UK Men's Basketball

How do you like ’em now? Kentucky vaults back into final AP Top 25 poll

No one can match UK's dominance in the NCAA Tournament

Kentucky has made the tournament 56 times, the most in NCAA history. But that's not where its superiority in the tournament record books stops.
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Kentucky has made the tournament 56 times, the most in NCAA history. But that's not where its superiority in the tournament record books stops.

Winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Sunday might not have done wonders for Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament seeding, but it certainly buoyed the Cats in the eyes of the AP Top 25 poll voters.

Kentucky, which has bounced in and out of the poll over the last few weeks during a roller-coaster season in one of the toughest conferences in basketball, jumped back into the final survey at No. 18 after winning three straight games in the SEC Tournament, including two of those against fellow NCAA Tournament teams in Alabama and No. 13 Tennessee.

In all, the SEC placed eight teams in the NCAA Tournament and four of them in the final AP poll. Also ranked in the final week were co-SEC regular-season champion Auburn at No. 19 and Florida at No. 23.

The Cats next face Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament champion Davidson at 7:10 p.m. EDT Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

At the top of the poll, Virginia went from being an unranked team that few expected to contend in the Atlantic Coast Conference to the unanimous No. 1 by AP voters.

The Cavaliers (31-2) earned all 65 first-place votes in Monday’s poll to remain on top for the fifth straight week, the past two by unanimous counts. That came after Virginia completed a 20-1 run against Atlantic Coast Conference teams by winning the league tournament, which helped the Cavs secure the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia was picked in the preseason to finish sixth in the ACC, but climbed to No. 1 exactly one month ago for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era.

Now the Cavaliers, who headline the NCAA South Region, will try to make the Final Four for only the third time and first since 1984.

The top four teams in the AP poll matched the selection committee’s No. 1 seeds. Villanova (30-4) won the Big East Tournament and stayed at No. 2, while Xavier (28-5) was third and Kansas (27-7) jumped five spots to fourth after winning the Big 12 Tournament.

Jared Peck: 859-231-1333, @JPSaysHere

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The AP Top 25

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Mar. 11, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:

Record

Pts

Pvs

1. Virginia (65)

31-2

1,625

1

2. Villanova

30-4

1,554

2

3. Xavier

28-5

1,383

3

4. Kansas

27-7

1,379

9

5. Michigan St.

29-4

1,304

4

6. Cincinnati

30-4

1,230

8

7. Michigan

28-7

1,213

7

8. Gonzaga

30-4

1,199

6

9. Duke

26-7

1,179

5

10. North Carolina

25-10

1,100

12

11. Purdue

28-6

1,047

10

12. Arizona

27-7

918

15

13. Tennessee

25-8

771

13

14. Texas Tech

24-9

716

14

15. West Virginia

24-10

663

18

16. Wichita St.

25-7

604

11

17. Ohio St.

24-8

600

17

18. Kentucky

24-10

528

-

19. Auburn

25-7

501

16

20. Clemson

23-9

439

19

21. Houston

26-7

430

21

22. Miami

22-9

134

24

23. Florida

20-12

102

23

24. Nevada

27-7

93

22

25. Saint Mary’s (Calif.)

28-5

71

20

Others receiving votes: Arkansas 69, Loyola of Chicago 68, Rhode Island 66, TCU 40, Providence 22, New Mexico St. 15, Butler 9, St. Bonaventure 8, Southern Cal 7, Kansas St. 6, UCLA 5, Seton Hall 5, Buffalo 5, Creighton 4, South Dakota St. 3, Virginia Tech 2, Murray St. 2, Middle Tennessee 2, San Diego St. 2, Davidson 1, Missouri 1.

AP Poll Board

The voters in the 2017-18 AP college basketball poll:

Elton Alexander, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

Tyson Alger, The Oregonian, Portland

Mark Berman, The Roanoke (Va.) Times

John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

Dave Borges, New Haven (Conn.) Register

Rich Bozich, WDRB-TV, Louisville, Ky.

Kevin Brockway, The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun

Lauren Brownlow, WRALSportsFan.com, Raleigh, N.C.

J.P. Butler, Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald

Jason Butt, Macon (Ga.) Telegraph

Jerry Carino, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

David Cloninger, The State, Columbia, S.C.

David Cobb, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press

Mark Cooper, Tulsa (Okla.) World

Graham Couch, Lansing (Mich.) State Journal

Richard Croome, The Eagle, Bryan-College Station, Texas

Chris Dachille, WBAL-TV, Baltimore

Seth Davis, CBS-Sports Illustrated

Luke DeCock, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

Doug Doughty, The Roanoke (Va.) Times

John Feinstein, Washington Post

Justin Ferguson, SEC COUNTRY

Marcus Fuller, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Scott Gleeson, USA Today

Geoff Grammer, Albuquerque Journal

Doug Haller, Arizona Republic, Phoenix

Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Ark.

Cecil Hurt, The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News

Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star

Justin Jackson, Morgantown (W.Va.) Dominion Post

Joe Juliano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Paul Klee, Colorado Springs Gazette

Joey Knight, Tampa (Fla.) Bay Times

Theo Lawson, Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

Andrew Lopez, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

Kevin Lyttle, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman

Scott Mansch, Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune

Dave Matter, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Matt McCoy, WTVN-AM, Columbus, Ohio

Brian McInnis, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

John McNamara, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

Kevin McNamara, The Providence (R.I.) Journal

Craig Meyer, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Sheldon Mickles, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Antonio Morales, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.

Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal

Jesse Newell, Kansas City (Mo.) Star

Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Daily News

Jon Nyatawa, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald

Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star

Tony Parks, 1280 AM/97.5 FM KZNS, Salt Lake City

B.J. Rains, Idaho Press-Tribune, Nampa

Joe Rexrode, The Tennesean, Nashville, Tenn.

Scott Richey, The News-Gazette, Champaign, Ill.

Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports, New York

Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

Carlos Silva, Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal

Benjamin Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Terry Toohey, Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times

Matt Vautour, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Mass.

Dick Vitale, ABC/ESPN

Brant Wilkerson-New, The News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.

Jon Wilner, San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News

Norm Wood, The Daily Press, Newport News, Va.

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