There's been talk all season of the potential 1 vs. 2 matchup in South Carolina on Monday night. Now, it's finally here with No. 1 UConn visiting the second-ranked Gamecocks.
It will be the 56th meeting between the top two teams in The Associated Press women's basketball poll with the No. 1 team holding a 34-21 advantage. The Huskies have been involved in the last five of those games, winning all of them, including an 87-62 victory over the Gamecocks last season. In that game, the Huskies were the No. 2 team.
''I just hope it's a great game,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''I hope it is a great showcase, that everyone watching on television says, `Wow, this women's basketball thing is pretty cool. If these are the two best teams in the country then you know what? I want to watch the games.' ''Everybody wants to win, don't get me wrong. But there are a lot of coaches on a lot of teams that don't want to play these games in February. I'm glad Dawn (Staley) does. I always do. I always think they're good.''
UConn hasn't had too many great games this season. DePaul, Notre Dame and Maryland all challenged the Huskies for a while before falling. The American Athletic Conference hasn't posed much of a challenge with UConn winning those games by an average of 49 points. Take away the 16-point win over South Florida, which was competitive, and the numbers are even more staggering.
Notre Dame, Baylor and Maryland once again rounded out the first five teams in the poll. The Terrapins visit No. 7 Ohio State on Monday night.
Tennessee fell to No. 25, the first time the Lady Vols have ever been ranked that low during their 564-week streak of being in the Top 25 that started on Feb. 17, 1985. They split their games this week, beating Arkansas before falling to Texas A&M in overtime on Sunday.
The Lady Vols visit Vanderbilt on Thursday in their only game this week.
Other poll tidbits:
WELCOME BACK: DePaul re-entered the Top 25 for the third time this season. The Blue Demons came in at No. 23 after sweeping through Villanova and Georgetown this weekend. DePaul was ranked for six straight weeks from Nov. 30-Jan. 4, fell out for a week then came back in Jan. 18. The Blue Demons then dropped out again last week. West Virginia also came back into the Top 25 at No. 24 after falling out last Monday. Missouri and Washington dropped out.
TOP TEAMS GOING DOWN: While the men's Top 25 saw its No. 1 and 2 lose on the same day Saturday for the first time since 2013, the women have only had it happen twice since 1999, according to STATS. No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Stanford both were beaten in the national semifinals in 2011. Duke and Tennessee also fell as the top two teams in their conference tournaments in 2007.
20 WINS DOESN'T GET YOU IN: George Washington, Colorado State, Duquesne, San Diego, New Mexico State, BYU and Florida Gulf Coast have each won 20 games or more already and aren't ranked. The seven schools have combined to go 142-21 this season.
To find the poll and how the pollsters voted: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/Womens-Top-25-2016-14
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