time was during the 2000-01 season, one that again ended with the Spartans in the Final Four only this time they were defending champions going for a repeat. That team featured Jason Richardson and Zack Randolph.

New guys: Iowa State and Creighton made their first appearance in the poll this season.

The Cyclones, which beat then-No. 7 Michigan 77-70 last weekend, are in the rankings for the first time since a one-week appearance in 2011-12.

Creighton, which made the move this season from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East, was ranked for all but four weeks last season, reaching as high as No. 11.

They replace Notre Dame and Virginia. The Fighting Irish, who lost to Indiana State, had been ranked for nine straight weeks dating to last season. Virginia, which lost to then No. 14 VCU, had been ranked for the preseason Top 25 and first regular-season poll.

First top ten: Virginia Commonwealth, one of the mid-major programs to reach the Final Four, made its first appearance in the Top Ten this week.

The Rams jumped four spots this week after beating then-No. 25 Virginia and Winthrop.

VCU, which reached the Final Four in 2011, came close to the top 10 when it finished 11th in the final poll of the 1984-85 season. The Rams weren’t ranked again until 2012-13.

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