Kentucky won the national title for the 8th time and the first since 1998, and the coaches found just enough time to squeeze in another final poll to determine who were the top 25 teams in the nation with the tournament as another way to gauge the field.
John Calipari finally got himself a title, setting new goals – A perfect season and 7 first round draft picks, knowing nothing will ever satisfy himself or the Kentucky fans. Now it’ll be interesting to see how many of his players declare for the Draft, and how many will go in the first round, while it seems Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist will go #1-2.
1. Kentucky Wildcats, 37-2 (31 First Place Votes) – The national champions, so there isn’t much to clarify. Anthony Davis won every possible award, including the Final Four MOP, as Kentucky beat Louisville and Kansas on the final weekend.
2. Kansas Jayhawks, 32-6 – Won the Big 12 for the 8th time in a row, making the tournament final for the first time since 2008, going through Detroit, Purdue, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Ohio State before falling short against Kentucky.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes, 31-8 – Reached the final four for the 11th time in school history, going through Loyola, Gonzaga, Cincinnati and Syracuse before losing to Kansas.
4. Louisville Cardinals, 30-10 – Had a rough season in the Big East, finishing only 10-8 in conference play. Really picked it up in time for the tournament, winning the Big East tourney, before going through Davidson, New Mexico, Michigan State and Florida to reach the school’s 9th final four. They lost to Kentucky in the Semi Final.
5. Syracuse Orange, 34-3 – Jim Boeheim’s Orange cruised through the Big East with a 17-1 conference record, but weren’t as dominant in the tournament. They beat UNC Asheville, Kansas State and Wisconsin before losing to Ohio State in the Elite Eight.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels, 32-6 – Began the season as the number 1 team, and actually looked great heading into the tournament, until Kendall Marshall got injured. They beat Vermont, Creighton and Ohio before losing to Kansas in the Elite Eight.
7. Michigan State Spartans, 29-8 – An overrated team that won the Big Ten and the conference tournament. They beat Long Island and Saint Louis before losing to Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen.
8. Baylor Bears, 30-8 – Made the tournament for only the 7th time in school history, going through South Dakota State, Colorado and Xavier until they had the misfortune to get beaten by Kentucky in the Elite Eight.
9. Florida Gators, 26-11 – Billy Donovan made the Elite Eight for the second straight season, beating Virginia, Norfolk State and Marquette before losing to Louisville.
10. Marquette Golden Eagles, 27-8 – Went 14-4 in the Big East but their loss in the conference tournament to Louisville should have made a few warning signs light on. They beat BYU and Murray State without much trouble, losing to Florida in the Sweet Sixteen.
11. Missouri Tigers, 30-5 – The big disappointment of the tournament. After winning the Big 12 tournament, Mizzou got the #2 seed in their region, but were stunned 86-84 by Norfolk State in the second round.
12. Wisconsin Badgers, 26-10 – Had an easy time against Montana and a very hard time against surprising Vanderbilt before falling against Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen.
13. Indiana Hoosiers, 27-9 – The year of the Hoosier comeback? Somewhat. They reached the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 10 years after beating New Mexico State and VCU. They couldn’t work their magic against Kentucky twice in the same season, losing to the Wildcats 102-90.
14. Duke Blue Devils, 27-7 – Duke showed signs of fading away as the season progressed, and it wasn’t as surprising when Coach K’s #2 seed lost to Lehigh in the second round.
15. Florida State Seminoles, 25-10 – Won the ACC tournament and went in to the national with high expectations, beating St. Bonaventure before losing to Cincinnati in the third round.
16. Murray State Racers, 31-2 – The Racers had a great year under Steve Prohm, beating Colorado State before falling against Marquette in the tournament.
17. Georgetown Hoyas, 24-9 – Another disappointing performance from the Hoyas, who haven’t been to the Sweet Sixteen since 2007. They beat Belmont in the tournament opener before losing to #11 seed North Carolina State.
18. Cincinnati Bearcats, 26-11 – One of the four Ohio teams to make it into the Sweet Sixteen, Cincy beat Texas and surprised Florida State before losing to Ohio State.
19. Vanderbilt Commodores, 25-11 – Came as a #5 seed after winning the SEC tournament, beating Harvard in the second round and stumbling against Wisconsin.
20. North Carolina State Wolfpack, 24-13 – Came in as an #11 seed, but nearly made it into the Elite Eight, beating San Diego State, Georgetown and losing by three to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen.
21. Creighton Bluejays, 29-6 – Beat Alabama by one point in the second round but were routed by a much better North Carolina team in the third, making the tournament for the first time in five years.
22. Michigan Wolverines, 24-10 – Were upset by Ohio in the second round 65-60.
23. New Mexico Lobos, 28-7 – Won the MWC tournament and began the national tourney with a win over Long Beach State before losing to Louisville.
24. Xavier Musketeers, 23-13 – One of the four Ohio schools to make it into the Sweet Sixteen, Xavier beat Notre Dame and Lehigh before losing to Baylor.
25. Ohio Bobcats, 29-8 – The Bobcats made it to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1964, after surprising both Michigan and Florida State, losing to North Carolina.