Virginia

Virginia is the unanimous No. 1 in the new AP poll, despite some close calls

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia is the unanimous No. 1 in the new AP poll, despite some close calls

Virginia is now the unquestioned No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

The Cavaliers earned all 65 first-place votes in Monday's poll after finishing four games ahead of the field in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season race. This was Virginia's fourth straight week at No. 1, with the Cavaliers acquiring more first-place votes each time until claiming them all this week.

Virginia joined fellow ACC team Duke as teams to be unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 this season. Pretty good for a team that was picked to finish sixth in the ACC during the preseason.

The Cavaliers (28-2, 17-1 ACC) open ACC Tournament play in Thursday's quarterfinals in Brooklyn with a chance to sweep the league regular-season and tournament titles for the second time in five seasons.

"Now you are in one-and-done tournament play — the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament," coach Tony Bennett said after Saturday's win against Notre Dame.

"You continue on, but you understand that it is quality play," he said. "You do not change who you are, but you know that if you drop one, you are out."

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BIG EAST SHUFFLE

With Michigan State's stumble in the Big Ten Tournament, it looked like Xavier was set to move up a spot to No. 2 behind Virginia after winning the Big East regular-season race outright.

Instead, Villanova — which beat the Musketeers this season by 24 and 16 points but finished a game back in the Big East standings — hopped over Xavier from No. 4 while Xavier remained third.

TOP-10 CHANGES

Michigan State fell to fourth, followed by Duke, Gonzaga and Michigan — which jumped eight spots to No. 7 after beating the Spartans and Purdue to win a second straight Big Ten Tournament title.

The Wolverines have won nine straight games and own their highest AP Top 25 ranking since hitting No. 7 in the final poll of the 2013-14 season.

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TOP RISERS

The Wolverines had the biggest climb of the week by far, with most rising teams inching up a spot or two. No. 15 Arizona — which won the Pac-12 regular-season title outright — and No. 21 Houston had the second-biggest climbs with each rising four spots.

LONGEST SLIDES

The week's biggest fall belonged to Rhode Island. The Rams fell eight spots to No. 25 after a 30-point home loss to St. Joseph's followed by a loss at Davidson in which they allowed a 9-0 game-closing run.

No. 17 Ohio State fell four spots after an early loss at the Big Ten Tournament, while No. 9 Kansas and No. 12 North Carolina — which lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at home to Miami and then at rival Duke — each fell three spots.

NEWCOMERS

The two newcomers to the poll, Florida and Miami, have been ranked multiple times this season.

The 23rd-ranked Gators were No. 8 in the preseason and hit No. 5 in early December, then fell out two weeks later, re-entered for two weeks in January and then slid back out.

It's been a similarly wild ride for the 24th-ranked Hurricanes. They started the year at No. 13 and peaked at No. 6 in December, though they slid out by January, re-entered for a week in February and then fell out again.

SLIDING OUT

Kentucky and Middle Tennessee fell out of the poll, and that continued the Wildcats' unusually volatile poll standing this season.

Kentucky, who sat at 23rd last week, was No. 5 in the preseason poll before falling out for the first time in roughly four years in January. But after Saturday's loss at Florida, the Wildcats fell out for the third time this season.

The Blue Raiders entered the poll for the first time in their history on Feb. 19 but fell out from No. 24 after losing their regular-season finale at home to Marshall on Saturday.

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COMPLETE AP TOP 25 (March 5)

1. Virginia (65 votes, No. 1 last week)

2. Villanova (No. 4)

3. Xavier (No. 3)

4. Michigan State (No. 2)

5. Duke (No. 5)

6. Gonzaga (No. 7)

7. Michigan (No. 15)

8. Cincinnati (No. 10)

9. Kansas (No. 6)

10. Purdue (No. 8)

11. Wichita State (No. 11)

12. North Carolina (No. 9)

13. Tennessee (No. 16)

14. Texas Tech (No. 12)

15. Arizona (No. 19)

16. Auburn (No. 14)

17. Ohio State (No. 13)

18. West Virginia (No. 20)

19. Clemson (No. 18)

20. Saint Mary's (No. 22)

21. Houston (No. 25)

22. Nevada (No. 21)

23. Florida (NR)

24. Miami (NR)

25. Rhode Island (No. 17)

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Bracketology Round-up: North Carolina back to a No. 2 seed, Virginia Tech climbing

Bracketology Round-up: North Carolina back to a No. 2 seed, Virginia Tech climbing

CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED BRACKETOLOGY ROUND-UP

Questioning if the North Carolina Tar Heels were going to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament seems so long ago. This week the Tar Heels knocked off two bubble ACC teams in Louisville and Syracuse on the road to ascend back to one of the top eight teams in the country.

