Tennessee still ahead

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TENNESSEE guard Admiral Schofield celebrates after a score over Vanderbilt in overtime of an NCAA college basketball game in Nashville, Tennessee. AP

The NCAA Division I Basketball Committee slated Duke as the no. 1 overall seed in its initial tournament rankings over the weekend.

Voters in the AP Top 25 stuck with Tennessee as their top team.

The Vols received 40 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday, remaining ahead of Duke for fourth straight week. The no. 2 Blue Devils had 24 first-place votes.

No. 3 Gonzaga and no. 4 Virginia, the other top seeds in the NCAA’s initial rankings on Saturday, rounded out the top five with Kentucky.

Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) moved to the no. 1 spot in the AP poll after Duke (21-2, 9-1 ACC) lost to Syracuse on 14 January.

The Vols continued winning, stretching their school-record streak to 18 games with wins over Missouri and Florida last week.

Committee chair Bernard Muir said the decision for the top overall seed was close, but Blue Devils edged the Vols based on strength of schedule.

Tennessee was no. 1 in the South Region.

“I want these guys to enjoy what they’re doing and I’m probably not the easiest guy to let that happen because I’m always thinking of ways we can get better, and I want to do it right now,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said.

“I appreciate how hard they’re competed and the fact that they want to get better.”

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