AP Men's Basketball Poll Week 19: 4 SEC teams are ranked, including 3 in top 10
Rick Barnes and Tennessee moved up 4 spots to No. 5 in this week’s AP Top 25 men’s basketball poll.
The Vols enter the NCAA Tournament with extra motivation as a No. 3 seed even though they were widely expected to get a No. 2 seed, or have an outside chance at a No. 1. Tennessee leads 4 SEC teams in the latest poll ahead of Kentucky (7), Auburn (8) and Arkansas (17), which slipped 2 spots.
Tennessee’s ranking is the biggest departure from the poll versus the Selection Committee.
“Wherever they put us, we’ll go. Got to be ready to play, and again,” Barnes said, via ESPN. “Just I’m happy for our guys, and we’ll see what happens going forward. We have a new season starting again. We have to be ready.”
The top 4 seeds in the NCAA Tournament are also the top 4 in the poll: Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor.
POLL ALERT: Gonzaga lands at No. 1 in final AP Top 25 for 2nd straight year; top NCAA Tournament seeds ranked 1-4.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) March 14, 2022
One interesting note:
No team has been No. 1 in the final Top 25 and gone on to win the national championship since Kentucky in 2012, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good barometer for who to watch in the NCAA Tournament. Each of the last 6 national champions finished among the top six in the final poll, including Baylor, which was third last season.