NCAA Men’s Basketball AP Top 25 Rankings – Week 18

The latest AP Rankings have been released as conference tournaments start to get underway.

One team in the latest AP Top 25 rankings has already secured its spot in the NCAA Tournament. Wichita State, listed as the No. 20 team in the nation, won the Missouri Valley Conference in convincing fashion after demolishing Illinois State, 71-51 on Sunday, to earn the auto-bid.

The Shockers were likely to go dancing regardless of the outcome of that game, but their colossal victory may have just been enough to make the MVC a one-bid league. Illinois State is now teetering on the bubble, and after such a disappointing performance it won’t be easy for the Redbirds to earn the at-large berth.

All other teams in the AP poll are in either in the midst of their conference tournament or are preparing for it to start. Kansas, Villanova, UCLA and Gonzaga stay put as Nos. 1-4, while Oregon overtook the No. 5 slot from North Carolina. This comes as a bit of a surprise, seeing as the Tar Heels pulled out a victory on their home turf in another classic Tobacco Road matchup. The Ducks, meanwhile, barely escaped Stanford with a two-point victory and beat up on a struggling Oregon State squad.

The only newcomer to this week’s rankings are the Maryland Terrapins, who won back-to-back games against Rutgers and Michigan State. The Terps take over the spot previously occupied by Miami, but back-to-back losses to Florida State and Virginia Tech have doomed the ‘Canes.

Florida and Butler took the biggest stumbles, both falling five spots to Nos. 17 snd 18 respectively. Purdue, Duke and Cincinnati, meanwhile, had the biggest ascensions by moving up three spots apiece.

Week 18 AP Top 25 Rankings

  1. Kansas Jayhawks (28-3, 1 previous rank)
  2. Villanova Wildcats (28-3, 2)
  3. UCLA Bruins (28-3, 3)
  4. Gonzaga Bulldogs (30-1, 4)
  5. Oregon Ducks (27-4, 6)
  6. North Carolina Tar Heels (26-6, 5)
  7. Arizona Wildcats (27-4, 7)
  8. Kentucky Wildcats (26-5, 9)
  9. Baylor Bears (25-6, 11)
  10. Louisville Cardinals (24-7, 8)
  11. West Virginia Mountaineers (24-7, 10)
  12. SMU Mustangs (27-4, 14)
  13. Purdue Boilermakers (25-6, 16)
  14. Duke Blue Devils (23-8, 17)
  15. Cincinnati Bearcats (27-4, 18)
  16. Florida State Seminoles (24-7, 15)
  17. Florida Gators (24-7, 12)
  18. Butler Bulldogs (23-7, 13)
  19. Saint Mary’s Gaels (27-3, 20)
  20. Wichita State Shockers (30-4, 21)
  21. Virginia Cavaliers (21-9, 23)
  22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-8, 19)
  23. Iowa State Cyclones (20-10, 24)
  24. Wisconsin Badgers (23-8, 22)
  25. Maryland Terrapins (24-7, N/R)

MORE: ACC Tournament Schedule, Predictions