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Carolina stays #3 in AP Poll ahead of the ACC/NCAA tournaments

The Heels took care of business in the ACC Regular Season. A strong showing in the ACC Tournament should lock up a 1-seed.

Duke v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With college basketball’s regular season drawing to a close, the jockeying for tournament seeding now begins in earnest. How the top teams in the nation fare in their respective conference tournaments will solidify their claim to a favorable seed and, in doing so, improve their shot at a national title.

Who are we kidding? You know all this. You know what’s at stake. The chief takeaway is that UNC is now ranked two spots above that team from Durham and is eyeing a one seed and their choice of regional site (either the East or the South). Here is the latest AP Top 25:

AP Top 25

  1. Gonzaga (41) 29-2
  2. Virginia (23) 28-2
  3. UNC 26-5
  4. Kentucky 26-5
  5. Duke 26-5
  6. Michigan State 25-6
  7. Texas Tech 26-5
  8. Tennessee 27-4
  9. LSU 26-5
  10. Michigan 26-5
  11. Houston 29-2
  12. Florida State 25-6
  13. Purdue 23-8
  14. Nevada 28-3
  15. Kansas State 24-7
  16. Virginia Tech 23-7
  17. Kansas 23-8
  18. Buffalo 28-3
  19. Wisconsin 22-9
  20. Wofford 28-4
  21. Maryland 22-9
  22. Auburn 22-9
  23. Marquette 23-8
  24. Cincinnati 25-6
  25. Villanova 22-9

Where is UNC?

Last week the Heels leapfrogged Duke and Kentucky in the rankings to reach the top 3 for the first time all season. They justified that ranking on Saturday night, beating the #4 Blue Devils for the second time and clinching a share of the ACC Regular Season crown. A perfect conference road record, seven straight wins and 14 of the last 15, a regular season sweep of their arch rivals. This team looks primed for something special in the postseason.

Biggest Winners

Michigan State and Kansas State both wrapped up their regular seasons in terrific fashion: both took home consecutive wins to clinch a share of their regular season titles, both outdueled their in-state archrivals to do so (Michigan State on the court, Kansas State by virtue of their record), and both find themselves in a strong position going into the postseason. Michigan State in particular deserves no end of credit — losing Joshua Langford and Nick Ward to injury would have tanked anyone else’s season, but the Spartans circled the wagons and got the job done against Michigan, completing an unlikely sweep of the Wolverines. See what happens when you roll with the injury punches instead of whining about it, Dookies?

Biggest Losers

MARQUETTE. Dear Lord, what has happened to them? Two weeks ago the Golden Eagles, led by former floor-slapping Duke gerbil Steve Wojciechowski, were ranked 10th in the nation, had a two-game lead in the Big East standings, and were looking like a dark horse Final Four pick. Since then, they have lost four straight, including two at home to unranked opponents, dropped all the way down to #23 in the AP, and blew the Big East title to their perennial torturer Villanova. The Eagles overly rely on the three-ball and it has betrayed them in recent weeks. They’ll need to find their footing in the Big East title game, otherwise they’ll be remembered as some of the bungliest bunglers who ever bungled.

On the Outside Looking In

UCF got quite the splash of cold water last week: The Knights, led by former actual good Duke point guard Johnny Dawkins (interesting pattern, this is), had just won back to back games over ranked opponents (Houston and Cincinnati) for the first time in school history and had newly entered the Top 25. Unfortunately, a loss to Temple dropped them back out of the rankings and they are the leading unranked vote receiver. After them are VCU and Mississippi State.

Conference Breakdown

AAC - 2

ACC - 5

Big East - 2

Big Ten - 5

Big 12 - 3

MAC - 1

Mountain West - 1

Pac 12 - LOL

SEC - 4

Southern - 1

West Coast - 1

Top 25 Matchups This Week:

TBD by conference result