Luke Maye and Joel Berry II are playing like All-Americans, especially over the six-game win streak they are on.

AP POLL: MICHIGAN STATE, XAVIER MAKING MOVES ON VIRGINIA

At the same token Virginia Tech has seen other teams fall, allowing them who are struggling through conference play to get into the tournament. It is now time to question where the Hokies will play rather than if they will make it in.

One of their victims was Clemson, who is now in a tailspin. Once a No. 2 seed, they dropped three straight and are sitting on a No. 4 seed line, barely.

Wichita State is climbing toward the end of the year with other teams falling. The Shockers are up to a No. 3 seed.

The unanimous bubble teams include Syracuse, Louisville, Texas, and USC. Moving ahead of the bubble include St. Bonaventure, Butler, and Florida.

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These projections are based on their latest bracket as of Feb. 26.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Tennessee

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 Wichita State
No. 4 Gonzaga

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 West Virginia

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 North Carolina
No. 4 Arizona

Last Four in: St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, Louisville, and USC
First Four out: UCLA, Texas, Washington, and Penn State

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicholls St./ Savannah State
No. 10: Virginia Tech (South, at-large) vs. No. 7 Nevada

Dave Ommen (NBC Sports/ Yahoo/ Bracketville):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Clemson

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Tennessee
No. 4 Texas Tech

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Purdue
No. 4 West Virginia

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Wichita State
No. 4 Gonzaga

Last Four in: Providence, Kansas State, Saint Mary’s, and St. Bonaventure
First Four out: Texas, USC, Washington, and Louisville

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Beathune Cookman/ Arkansas Pine Bluff
No. 8: Virginia Tech (Midwest, at-large) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M

Shelby Mast (USA-Today):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Kentucky

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Michigan State
No. 4 Tennessee

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Wichita State
No. 4 Texas Tech

West Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 Arizona
No. 4 Clemson

Last Four in: USC, Providence, Washington, and Louisville
First Four out: Baylor, Syracuse, Marquette, and Mississippi State

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Wagner
No. 10: Virginia Tech (South, at-large) vs. No. 7 Seton Hall

Chris Dobbertean (SB Nation) – Updated on 2/23:

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Gonzaga

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Purdue
No. 4 Clemson

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Wichita State

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Arizona
No. 4 Tennessee

Last Four in: St. Bonaventure, Baylor, Texas, and Syracuse
First Four out: Utah, USC, UCLA, and Louisville

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ)
No. 8: Virginia Tech (at-large)
Maryland (also considered)

Jerry Palm (CBS Sports) – Updated on 2/25:

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Tennessee
No. 4 Ohio State

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Clemson

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Wichita State

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Purdue
No. 4 Rhode Island

Last Four in: Louisville, USC, Texas, and UCLA
First Four out: Syracuse, Utah, Washington, and Boise State

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Bethune Cookman/ Arkansas Pine-Bluff
No. 10: Virginia Tech (South, at-large) vs. No. 7 Arkansas

Delphi Bracketology (Most accurate bracket projection of past two years):

No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, and Kansas
No. 2 seeds: Duke, North Carolina, Auburn, and Purdue
No. 3 seeds: Michigan State, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Texas Tech
No. 4 seeds: West Virginia, Wichita State, Kentucky, and Clemson

Last Four in: USC, Mississippi State, Saint Mary’s (CA), and Louisville
First Four out: Washington, UCLA, Syracuse, and Baylor

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1 overall: Virginia (ACC Champ)
No. 7: Virginia Tech (at-large)

Local Rundown:

A home win over No. 15 Clemson partnered with a home loss to Louisville just slightly bumped up the Hokies. A week ago, Virginia Tech was hovering between the No. 9/ 10 lines and in some instances was one of the last at-large teams to receive a bye. Now they are between the No.8/9 line and in one bracket is up to a No. 7 seed.

Still they have plenty of work ahead of them with a home contest against No. 5 Duke and a trip to Miami closing their season. Movement for Tech might not be over just yet.

Virginia is in the clear and is now the unanimous No. 1 overall seed across these projections. As long as they win one game in the ACC Tournament, that is not going to change. It would be fair to assume too that even if the Cavaliers loose out, they are sitting as a No. 1 seed.

