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IU strengthens hold on top ranking

Indiana's hold on the top spot in the Associated Press' Top 25 and USA Today coaches polls became stronger Monday.

The Hoosiers (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) received all but one of the 65 first-place votes in the AP poll, and 28 of the 31 first-place votes in the coaches poll.

Indiana has been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll 10 times this season, and it has been in the Top 25 for 29 consecutive weeks.

The Hoosiers will enter the final two weeks of the regular season with a chance to win the Big Ten regular season title outright. IU has a two-game lead in the race to the title, and the Hoosiers only need to win two of their final four games to claim at least a share.

Indiana closes the regular season with a trip to Minnesota (18-9, 6-8) on Tuesday, home games against Iowa (17-10, 6-8) on Saturday and Ohio State (20-7, 10-5) on March 5, and a trip to Michigan (23-4, 10-4) March 10.

"We are getting ready with this time that we had off to not only get ready for Minnesota, but to sharpen our game up and make sure our skill levels continue to rise," said Hoosiers coach Tom Crean during Monday's Big Ten coaches' teleconference.

The Hoosiers haven't played since last Tuesday's 72-68 win at then-No. 4 Michigan State (22-6, 11-4).

"We've had a really good week of practices, with one more today before we leave for Minneapolis," Crean said.

Other Big Ten teams ranked in the AP Top 25 are No. 4 Michigan, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 16 Ohio State and No. 17 Wisconsin (19-8, 10-4).

Other Big Ten teams ranked in the coaches poll are No. 4 Michigan, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 15 Ohio State and No. 16 Wisconsin.

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