Heading into the final week of college basketball’s regular season, some of the programs known for annual strong finishes are doing just that. The Kansas Jayhawks hold the top spot in the AP Top 25 poll released on Monday, followed by the Michigan State Spartans.
Both teams are playing their best basketball of the season. Kansas won their 12th consecutive Big 12 title over the week. This one is special if for no other reason than the strength of teams up and down the conference.
Michigan State looks to be the best team in the Big 10 right now, but it is unlikely they will win their conference championship. Their February surge, following a January slump, may not be enough to catch No. 12 Indiana, who needs just one win in their final two games to claim the title. The Spartans will likely be favored to win the Big 10 tournament.
Rounding out the top five is Villanova, who fell two spots to third after losing to No. 5 Xavier. Virginia holds down the fourth spot.
Miami comes in at No. 7 and is the only Florida team ranked. The Hurricanes climbed five spots after two big wins against Virginia and No. 11 Louisville.
Falling out of the poll was former No. 23 Notre Dame after Florida State manhandled the Fighting Irish in Tallahassee. The California Golden Bears replaced Notre Dame, coming in at No. 23.
Traditional powerhouse North Carolina comes in the eighth spot, dropping one position following a narrow loss to No. 17 Duke. Another storied program, Kentucky, dropped from 16th to 22nd following a double-digit loss at Vanderbilt.
Kansas is the first team to return to the top spot after holding it earlier in the season. The Jayhawks were number one for two weeks in January, while Michigan State topped the poll for four weeks early in the season.
The Big 12 leads all conferences with six teams ranked in the top 25. The Big 10 and ACC tied for second with five each, followed by the Pac 12 with four. The SEC has only Kentucky and Texas A&M in the top 25.
The top 25 can be found here.