What a difference a few months have made for Florida.
In the preseason, the Gators were a Top 10 team rich on talent but dealing with numerous eligibility and injury issues that threatened to engulf their season.
Despite all the turmoil and stress placed on coach Billy Donovan's plate, though, Florida managed to close up shop on its regular season as the nation's top-ranked team. The Gators remain No. 1 for the third straight week in the latest Associated Press Top 25, even as questions about the validity of that ranking get louder.
Wichita State, the nation's lone undefeated team in men's college basketball, again has to settle for the proverbial silver medal. The Shockers, at 34-0, will have to hope Florida falls in the SEC tournament if they hope to finally reach the No. 1 pinnacle.
Beyond the nation's top two teams, the rest of the AP poll can nicely be described as inconsistent. Arizona seemed likely to stabilize at No. 3, but Villanova made a surprising leap from No. 6 as Arizona lost its first-place votes. Louisville comes in at No. 5, moving up six spots to round out the week of change across the nation.
Here is how the rest of the final regular-season AP poll shook out:
|Week 19 Associated Press Top 25|
|Rank||Team (First-Place Votes)||Record||Votes||Previous|
|2||Wichita State (15)||34-0||1574||2|
|8||San Diego State||27-3||1143||10|
The talk of college basketball remains the tussle—at least among voters—between Florida and Wichita State. While the No. 1 ranking will ultimately matter little come Selection Sunday, the two-loss Gators' ability to stay ahead of an undefeated Wichita State squad still rubs some the wrong way.
The Shockers, a Final Four team a season ago, became the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated after their 83-69 win over Indiana State on Sunday. Rapidly rising star Fred VanVleet scored 22 points, and the game was quintessential Wichita State. Attacking on both ends of the floor for all 40 minutes, Gregg Marshall's squad won easily despite second-half defensive breakdowns.
Draped in ill-fitting T-shirts, which incorrectly called Indiana State the conference champion, the Shockers couldn't have been less worried about the No. 1 ranking. They should have no issues being one of the four top seeds come Selection Sunday, and as VanVleet told reporters, that's all his teammates are thinking about:
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