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Bulls move up in two hoops polls, stand 30th in NCAA NET ranking

The University at Buffalo continued to climb in the national men’s basketball polls while some big names have fallen out of the top 25.

Coach Nate Oats’ Bulls moved up five places to 20th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and from No. 22 to No. 21 in the AP poll of media members.

UCLA, LSU, TCU and Nebraska dropped out of the USA Today’s Top 25. UCLA, LSU, TCU and Clemson fell out of the AP’s top 25.

Disappointing, though, is that UB is ranked only 30th among 353 Division I teams in the new NET ratings released for the first time on Monday by the NCAA.

The NET was initiated to replace the RPI ratings, which were used as one tool to assist the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee in determining at-large teams and all seedings for the NCAA Tournament in March. The NET rankings will be updated daily on the NCAA website.

The NET produced some controversial outcomes in its first release. No. 1 is Ohio State. Gonzaga (6-0), which took over the No. 1 spot this week from Duke (5-1) in both the USA Today and AP polls, is ranked No. 5 in the NET ratings.

Other strange outcomes in the NET rankings include Kentucky being ranked 61st. The Wildcats have one, 34-point neutral site loss to Duke. Ohio State (6-0) meanwhile has four wins over teams ranked below No. 200 in some rating systems. Loyola Marymount (7-0) is No. 7 ahead of Kansas (No. 2 in both the AP and USA Today polls).

Duke, which fell from No. 1 to No. 3 in both the AP and USA Today polls after losing to Gonzaga in the championship game of the Maui Invitational, is sixth in the NET Rankings.

Although UB did gain in the AP and USA Today polls, it was not as great an advance as some teams that were not in the top 25 last week. Texas went from unranked to No. 17. Texas Tech went from unranked to No. 20.

Defending national champion Villanova went from unranked to No. 23 after winning the AdvoCare Invitational in Florida, where one of its victims was Canisius.

Maryland moved into the top 25 at No. 24.

Also, Ohio State and Purdue, who were ranked behind the Bulls in last week’s poll, moved past UB to 16th and 19th, respectively.

Other big names that were not ranked by the AP or USA Today this week included former UB coach Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State team, Indiana, Syracuse and Notre Dame.

The USA Today Poll consists of 32 coaches, one from each of the Division I conferences.

Coaches who represent conferences to which Western New York Big 4 teams belong are Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan (MAC); Tim Cluess, Iona (MAAC), Chris Mooney, Richmond (Atlantic 10). Jim Boeheim of Syracuse is the voter from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

UB (5-0) received 351 points in the AP poll of media members. No. 1 Gonzaga received 1,590 points and 32 of the 65 first-place votes. Kansas had 31 first-place votes and Duke and Virginia had one each.

The Bulls received votes totaling 159 points in the USA Today poll. No. 1 Gonzaga had 784 points and 17 of 20 first-place votes. Kansas got two first-place votes and Duke 1.

The Bulls will put their national rankings on the line in Northern Ireland this week when they face Milwaukee on Friday (5:30 a.m. ET) and then play the winner of the University of San Francisco-Sam Houston State game on Saturday.

The games are part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic. UB won two campus games in the Hall of Fame Classic, defeating Dartmouth and Marist at Alumni Arena last week.

Dartmouth and Marist also are playing in Belfast, but will be in a different bracket than the Bulls. The bracket winners in Belfast will not meet for an overall championship.

The University of San Francisco, where Bill Russell and K.C. Jones once led the Dons to NCAA championships in the 1950s, is ranked 25th in the NET rankings.

USF, of the West Coast Conference, will take a 6-0 record to Northern Ireland.

Milwaukee (3-4) defeated LIU Brooklyn (92-87 in OT) and Albany (79-70) at UWM Panther Arena in the campus games last week of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.

The Panthers are led by junior guard Darius Roy, who is averaging 18.2 points per game.


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