The end to the 2014 NCAA Tournament means the end of the College Basketball season as well, and final rankings being handed out. Traditionally, the national champions, UConn, get the number one spot with the losers in the final, Kentucky, taking the runner-up position, although it’s probably clear to most they weren’t the best teams in the country.
Kentucky got a first place vote and so did Wichita State, a team that lost only one game all season: To Kentucky in the round of 32, by two points. The final poll really hurt Duke, dropping like a stone (10 spots) and are probably one of the two most disappointing programs this season.
1. UConn Huskies (32-8, 30 First Place Votes): A #7 seed that wins the national championship isn’t really something we’re used to seeing. UConn finished only third in the American Conference and didn’t win the American tournament. They did however start winning at the right time, beating Saint Joseph’s, Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State, Florida and finally Kentucky to win their fourth national title.
2. Kentucky Wildcats (29-11, 1): The Wildcats were only 22nd in the polls before the tournament began after finishing second in the SEC with a disappointing 12-6 record. They lost to Florida for a third time this season in the conference final, but everything changed once the tournament began, beating Kansas State, Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin before losing to UConn in the final.
3. Florida Gators (36-3): An excellent season for the Gaotrs who once again won in the SEC with a perfect 18-0 record and completing the double by winning the conference tournament as well. They made it all the way to the Final Four, losing to UConn in the semifinal.
4. Wisconsin Badgers (30-8): The Badgers finished at 12-6 in the Big Ten, tied for second, and didn’t win the conference tournament as well. However, they reached the Final Four for the first time since 2000 before losing to a clutch shot from Aaron Harrison of Kentucky in the semifinal.
5. Arizona Wildcats (33-5): The Wildcats won the Pac-12 with a 15-3 record and maybe if it wasn’t for Brandon Ashley’s injury could have gone further than they did. They lost to UCLA in the conference tournament and made it into the Elite Eight, losing there to Wisconsin in overtime.
6. Michigan Wolverines (28-9): Michigan won the Big Ten with a 15-3 record but lost to their state rivals in the conference tournament final. In the NCAA Tournament they made it into the Elite Eight but lost to another one of Harrison’s clutch shots.
7. Wichita State Shockers (35-1, 1): Undefeated, until they met Kentucky. The MVC was a piece of cake for the Shockers, but they won just one game in the NCAA Tournament (Cal Poly) before losing in a nail biter to Kentucky.
8. Michigan State Spartans (29-9): The Spartans were tied for second in the Big Ten during the regular season but finished with the conference tournament title, beating Michigan. They made it into the Elite Eight but lost to UConn in the NCAA Tournament.
9. Louisville Cardinals (31-6): Shared the regular season championship in the American conference with Cincinnati, but won the tournament by beating UConn. In the NCAA Tournament, they made it to the Sweet Sixteen, losing to Kentucky 74-69.
10. Virginia Cavaliers (30-7): The surprising champions of the ACC, winning both the regular season and the tournament. In the NCAA Tournament they made it into the Sweet Sixteen, losing there to Michigan State 61-59.
11. Iowa State Cyclones (28-8): The Cyclones finished 11-7 in the very tough Big 12 but did win the conference tournament, followed by beating two North Carolina teams in the NCAA tournament until meeting with UConn in the Sweet Sixteen, losing 76-81.
12. San Diego State Aztecs (31-5): The Aztecs won the Mountain West with a 16-2 record but lost in the conference tournament final to New Mexico. In the NCAA Tournament they made the Sweet Sixteen, losing there to Arizona.
13. Villanova Wildcats (29-5): Their first season in the new Big East ended with a 16-2 record and the regular season title. In the tournament, they lost in the round of 32 against former conference rivals UConn.
14. Kansas Jayhawks (25-10): One of the most disappointing teams this season. They did win another regular season title in the Big 12 with a 14-4 record, but were knocked out by Stanford in the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
15. UCLA Bruins (28-9): A season people at UCLA will be happy with, as the Bruins finished second in the Pac-12 with a 12-6 record before beating Arizona for the conference tournament title. In the NCAA Tournament they made it into the Sweet Sixteen, losing there to Florida 79-68.
16. Duke Blue Devils (26-9): Another huge disappointment, as they finished with a 13-5 record in the ACC (tied for third) and lost in the conference tournament final to Virginia. In the NCAA Tournament, lowly Mercer was too much for them in the opening round.
17. Syracuse Orange (28-6): Started out the season looking like the best team in the country, but soon began to fade away, eventually missing out on both ACC titles and getting knocked out in the round of 32 by Dayton.
18 (tied). Baylor Bears (26-12): Only 9-9 in conference play but did make the conference tournament championship game, losing there to Iowa State. They made it to the Sweet Sixteen where they lost to Wisconsin.
18 (tied). Dayton Flyers (26-11): A 10-6 record in the Atlantic 10 was enough for Dayton to make it into the NCAA Tournament where they upset Ohio State, Syracuse and beat Stanford before finally losing in the Elite Eight against Florida.
20. Creighton Bluejays (27-8): Finished second in the Big East with a 14-4 record and couldn’t win the conference tournament either. In the NCAA Tournament, Baylor destroyed them in the round of 32 85-55.
21. North Carolina Tar Heels (24-10): A very up & down season for the Tar Heels, including some big wins and embarrassing losses. Eventually finished third in the ACC at 13-5, losing to Iowa State 85-83 in the round of 32.
22. Cincinnati Bearcats (27-7): Shared the American Conference’s regular season title with Louisville (15-3 record), but didn’t make it far in the NCAA Tournament, losing in the round of 64 to Harvard.
23. Tennessee Volunteers (24-13): A strong Vols team finished with an 11-7 record in the SEC before going to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament, beginning with a win over Iowa in the First Four, followed by wins over Mercer and UMass.
24. Stanford Cardinal (23-13): Stanford were only fifth in the Pac-12 with a 10-8 record but had a nice little run in the NCAA Tournament, making it to the Sweet Sixteen after beating New Mexico and shocking Kansas before losing to Dayton.
25. Saint Louis Billikens (27-7): Saint Louis won the tough Atlantic 10 with a 13-3 record and made it to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, beating North Carolina State before losing to Louisville.