COLUMBIA — South Carolina and Tennessee maintained their respective positions in the new AP Top 25, setting up a clash of top-six opponents Monday night with the SEC championship likely on the line.
The Gamecocks remained ranked No. 2, which they dropped to a week ago in the wake of their lone defeat at top-ranked Connecticut on Feb. 9. South Carolina (24-1, 13-0 SEC) had occupied the top spot for a dozen weeks before the loss to the Huskies, who remained a unanimous No. 1 in Monday’s new poll.
Tennessee remained sixth, beating Alabama last week despite losing leading scorer and rebounder Isabelle Harrison for the season with a torn ACL. The Lady Vols (22-3, 13-0) have won three straight against USC entering the 9 p.m. game at Colonial Life Arena, and hold a 45-2 edge in the series overall. Tennessee won last year’s game 73-61 in Knoxville.
The rest of the top six in the poll also remained unchanged, with Baylor, Notre Dame and Maryland occupying the third through fifth spots respectively. USC’s final two regular-season opponents, No. 11 Mississippi State and No. 13 Kentucky, are also ranked in the top 15.
USC and Tennessee are the lone SEC teams unbeaten in conference play, while everyone else has four league losses or more. Monday’s game will be televised by ESPN2.