Dec. 1, 2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For the first time in the history of the Associated Press men’s basketball poll, one conference, the BIG EAST, has placed eight teams in the AP rankings of the nation’s top 25 teams. The weekly poll was released Dec. 1.

The eight BIG EAST squads are: No. 2 Connecticut, No. 3 Pittsburgh, No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 Louisville, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Villanova, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 25 Marquette.

The BIG EAST set a preseason AP poll record with seven teams and that group of seven remained ranked in each of the first two polls in the regular season. Syracuse, which went from unranked to 16th this week, became the eighth league entry after defeating ranked opponents Florida and Kansas last week.

The BIG EAST had seven teams ranked in the AP poll one other time, in the Jan. 23, 2006 poll. The AP poll began in the 1948-49 season.

In this week’s ESPN/USA Today Poll, seven BIG EAST squads are ranked. Marquette finished one spot of out of the top 25. Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are also second, third and seventh, respectively, in that poll. Louisville was 11th. Villanova followed at No. 16. Georgetown was 18th and Syracuse 20th.

BIG EAST league play begins Dec. 29 when two of the ranked teams, Georgetown and Connecticut, meet in Hartford, Conn.