BOZICH | My final AP college basketball Top 25 ballot
The NCAA Tournament goes on for the next three weeks, but the AP college basketball will issue its final Top 25 poll on Monday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The college basketball season continues for 21 more days. The Associated Press college basketball Top 25 poll stops on Monday.
Here’s my final ballot – although I intend to rank the teams one more time after the national championship game is played in Phoenix April 3.
1. Villanova (31-3) – The Wildcats had the best overall season – and looked terrific in Big East Tournament. But I’m not picking them to go back-to-back.
2. Gonzaga (32-1) – I believe the Zags are legit. But I don’t believe they’ll reach the Final Four. It’s not a knock. It’s a reminder that the odds are against every team to get to Phoenix.
3. Kansas (28-4) – Is anybody else worried that the Jayhawks have dealt with a lot of noise away from the court?
4. North Carolina (27-7) – The Tar Heels, as usual, are a cut below the best teams on the defensive end. It’s not a disqualifier, but it’s something to think about.
5. Kentucky (29-5) – There are about a dozen teams that can win it all – and the Wildcats are one of them, especially if De’Aaron Fox plays the way he played in Nashville.
6. Arizona (30-4) – Sorry, Sean Miller. They made me pick a national champion – and you lost.
7. Duke (27-8) – As one of the 17 former Blue Devils who work for ESPN or CBS will tell you, Duke is the hottest team in the country.
8. Oregon (29-5) – I was going to pick Oregon to win it all – until Chris Boucher injured his knee.
9. Louisville (24-8) – I like Louisville’s path to Phoenix because Oregon lost Boucher and Kansas has a history of burping along the way.
10. SMU (30-4) – Friendly reminder: The Mustangs have won 16 straight games.
11. West Virginia (26-8) – A second-round game between WVU and Notre Dame would be a treat.
12. UCLA (29-4) – Injuries to Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, even if they are minor, are not the way to go into the tournament.
13. Wichita State (30-4) – This is another team that I like considerably more than the Tournament Selection Committee.
14. Baylor (25-7) – The Bears have lost four of their last seven.
15. Notre Dame (25-9) – I’m waiting for an update on Bonzie Colson’s ankle before I make my call on the Irish.
16. Florida State (25-8) – Early word is that it’s trendy to pick Florida Gulf Coast to topple the Seminoles, who have been spotty away from home.
17. Purdue (25-7) – If anybody is going to save the image of the Big Ten, it’s the Boilermakers.
18. St. Mary’s (28-4) – The Gaels weren’t good enough to beat Gonzaga, but they could win a game or two.
19. Iowa State (23-10) – The surprising winners of the Big 12 Tournament face a dangerous Nevada team.
20. Michigan (24-11) – Weren’t the Wolverines a bubble team 20 minutes ago?
21. Florida (24-8) – The Gators have lost three of their last four, but the good news is they’re not playing Vanderbilt.
22. Butler (23-8) – The Bulldogs have lost their last two as well as half of their last 10.
23. Cincinnati (29-5) – The Bearcats lost the rubber match to SMU – by 15 points.
24. Middle Tennessee (30-4) – I’m picking the Blue Raiders to take Minnesota out in the first round. Veteran team, veteran coach.
25. Virginia (22-10) – Many like Kevin Keatts and UNC-Wilmington in the first-round upset against the Cavaliers. Not me.
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