College basketball rankings: UCLA makes No. 1 case in AP Top 25; Providence, Maryland sink
Alabama and Kansas have embarked on a path that opens the door for UCLA to make a strong case for two top spots in the AP Top 25 College Basketball Poll. The Bruins were scheduled to take on the Arizona dogfight for the Pac-12 crown. But Mick Cronin, Jaime Jakes and Tiger Campbell must not have gotten the note. UCLA beat Arizona four games for the Pac-12 crown to end the game 18-2 in the league.
“Look, we don’t worry about shots,” Cronin said. “We are worried about good shots. Winners know what to focus on. We focus on effort, defense, game plan fulfillment, rebounding and open shots.All I want is fair treatment for my team. That’s all you can say. But the games are still there, right? We are all going to participate in conference tournaments.”
Providence, Maryland and several other teams in the NCAA Tournament lost in the poll.
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Here’s how AP college basketball voters across the country sorted out their top 25.
1. HOUSTON (29-2) – 58 FIRST VOTES (1522 POINTS)
Houston isn’t perfect, but the Cougars are heading into March with one thought. Jamal Shed doused the winner of the game to inflict another heavy defeat on his opponent Memphis. Houston is essentially the No. 1 seed, but the road to the Final Four begins in a week and a half.
“I knew the coach [Kelvin Sampson] wouldn’t call a timeout because we’ve been in that situation before and he trusts me,” Shad said. “God willing, I was able to take that shot.”
2. UCLA (27-4) – 3 FIRST PLACES (1452 POINTS)
Seniors Jaime Jacquez and Tiger Campbell combined 43 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals to lead UCLA to an 82–73 win over Arizona. UCLA has to wait for Jaylen Clark’s foot MRI results.
“This is just a testament to four years of hard work,” Jacques said. “We came to the University of California at Los Angeles – there was no one at the games. I think UCLA had to buy tickets for $8. We’ve made it our mission to bring UCLA back to number one, to put UCLA basketball where it needs to be, where it needs to be, and where it belongs. Two guys from Southern California, we’re living the dream right now. To be Pac-12 champions, to win like we did at home, to prepare for the trip to Vegas and enjoy this Pac-12 championship, for me it’s literally like a script, a storybook.”
3. KANSAS (25-6)
Kansas advance to the playoffs after losing 75-59 to Texas in a pointless regular season game. KU had already completed the Big 12 championship. But the Texas defense forced KU to show a pitiful offensive.
“Well, I think if you play on the road with a team like Texas, it would be a shame if we won,” said CU coach Bill Self. “A small disappointment, but it would be a disappointment if we won. So I’m not going to take too much away from that other than the fact that we weren’t very good and we have to get better. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that we lost to such a good and talented team like Texas on the road. We just didn’t play that well. Would I be better off if we lost as a three? Yes, I would. But don’t get too hung up on it.”
4. ALABAMA (26-5)
Alabama is starting to crack? The writing had been on the wall for weeks, but Texas A&M finally took down Crimson Tide 67-61. Alabama fired just 7 out of 36 from downtown.
“We have a strong, resilient group that, even when they fall, they kind of bounce back,” said Alabama coach Nate Oates. “I don’t think we’re aggressive enough offensively. We’re flipping the ball too soon. If we had an accurate answer, I would try to correct it. I’m not sure, but we’re going to talk about it and see if we can’t – and the coaching staff should also better prepare our guys for the game behind the net.”
5. Purdue (26-5)
Perdue was able to weather Illinois’ tumultuous second-half comeback and clinch the Big Ten championship in a three-game regular season. Purdue has shown that they can beat a good team even if Zach Edie doesn’t dominate the game. Brandon Newman’s late-season surge is exactly what Purdue needed.
“Sometimes all that noise needs to be either silenced or used as motivation,” said Purdue coach Matt Painter. “You can’t accept it, but you can’t accept applause either. You must be able to listen and be with each other. It’s enough. It will relieve pleasure and relieve discomfort. Our guys succeeded. Everyone has had a hard time this year. I don’t care who you are. Hopefully we can keep working on things, keep getting better and get some wins.”
6. MARKET (25-6)
Marquette edged out St. John’s 96-94 to put the finishing touches on a magical 17-3 Big East campaign.
“Just trying to figure it out,” Marquette’s trainer Shaka Smart said. “Look at the different guys and employees. Just thank you for being here. I think it’s very easy for you to feel that something has to happen, or can happen, or it can happen, or you would like it to happen. But for this team to go 17-3 is very unlikely compared to what anyone thought at this time last year, summer, fall, even the start of the game at the conference. Guys, I have never been in a group that cares so deeply for a friend. about a friend. And it really captivated our team. So now it will be very, very interesting to see how we can turn the page and attack the postseason.”
7. TEXAS (23-8)
Texas showed how troublesome he can be defensively in Saturday’s game over Kansas. The Jayhawks couldn’t get off an inch in the entire 40 minutes.
“I told our guys at this time of the year and throughout the Big 12 game, “You are going to face adversity, especially in March. There’s going to be trouble in your game,” Texas interim coach Rodney Terry said. . “For us a couple of days ago it was a selection. We couldn’t overcome and still win the game because we didn’t have a good rebound. TCU flipped the ball 22 times, they still found a way to win the game, so they had some adversity too. In March, you are really trying to hone in on what you need to keep getting better. But not only that, you have to beat the game, you have to try to win against adversity, and we said we needed to recover better, we know that is what we needed to do.”
8. ARIZONA (25-6)
Arizona got 24 points and 10 rebounds off Azuolas Tubelis but couldn’t sustain a hot start against UCLA. The Arizona star big man became just the seventh player in Pac-12 history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding.
“Zou is a great player,” said Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd. “He had a good look at it tonight and I just wish we could give him a little more ball and try to find him and we probably need to be a little more creative with that and more persuasion to make sure he gets his . touches.”
9. GONZAGA (26-5)
The semi-finals of the West Coast Conference have been determined and will take place on Monday. Gonzaga will play San Francisco, who opened some eyes with a double win over Santa Clara in overtime. The winner will receive the winner in the St. Mary-BYU clash. Gonzaga and St. Mary’s race to clash in the WCC Tournament Championship Game, which will be the showdown between the two WCC Alphas. Gonzaga plays elite offensive basketball for a hot second.
10. Baylor (22-9)
Baylor put up little to no resistance to the desperate Iowa State club. The Cyclones hit 62.5% in 2 seconds against Baylor’s holey defense. Adam Flagler scored 20 points for the team…