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UNC earns highest ranking of the year at #3 in this week’s AP Poll

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

There are only two games left of the regular season, and the Tar Heels have just gotten the respect that has eluded them much of the season. Voters gave the Heels their best ranking of the season in the most recent AP Poll, moving Carolina up to #3 in the country. There are two important tasks ahead: finish the season perfect on the road in ACC play, and (most importantly) sweep Duke. Here are the AP Top 25 rankings as of March 4th:

AP Top 25

  1. Gonzaga (42) 29-2
  2. Virginia (21) 26-2
  3. North Carolina 24-5
  4. Duke (1) 25-4
  5. Tennessee 26-3
  6. Kentucky 24-5
  7. Michigan 26-4
  8. Texas Tech 24-5
  9. Michigan State 23-6
  10. LSU 24-5
  11. Purdue 22-7
  12. Houston 27-2
  13. Kansas 22-7
  14. Florida State 23-6
  15. Virginia Tech 22-6
  16. Marquette 23-6
  17. Nevada 26-3
  18. Kansas State 22-7
  19. Buffalo 26-3
  20. Cincinnati 25-4
  21. Wisconsin 20-9
  22. Wofford 26-4
  23. Villanova 22-8
  24. Maryland 21-9
  25. UCF 22-6

Where is UNC?

The AP Poll showed a big vote of confidence in the Tar Heels this week, bumping them up to #3 after their wins against Syracuse and Clemson. UNC was able to pass Duke and Kentucky who lost last week to Virginia Tech and Tennessee, respectively. It’s the highest ranking of the year so far for Carolina. The Tar Heels try to finish the year with a perfect record on the road in conference play before squaring off with Duke in the regular season finale.

Biggest Winners

Virginia Tech jumped five spots for the biggest leap of the week after defeating Duke at home last week. Florida State also climbed four spots in the rankings with a 2-0 week against Notre Dame and NC State. Their loss to UNC is their only blemish in their last 11 games.

Biggest Losers

Marquette dropped six spots with back-to-back losses to then-unranked Villanova and Creighton. The Nevada Wolf Pack continued their slide down the poll with a loss to Utah State that sent them tumbling five spots. The biggest losers of the week, however, were the Maryland Terrapins. They slid seven spots and nearly out of the top 25 entirely after back-to-back losses to Penn State and Michigan.

On the Outside Looking In

Iowa and Washington fell out of the top 25 this week, and Iowa didn’t even receive any votes as a result. Auburn just narrowly missed the top 25 by a grand total of five votes. Mississippi State and Iowa State weren’t particularly close, but they were the next in line.

Conference Breakdown

AAC - 3

ACC - 5

Big East - 2

Big Ten - 5

Big 12 - 3

MAC - 1

Mountain West - 1

SEC - 3

Southern - 1

West Coast - 1

Top 25 Matchups This Week

#15 Virginia Tech vs. #14 Florida State on March 5th at 7:00 pm ET

#20 Cincinnati vs #25 UCF on March 6th at 7:00 pm ET

#7 Michigan vs #9 Michigan State on March 9th at 8:00 pm ET

#3 North Carolina vs #4 Duke on March 9th at 6:00 pm ET