Reactions to the College Basketball AP Top 25 Poll: Gonzaga Climbs, Duke Falls

There were significant changes in the latest AP Top 25 poll with the order of the top three teams changing from last week, including a new No. 1 team in the country. Nine of the top 10 teams changed their positioning from a week ago and three teams joined the AP poll since last week.

Here are our reactions to the latest AP Top 25 poll.

 

A new No. 1 (again)

There have been three different teams atop the AP Top 25 in the last three weeks. Tennessee held the No. 1 ranking for five weeks but the Volunteers have lost two of their last three games. They fell to No. 7 in the latest AP poll.

Then Duke reclaimed the No. 1 spot last week but a home loss to North Carolina last Wednesday in a result that was largely overshadowed by Zion Williamson’s knee injury resulted in Duke falling to No. 3.

Now it’s Gonzaga’s time to shine, once again.

The Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 in consecutive polls in late November/early December but dropped after back-to-back losses to Tennessee and North Carolina. Well, guess what. They haven’t lost since and they rode an 18-game winning streak to the top of the poll.

Gonzaga has just two regular season games left and it’s projected to win both by at least eight points, according to kenpom.com, so the Zags may not lose the No. 1 ranking again this season.

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Will the top four teams be the four No. 1 seeds?

While Gonzaga climbed back to No. 1, the Bulldogs weren’t a unanimous No. 1 in the latest AP poll. Four teams received multiple first-place votes, led by the Zags’ 44. No. 2 Virginia received 15, No. 3 Duke received three and No. 4 Kentucky received two.

All four teams are ranked in the top five on kenpom.com and in the NET rankings. Kentucky is in a three-way tie for first in the SEC with Tennessee and LSU so the Wildcats might need to win the regular season championship to get a No. 1 seed, but it’s reasonable to believe the top four teams in the latest AP poll are the four teams most capable of winning the national championship.

 

Kansas drops to No. 15

The Jayhawks weren’t responsible for the biggest fall in Week 17’s AP poll but they dropped to their lowest ranking since 102 AP polls ago, when they were ranked No. 15 on January 13, 2014.

Since then, Kansas spent 87 weeks in the top 10, 54 weeks in the top five and 10 weeks at No. 1.

The Jayhawks’ 14-year streak of winning at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship is at serious risk of coming to an end this season – a loss Monday against Kansas State could effectively end it – so Kansas’ latest drop in the AP poll is yet another sign that things are a bit off in Lawrence this season.

 

The AAC, SoCon and Pac-12 get love at the back of the poll

The American Athletic Conference has two teams ranked in the AP poll for just the second time this season. Cincinnati is back in the AP Top 25, this time at No. 23, wins over UCF and UConn.

Wofford cracked the AP poll too, debuting at No. 24.

Furman spent three consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 in December so the Southern Conference went nine seasons without a single team spending one week in the AP poll and this season the conference has had two different teams ranked. Prior to this season, the Southern Conference hadn’t had a team ranked in the AP Top 25 since Davidson in the AP poll that was released December 15, 2008.

Wofford has won 15 straight games, including an eight-point win at Furman Saturday, and the Terriers are ranked No. 26 on kenpom.com so it’s no fluke that they’re in the latest AP poll.

The Pac-12 went eight consecutive AP polls without a single team in the conference being ranked. Washington changed that Monday as it claimed the final spot in the latest AP poll. Ironically, the Huskies haven’t been ranked since the preseason AP Top 25 poll, where they were also No. 25.

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