The rest of the Mid-Atlantic Region (Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) is going to have to rely on upsets in conference tournaments to get more teams in. The list of teams that could provide a surprise team or two continues to dwindle: Old Dominion (22-6, 13-3 C-USA), VCU (16-13, 8-8 A-10), William & Mary (18-11, 11-7 CAA), Radford (19-12, 12-6 Big South), Mount St. Mary’s (18-13, 12-6 NEC), Navy (20-11, 11-7 Patriot), and UMBC (20-10, 11-4 A-East).

Virginia solidly still No. 1, but Michigan State, Xavier are making moves

Virginia solidly still No. 1, but Michigan State, Xavier are making moves

A second blowout loss to Villanova didn't stop Xavier from notching the program's highest AP Top 25 ranking a week ago. The Musketeers are rising again, passing the Wildcats on Monday to reach yet another program high at No. 3.

The poll switch comes after the Musketeers beat Georgetown in their only game last week and Villanova lost to unranked Creighton. The Wildcats dropped just one spot, to No. 4, and a game behind Xavier in the Big East standings.

Virginia firmed up its hold on the No. 1 ranking, receiving 48 votes from a media panel in the poll released on Monday, up six from a week ago. No. 2 Michigan State, which clinched the Big Ten title this weekend, received 17 first-place votes and Duke rounded out the top five.

The Musketeers (25-4, 13-3 Big East) rolled over Georgetown 89-77 despite leading scorer Trevon Blueitt being held to two points on 1-of-10 shooting. Blueitt, who averages 19.8 points per game, has 3 combined points his last two visits to Washington, D.C.

"I hope that the Big East tournament isn't played here," Xavier coach Chris Mack said he told Bluiett in jest toward the end of the game. "I think maybe folks in D.C. that don't have a TV and come to the games they may think he's an average player, a below average player."

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Virginia was the top overall seed when the NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed its initial rankings of the top 16 teams two weeks ago. The Cavaliers moved up to No. 1 despite losing to Virginia Tech a day before the rankings were released.

Last week, Virginia (26-2, 14-1 ACC) won its third ACC title in five years by dominating Pittsburgh, limiting the Panthers to seven first-half points in a 66-37 victory.

The Cavaliers are still in line to receive the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"It was something that we knew about coming into this game, so it was exciting," Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins said. "It is a good feeling, but there is still a lot of basketball to be played."

KANSAS CLIMBS, ZAGS FALL

Kansas and Gonzaga both won conference titles this past weekend.

The Jayhawks' Big 12 title was enough to move them ahead of the Zags in this week's poll.

Kansas (23-6, 12-4) clinched its record-setting 14th straight Big 12 title with a 74-72 win over No. 6 Texas Tech on Saturday. The title broke the record the Jayhawks held with UCLA, which had 13 straight Pac-10 titles from 1967-79.

Kansas moved up two spots to No. 6.

The Jayhawks' move cost Gonzaga (27-4, 17-1) a spot in the poll despite clinching its 18th regular-season West Coast Conference title in the past 19 years. The Bulldogs dropped a spot to No. 7.

RED RAIDERS FALLING

Texas Tech tied Gonzaga at No. 6 last week for the program's highest ranking.

The Red Raiders (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) took a big tumble this week, dropping to No. 12 after losses to Oklahoma State and Kansas ran their losing streak to three games. The streak has coincided with a toe injury to Keenan Evans suffered against Baylor on Feb. 17. He scored in single digits in all three games.

SMALL CHANGES

The AP Top 25 has been volatile most of the season, with drastic changes coming nearly every week.

Poll movement was limited to small changes for the most part this week.

Florida State dropped out of the poll and Kentucky moved back in. Texas Tech had the biggest drop of teams still in the poll and Arizona was next, falling five spots to No. 19.

The biggest move up: Ohio State three spots to No. 13.

COMPLETE AP TOP 25 POLL (2/26)

1. Virginia (48 votes, No. 1 last week)

2. Michigan State (17, No. 2)

3. Xavier (No. 4)

4. Villanova (No. 3)

5. Duke (No. 5)

6. Kansas (No. 8)

7. Gonzaga (No. 6)

8. Purdue (No. 9)

9. North Carolina (No. 10)

10. Cincinnati (No. 11)

11. Wichita State (No. 13)

12. Texas Tech (No. 6)

13. Ohio State (No. 16)

14. Auburn (No. 12)

15. Michigan (No. 17)

16. Tennessee (No. 19)

17. Rhode Island (No. 18)

18. Clemson (No. 15)

19. Arizona (No. 14)

20. West Virginia (No. 21)

21. Nevada (No. 20)

22. Saint Mary's (No. 22)

23. Kentucky (NR)

24. Middle Tennessee (No. 24)

25. Houston (No. 23)

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