College basketball Top 25: Michigan jumps to No. 2, Duke slides

AP Top 25:

RANK TEAM WEST 1 LSU 2. Michigan 3. Florida 4. Kansas 5. Oklahoma State 6. Kansas State 7. Arkansas 8. Texas 9. Stanford 10. Iowa State 11. Colorado 12. South Carolina 13. Texas Tech 14. Notre Dame 15. Kentucky 16. Cincinnati 17. Duke 18. Michigan State 19. Baylor 20. Maryland 21. SMU 22. Virginia 23. Florida State 24. Purdue 25. Missouri

Others receiving votes: Texas Tech (42), Cal (20), Stanford (8), North Carolina (6), Wisconsin (5), Alabama (5), Colorado State (5), Cincinnati (3), West Virginia (3), Iowa (3), Virginia Tech (3), Utah (3), Cincinnati (2), South Carolina (2), Missouri (2), Kansas (2), Louisville (1), Virginia (1).

STEAMY RUN: Michigan jumped four spots to No. 2 thanks to a convincing 77-54 win over Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Sunday. Duke dropped to No. 4 after losing to Miami in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.

Florida moves to No. 3 following its win over Auburn. The Gators head to face Ohio State in the championship game.

Kentucky checked in at No. 15 after a 74-70 win over West Virginia. The Wildcats play Missouri in the title game.

Here are a few things to watch in the offseason:


JIMMY’S RETURN: Duke returns a star, a starter and one of the most talented players in the country in freshman phenom Zion Williamson. His sprained knee has held him out of nearly every practice leading up to the Maui Invitational, but if the Blue Devils win that tournament and advance deep into the NCAA Tournament, Williamson will be a much bigger part of their success than he has been this season.

Duke went 19-14, lost in the second round of the ACC Tournament to Wake Forest and couldn’t do anything offensively to compete against Virginia in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. If Williamson plays like the player he was in his one season in high school, Duke’s ride to the Final Four will last longer than any preseason predictions.

ZION’S STATUS: If Williamson plays against North Carolina, he’ll face a team that has taken notice of him. The Tar Heels lost to Duke this season despite Williamson being out with a sprained knee. Now, UNC goes into the Maui Invitational with the knowledge that one of the best high school players in the country can still give them fits.

NET POSITIVE: A lot of guys have figured out that they can shoot the 3-pointer to shoot well in this era of the 3-point shot. Kansas has guards on both ends of the floor that score from the perimeter and is by far the top-scoring team in the country. Michigan has a big lineup that has relied on its defense to score in recent years, and Indiana has a huge leading scorer, Juwan Morgan, on its roster.

Vanderbilt is using the 3-pointer to keep pace with Kentucky, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for the Commodores. They’ve gotten hit with two of the worst losses in school history, and a lot of that was helped by Vanderbilt’s Big Blue Nation coming out of their seats to watch their man-to-man defense get burned.

LUXURY BRACKET: Rutgers and Illinois are a combined 25-105 and the Big Ten Tournament got off to a rough start. None of the 10 Big Ten Tournament teams ranked higher than 25th in the RPI. There isn’t an extreme team that wasn’t lucky to get to the Big Ten Tournament.


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