Nell Redmond/Associated Press

AP College Basketball Poll 2019: Top 25 Rankings Released Before NCAA Tournament

Rob Goldberg

Duke earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and is now the No. 1 overall team in the latest Associated Press poll released Monday.

The return of Zion Williamson helped the Blue Devils win the ACC men's basketball tournament, including victories over North Carolina and Florida State. With previously top-ranked Gonzaga losing in the WCC final to Saint Mary's, it left an opening for Duke to climb four spots to become the new No. 1.

Here are the full rankings heading into the first round of March Madness.

               

1. Duke

2. Virginia

3. North Carolina

4. Gonzaga

5. Michigan State

6. Tennessee

7. Kentucky

8. Michigan

9. Texas Tech

10. Florida State

11. Houston 

12. LSU

13. Purdue

14. Auburn

15. Buffalo

16. Virginia Tech

17. Kansas

18. Kansas State

19. Wofford

20. Nevada

21. Wisconsin

22. Cincinnati

23. Villanova

24. Iowa State

25. Utah State

        

The top of the rankings coincide with the NCAA tournament bracket, with the top four teams all No. 1 seeds in order. If the seeds hold, Duke would play Gonzaga in the national semifinals, while Virginia would take on North Carolina in the other side of the Final Four. 

Click to expand figure....

Meanwhile, the No. 2 seeds also follow suit with the rankings from five through eight with Michigan State, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan. Michigan State was the only one of these four teams to win its conference title with a win over Michigan in the Big Ten final, which was likely enough to put it at No. 5.

However, there are a few teams ranked much higher than their seeds, which could provide some indication as to what to expect in the coming days and weeks.

No. 15 Buffalo dominated the MAC and will now get a chance to show what it can do as a No. 6 seed. Wofford went undefeated through the Southern Conference to earn a No. 7 seed, while voters had more faith ranking them No. 19 in the country.

No. 20 Nevada and No. 22 Cincinnati are also seven seeds, which means there could be some interesting battles in the second round.

Still, these rankings won't mean much once the tournament begins and teams get a chance to prove themselves on the court.

   
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