The numbers next to team’s names will take on a whole new meaning in a week’s time. With Selection Sunday less than seven days away, national polls, power rankings and any other way that teams are being arranged will not mean a thing. All that will matter is what number between one and 16 is next to your preferred school’s team name. For most of you, that will be the Cincinnati Bearcats. For everyone else, welcome to Down the Drive. (Unless you root for Xavier. Then you can leave).
Anyway, with such a shift in how teams are ranked coming, its worth one last look at the AP Top 25, which will mean exactly zip before you know it. (Not that rankings really matter all that much anyway, but that’s a discussion for another day).
Cincinnati, which has enjoyed the company of the rest of the top 25 for most of this season, remained in the ranks, rising back to No. 15 after falling to No. 18 a week ago. After being unranked in the preseason, the Bearcats were in the AP poll for the last 14 weeks and 15 of the 17 total weeks of the regular season.
Unfortunately, they are still chasing American Athletic Conference regular season champion SMU, which rose two spots to No. 12 in the AP poll and is the favorite in the upcoming conference tourney. Iowa State, the only other team that UC beat in the top 25, rose one spot to No. 23, further cementing UC’s already locked-in resume as a NCAA Tournament squad.
As for the upper portion of the poll, the top four (Kansas, Villanova, UCLA and Gonzaga) remained the same, while Oregon leapfrogged North Carolina to take over the No. 5 spot. The rest of the poll can be found below.
AP Top 25 Week 17