Ole Miss enters USA Today/ESPN poll

Dec 24, 2007 - 8:34 PM MCLEAN, Virginia (Ticker) -- Off to one of the best starts in school history, Mississippi finally is starting to receive some national recognition.

Undefeated Ole Miss made its first appearance this season in the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, which was released Monday.

North Carolina (11-0) remained atop the rankings, receiving 23 first-place votes and 762 points from a panel of 31 Division I coaches.

Ole Miss (11-0) remained perfect Saturday with an 85-82 victory over then-No. 15 Clemson in the championship game of the San Juan Shootout.

The Rebels matched the best start in school history, joining the 1936-37 and 2000-01 squads as the only programs to win their first 11 games.

Ranked 24th in the most recent poll, Ole Miss was joined by fellow newcomers West Virginia (10-1) and Rhode Island (11-1).

It marks the first time that Ole Miss has been ranked since the end of the 2000-01 season, when the Rebels finished the campaign at No. 9.

"It's a long season, and we have so much more to do," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "But I'm happy that our players have been acknowledged for all their hard work."

Memphis (10-0) remained second, receiving six first-place votes and 747 points.

Ranked third for the second straight week, Kansas (12-0) was given the other two first-place votes. Washington State (11-0) climbed two spots to fourth while UCLA (11-1) rounded out the top five.

Pittsburgh (11-0) is sixth, followed by Michigan State (11-1), Georgetown (8-1), Texas (11-1) and Duke (10-1).

Texas A&M (11-1) remained 11th, followed by Tennessee (11-1), Marquette (9-1), Indiana (10-1) and Vanderbilt (11-0). Villanova (9-1) retained its spot at No. 16, while Butler (11-1), Arizona (9-2), Miami (12-0) and Clemson (10-1) completed the top 20.

Brigham Young (10-2) moved up two spots to 21st, followed by Stanford (10-1). West Virginia, Ole Miss and Rhode Island completed the poll, while Gonzaga, Oregon and Xavier fell from the rankings.

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