AP College Basketball Poll 2019: Final Rankings Released Before March Madness

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2019

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, left, speaks with forward Jeremy Jones during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against BYU in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

The nation's top men's college basketball teams have bigger fish to fry in March, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs currently hold bragging rights with Selection Sunday approaching. 

Gonzaga maintained its spot atop the newest Associated Press Top 25 poll, which is the final reveal before the NCAA tournament field is set.

The Bulldogs had the week off in preparation for the WCC tournament and will face Pepperdine on Monday in the semifinals. With two wins and a conference tournament crown, Gonzaga would assuredly clinch a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.

Here is a look at the latest rankings as Gonzaga, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and others fight for those top seeds in the NCAA tournament.

          

1. Gonzaga 

2. Virginia

3. North Carolina 

4. Kentucky 

5. Duke 

6. Michigan State

7. Texas Tech

8. Tennessee

9. LSU

10. Michigan

11. Houston

12. Florida State

13. Purdue

14. Nevada

15. Kansas State

16. Virginia Tech

17. Kansas

18. Buffalo

19. Wisconsin

20. Wofford

21. Maryland

22. Auburn

23. Marquette

24. Cincinnati

25. Villanova

          

The fresh batch of rankings sets the stage for what promises to be an entertaining slate of conference tournaments, with more than just a league trophy hanging in the balance. The ACC tournament in particular stands out with Virginia, Duke and North Carolina all fighting for No. 1 seeds.

The Cavaliers and Tar Heels tied atop the regular-season standings, but the former is the No. 1 seed in Charlotte after defeating Roy Williams' team in their only head-to-head matchup.

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils will take center stage with Zion Williamson expected to return from the knee injury he suffered in the opening minute of a Feb. 20 loss to North Carolina. Duke has looked pedestrian without him, dropping two games to the rival Tar Heels and another to Virginia Tech, and his health could be the deciding factor in the race for the national championship.

Virginia's only two losses of the season came against the Williamson-led Blue Devils, which North Carolina did not have to deal with in its two matchups against Duke.

Like the ACC, the SEC tournament is loaded at the top with Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU all in the Top 10.

LSU defeated Kentucky and Tennessee in its only opportunity against each, while the Wildcats and Volunteers split their two matchups. As a result, the Tigers won the regular-season crown and the No. 1 seed in Nashville, Tennessee, that comes with it, avoiding a semifinals matchup against the others as they make a final case for NCAA tournament seeding.

Elsewhere, the Big Ten tournament features strong contenders in Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.

The Spartans swept the Wolverines in two regular-season matchups, including a 12-point win Saturday. Adding a third victory over their rivals in a potential finals showdown in Chicago could be enough to secure a No. 2 seed and even challenge for a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.

While Michigan State won a regular-season crown in the Big Ten for the second straight season, there was a changing of the guard in the Big 12.

Texas Tech and Kansas State each finished two games ahead of Kansas, snapping the Jayhawks' streak of 14 consecutive years with at least a share of the conference title. But Bill Self's team has won two of the last three conference tournaments, and doing so again would give it momentum as it seeks a second straight Final Four to make up for the end of its reign atop the Big 12.

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