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PROVO, Utah (Feb. 19, 2007) - For the first time since 1993, BYU has been recognized among the nation's top-25 teams in men's basketball, entering the national rankings released Monday at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
With a 20-6 record and a Mountain West Conference-leading 10-2 mark, BYU has earned a spot in the national polls for the first time since March 8, 1993 when the Cougars were ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll. BYU's No. 21 ranking equals its highest ranking achieved during the 1992-93 season. The Cougars have been ranked in the AP Poll during 15 seasons since their first ranking in 1950-51. The last time BYU finished the season ranked among the top 25 was in 1987-88 when the Cougars achieved rankings as high as No. 2 (UPI) and No. 4 (AP) before finishing 19th (AP) and 17th (UPI).
"We appreciate the recognition because I think it reflects the hard work of our players," said BYU coach Dave Rose, who has guided BYU to back-to-back 20-win seasons in his two years at the helm. "Our guys have worked very hard. Obviously it's something we can be proud of, but we're really just concerned with getting better and preparing for our next game. Game to game you just want your players to be consistent, and we've been able to do that for the most part."
The Cougars join Air Force in representing the MWC in this week's polls. Air Force (23-4, 10-3) is ranked among the top 20 for the seventh consecutive week, coming in at No. 14 and No. 13 in the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls, respectively. With UNLV's top-25 ranking three weeks ago, this marks the first time in the conference's eight-year history that three different teams have been ranked in the top-25 polls at some point during the season.
BYU sits atop the MWC standings having won seven consecutive games to tie its longest victory streak of the season. Its current streak ranks 11th in the nation and includes road wins at TCU, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and home victories over then-No. 13 Air Force, then-No. 25 UNLV and New Mexico. With 29 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars rank second behind Air Force (30) for the nation's longest active home winning streak. With its 20-6 record, BYU has reached the 20-win mark for the second consecutive season and the sixth time in eight years, tops among all MWC teams.
Air Force has won seven of its last 10 games and sits a half-game back of BYU in the MWC standings. The Falcons are off to their best start in school history at 23-4, notching a second-straight 20-win campaign and their third in four years. Third-place UNLV (22-6, 9-4 MWC) is enjoying its best start since the 1992-93 squad finished with a 22-8 record. The Runnin' Rebels, who have topped the 20-win mark for the fourth time in eight years, have won eight of their last 10 contests and are currently receiving votes in both national polls.