North Carolina's 35-point romp over a ranked team kept the Tar Heels a unanimous No. 1 choice in the

Associated Press'

college basketball poll yesterday. Ohio State joined the Top 25 following a pair of five-point victories over ranked teams.

The Tar Heels (8-0) dismantled Michigan State 98-63 at Ford Field last week as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and again received all 72 first-place votes from the national media panel.

Connecticut and Pittsburgh held the second and third spots, while Gonzaga and Oklahoma both moved up one place to fourth and fifth. Texas, Duke, Tennessee, Louisville and Xavier rounded out the top 10.

Ohio State (5-0), which beat Miami and Notre Dame last week, moved in at No. 21, the Buckeyes' first ranking since being No. 1 in the final poll of 2006-07.

Defending national champion Kansas (7-1) moved back into the poll at No. 25.

Miami (5-2) and Florida dropped out of the rankings.

Wake Forest was 11th and was followed by Notre Dame, Syracuse, Purdue, Villanova, UCLA, Memphis, Michigan State, Georgetown and Arizona State.

The last five ranked teams were Ohio State, Baylor, Davidson, Marquette and Kansas.

The top 10 is almost the same in the USA Today/ESPN coached poll with only Xavier and Louisville changing places.

Noteworthy

* Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford has dismissed starting forward Ibrahima Thomas from the basketball team.

Ford says he had several conversations with the sophomore over the past week and determined that he lacked the commitment to make the program successful.

At 6-11, Thomas was the main post presence on a Cowboys team that lacks depth inside. He was benched for Oklahoma State's 83-65 loss at Washington last week and replaced in the starting lineup by senior Anthony Brown.

Thomas had been averaging 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds.

* Eastern Michigan coach Charles Ramsey is serving a 3-day suspension for what the school says was a "postgame altercation" last month.

A statement from Eastern Michigan athletic director Derrick Gragg says the incident happened Nov. 22 after the Eagles' road loss to the University of Detroit.

School spokesman Jim Streeter said the dispute involved Ramsey and a fan but declined to say if physical contact was involved and didn't give further details.

Associate head coach Derrick McDowell led the Eagles (2-6) in last night's 67-47 home victory over Wayne State.

In last night's Top 25 games:

* At Louisville, Ky., freshman Samardo Samuels scored 15 points and Earl Clark added six points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the No. 9 Cardinals (5-1) to a 78-56 victory over Lamar (6-3) in the final game of the Marques Maybin Classic.

* At Washington, DaJuan Summers, Jessie Sapp and Austin Freeman all had 14 points and Greg Monroe added 13 for No. 19 Georgetown (6-1), which defeated Savannah State, 100-38.

Savannah State (5-4) shot just 30.2 percent from the field (16-of-53).

In a women's Top 25 game:

* At Piscataway, N.J., junior guard Epiphanny Prince scored 14 points to become the sixth-fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 points and lead No. 14 Rutgers (4-2) to a 45-34 victory over Georgia (7-3) in the Jimmy V Classic.

Prince became the 28th player in Rutgers' history to reach 1,000 points and she needed only 76 games to do it. *