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AP Top 25 Poll: Getting Back

After two more quality wins, the Tar Heels are once again in the top 10.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina had another excellent week with a pair of 17-point victories over Notre Dame and on the road against Louisville. The Tar Heels are now riding a five-game winning streak into the final stretch of the season.

As has become the norm this year in college basketball, there was a lot of mayhem over the past week. Seven of the top-10 teams from last week’s rankings lost, and two of those teams (Villanova and Xavier) retained their spots in the rankings despite those losses. This comes just a week after Virginia jumped to #1 after losing at home to Virginia Tech. It’s just one of those years.

Here’s the top 25 for this week:

1. Virginia: 24-2 (42)

2. Michigan State: 26-3 (19)

3. Villanova: 24-3 (4)

4. Xavier: 24-4

5. Duke: 22-5

6. Gonzaga: 25-4

6. Texas Tech: 22-5

8. Kansas: 21-6

9. Purdue: 24-5

10. North Carolina: 21-7

11. Cincinnati: 23-4

12. Auburn: 23-4

13. Wichita State: 21-5

14. Arizona: 21-6

15. Clemson: 20-6

16. Ohio State: 22-7

17. Michigan: 22-7

18. Rhode Island: 21-4

19. Tennessee: 19-7

20. Nevada: 23-5

21. West Virginia: 19-8

22. Saint Mary’s: 25-4

23. Houston: 21-5

24. Middle Tennessee: 22-5

25. Florida State: 19-8

Where is UNC?

The Tar Heels checked in at #10 in this week’s poll, a jump from #14 last week. Carolina is back in the top 10 for the first time since January. This, of course, was right before UNC suffered a three-game losing streak, which seems like an eternity ago now. Roy Williams has his team playing its best basketball late in the season once again. The Heels will look to keep things rolling this week at Syracuse on Wednesday. They are off this weekend, giving them a chance to rest up before a home stretch that includes a matchup with Miami in what will be Joel Berry II’s and Theo Pinson’s last game in the Dean Dome followed by round two of the UNC-Duke rivalry.

Biggest Winners

The Duke Blue Devils jumped seven spots from #12 to #5 after an admittedly impressive week. The Blue Devils have played surprisingly well as of late given that freshman phenom Marvin Bagley III has been sidelined the past three games. Still, a catapult into the top five was pretty generous for a team that recorded wins over Virginia Tech and an undermanned Clemson squad.

Houston (#23), Middle Tennessee (#24), and Florida State (#25) are all newcomers to the poll. Houston recorded a big victory over then fifth-ranked Cincinnati. Kermit Davis is quietly putting together another exceptional season at MTSU, who is looking to win an NCAA tournament game for the third year in a row. Florida State etched a couple solid home wins over Clemson and Pittsburgh as they join West Virginia as the only eight-loss teams in the AP top 25.

Lastly, the aforementioned Villanova and Xavier are winners for each retaining its top five ranking despite losing last week. It should be noted, though, that Xavier’s loss was, in fact, to Villanova.

Biggest Losers

The Oklahoma Sooners have been teetering for quite some time, but a fifth straight loss was finally enough to knock them out of the polls. It appears the Big 12 teams have figured out the blueprint for shutting down Trae Young and thereby shutting down the Sooners.

After vaulting into the top 10 last week, Ohio State dropped two games straight and now find themselves at #16. The Buckeyes looked to be in great position to take the Big Ten crown coming into last week. Now, they’ll need one of Illinois or Wisconsin to knock off Michigan State in order for that to be possible.

Texas A&M managed to climb back into the rankings last week, but it was short-lived as they dropped two straight to unranked opponents. The Aggies have fallen to ninth in the SEC.

Top Games This Week

Wednesday, February 21:

7:00 PM ET - #10 North Carolina vs. Syracuse

Saturday, February 24:

4:15 PM ET - #8 Kansas vs. #6 Texas Tech

Conference Breakdown

ACC: 5

American: 3

Atlantic 10: 1

Big East: 2

Big Ten: 4

Big 12: 3

Conference USA: 1

Mountain West: 1

Pac-12: 1

SEC: 2

West Coast: 2