The Virginia Cavaliers earned 30 of 65 first-place votes in Monday’s latest Associated Press poll to reach the No.1 ranking for the first time in over 35 years.
Not since college basketball great Ralph Sampson’s senior year in December of 1982 has Virginia held down the top spot.
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Michigan State is ranked No.2, followed by Villanova, Xavier and Cincinnati.
Through most of this turbulent college hoops season, Virginia has remained consistent, despite this Saturday’s 61-60 loss to Buzz Williams‘ Virginia Tech crew, who are surging after having won five of their last six games, including a win over North Carolina.
The Cavaliers started the year as an unranked team in the preseason Top 25, but proceeded to go 23-1 through their first 24 games.
UVA sports a rugged, dominant defense, and in a season where there’s no true dominant team, where all of the top squads have visible flaws, they seem to have a great shot at making a deep run during March Madness.
Virginia vs. Florida State: The Cavaliers held the Seminoles without a field goal for the final 9:01 of the game and left Tallahassee with a 59-55 win. Devon Hall, Ty Jerome, and Kyle Guy all scored in double figures for No. 2 Virginia. M.J.
Villanova has been the country’s the most successful program over the past five seasons, but they’re struggling mightily with injuries and on the defensive end right now. Purdue looked strong in compiling 19 straight wins, but they lost last week to both Ohio State and Michigan State.
Duke might have the most talent of any team in the field, but their defense has looked mighty suspect as of late. Michigan State is also loaded and has one of the most electrifying players in the country in Miles Bridges, but they’ve suffered some head-scratching double-digit losses on more than one occasion.
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With no true dominant squad and with even the best teams having discernable weaknesses, this year’s NCAA Tournament should be off the hook in terms of being more unpredictable than usual.