Kentucky goes wire to wire as No. 1 in AP poll; Villanova, Wisconsin in top 3


Kentucky, the overall top seed in the NCAA Tournament, is the first team in 23 years to be No. 1 in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll from the preseason rankings to the final Top 25.

The Wildcats (34-0) are looking to become the first undefeated men’s national champion since Indiana in 1976. They were a unanimous No. 1 on Monday for the seventh consecutive week and 11th overall this season.

Kentucky received all 65 first-place votes from the national media panel to match Duke in 1992 as the last team to run the table at the top.

Complete Poll

Villanova and Wisconsin, two of the other No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, were second and third in the poll. The Wildcats moved up two places, the Badgers three. Duke, the fourth No. 1 seed, dropped two spots to No. 4. Arizona stayed at No. 5.

Virginia, which dropped from third, was sixth followed in the top 10 by Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Iowa State and Kansas. Michigan State, at No. 23, and VCU, at 25th, moved into the rankings this week, replacing Davidson and Butler.

Breaking down this week’s Associated Press college basketball poll:

LONG RUN: Kentucky is the first team since Duke in 1991-92 to hold the No. 1 spot in the AP poll for the entire season. The Wildcats, who were a unanimous No. 1 for the last seven polls and 11 weeks overall, are the 13th team to run the table on top of the rankings.

UCLA holds the record with four seasons as No. 1 every week (1967, 1969, 1972, 1973) with Ohio State (1961, 1962) and Cincinnati (1960, 1963) the only others to do it for more than one season. San Francisco (1956), Indiana (1976), UNLV (1991) and Duke also were top-ranked for a whole season.

The AP poll began with the 1948-49 season. Since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989-90, only four teams ranked No. 1 in the final poll went on to win the national championship: Duke (1992), UCLA (1995), Duke (2001) and Kentucky (2012).

RECORD MATCH: There were 53 teams ranked at some point this season, matching the record set in 2009-10.

RECORD BREAKER: The Big 12 set the record for highest percentage of teams from a conference ranked in one season. Nine of the league’s 10 schools — Texas Tech was the one that didn’t make the Top 25 — were in the AP poll at some point, a 90 percent mark that shattered the previous record of 78 percent set by the Big East in 1991 when seven of its nine teams were ranked.

The Big East had seven of its 10 teams ranked this season.

The Atlantic Coast Conference had eight teams ranked this season followed by the Big Ten and Big East with seven each, the Pac-12 and Mountain West with four each and the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic 10 with three each.

ALL SEASON: Twelve teams were ranked every week from the preseason poll to the final Top 25. Five of them — Kentucky, Arizona, Wisconsin, Duke and Virginia — were in the Top Ten for all 19 polls.

Nine teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 weren’t in the final poll. Florida, at No. 7, and Texas, at No. 10, were the only ones from the preseason top 10 not to be ranked in the final poll. The others were San Diego State, Connecticut, Ohio State, Nebraska, Syracuse, Michigan and Harvard.

ONE-WEEK WONDERS: Twelve teams were ranked for just one week this season. Harvard, which was tied for 25th, was the only one from the preseason poll to make the quick appearance.

The others were: UCLA, Creighton, Illinois, TCU, Old Dominion, Wyoming, Dayton, Iowa, Murray State, Davidson and Boise State.

Last season there were just two teams in the poll for one week: Dayton and Illinois.

BEATING RANKED TEAMS: Going into the NCAA Tournament, Iowa State and Kansas were tied with nine wins against ranked teams this season. The strength of the Big 12 showed in that statistic with Iowa State having only one non-conference win against a ranked team (Arkansas), while Kansas had two (Michigan State, Utah).

Baylor, Duke and Oklahoma all had seven wins against ranked teams while North Carolina, Notre Dame, Villanova and Xavier all had six.

COMING IN: Michigan State, which lost the Big Ten Tournament championship to Wisconsin in overtime, and VCU, the Atlantic 10 champion, moved into the final poll. Both had been ranked in the preseason poll — VCU at No. 15, Michigan State at 18th.

SEE YA: Davidson dropped from 23rd following its loss to VCU in the Atlantic 10 semifinals, while Boise State fell from No. 25 after losing to Wyoming in the Mountain West semifinals. Both had moved into the poll for the first time season last week.

LUCKY SEVEN: The top seven teams in the poll went unchanged for the past nine weeks of the season. Kentucky, Villanova, Wisconsin, Arizona, Duke, Virginia and Gonzaga may have changed positions in the group but they were all in the top seven for that period.

In 1992-93 a group of seven was just that but it was from the third through ninth polls of the season. Duke and Kentucky were also in that group along with Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, Seton Hall and North Carolina. They all finished in the top 10 of the final poll.

This article was written by Jim O’Connell from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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