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Villanova shoots to No. 3, Kansas drops to No. 10 in Associated Press college basketball poll

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Parity scored another victory last week in college basketball when 17 of the top 25 teams in the Associated Press college basketball poll lost at least once and two schools lost twice.

The rash of winning teams losing games has created a mad scramble for the fourth and final No. 1 seed. At the moment, Villanova appears to have a shaky hold on it, but several remain in contention. Surprisingly, Arizona is not the top-ranked school with the Wildcats' mascot. Villanova jumped Arizona, but the guess here is Sean Miller's team has a more firm hold on a No. 1 seed.

The Kansas loss at West Virginia dropped the Jayhawks two spots in the AP poll, released Monday, which has Kansas at No. 10.

The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 9, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:

         Record Pts Prv
  1. Florida (50) 29-2 1,610 1
  2. Wichita St. (15) 34-0 1,574 2
  3. Villanova 28-3 1,454 6
  4. Arizona 28-3 1,435 3
  5. Louisville 26-5 1,237 11
  6. Virginia 25-6 1,186 5
  7. Duke 24-7 1,185 4
  8. Michigan 23-7 1,143 12
  9. San Diego St. 27-3 1,143 10
  10. Kansas 23-8 1,087 8
  11. Syracuse 27-4 1,055 7
  12. Wisconsin 25-6 973 9
  13. Cincinnati 26-5 922 15
  14. Creighton 24-6 752 13
  15. North Carolina 23-8 709 14
  16. Iowa St. 23-7 572 16
  17. Oklahoma 23-8 472 23
  18. Saint Louis 26-5 433 17
  19. Memphis 23-8 367 20
  20. New Mexico 24-6 344 21
  21. UConn 24-7 330 19
  22. Michigan St. 23-8 318 22
  23. VCU 24-7 205 NR
  24. Ohio St. 23-8 165 NR
  25. SMU 23-8 152 18
    Others receiving votes: Gonzaga 82, Stephen F. Austin 56, Oregon 39, Texas 31, Harvard 27, Kentucky 19, Baylor 18, UCLA 14, Nebraska 8, Iowa 4, Tennessee 2, George Washington 1, NC Central 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Wichita State: First team to enter NCAA Tournament without a loss (34-0) since UNLV in 1991. Any outlandish talk of Shockers becoming first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 based on fantasy and/or wishful thinking. Shockers have been pounding teams as good or better than a No. 16 seed all season. The second-game (now confusingly called the third round) opponent is the one that will be better than any Shockers have faced since they beat Tennessee by nine points Dec. 14.

2 - Florida: Billy Donovan could join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski as only active coaches to win three national titles. (Coach K has four). Louisville’s Rick Pitino and North Carolina’s Roy Williams also have shot to win a third title.

3 - Arizona: Kenpom.com stats rank Wildcats No. 1 in nation defensively, fourth with opponents shooting 41.2 percent on two-point field goals.

4 - Villanova: Nothing short of winning Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden can land Wildcats a No. 1 seed.

5 - Louisville: Cardinals peaking at right time for another Final Four. Intense defensive pressure No. 1 attribute. Opponents turn it over on 25.1 percent of possessions, second in nation to VCU. Under former Kansas State assistant and first-year coach Brad Underwood, two-loss Stephen F. Austin ranks third in that statistical category.

6 - Virginia: ACC regular-season champions have come a long way since losing by 35 points at Tennessee, but as soon as they positioned themselves to gain serious consideration for a No. 1 seed, the Cavaliers lost at Maryland.

7 - Michigan: Regular-season Big Ten champ Wolverines play strong defense without fouling, don’t take bad shots, don’t turn it over and move the ball so well they get an unusual number of open three-pointers, all of which makes coach John Beilein’s reputation as one of the nation’s finest coaches deserved.

8 - San Diego State: Aztecs 4-1 vs. teams in AP top 25, including victory in Allen Fieldhouse. Favorite statistic in college basketball: Aztecs riding 116-game winning streak when leading with five minutes remaining. So when they took a 44-42 lead with exactly five minutes left against New Mexico, everybody headed for the parking lot, knowing game was in hand. Not really, but they might as well have done so.

9 - Syracuse: First loss started stretch of four in five games, but the way Orange hit the road and pounded Florida State, 74-58, could be indication this team back to being tournament ready.

10 - Kansas: Opponents turn it over on 16.7 percent of possessions, which ranks 283rd in nation. When Joel Embiid not playing, defending the goal also a problem.

11 - Duke: Freshman Jabari Parker saved his best for last, dropping 30 points and 11 rebounds on chief rival North Carolina in regular-season finale.

12 - Wisconsin: Not even making 9 of 20 three-pointers enough to win at Nebraska, which is coming to life so quickly under second-year coach Tim Miles.

13 - North Carolina: If guards truly are key to NCAA Tournament success, look out for UNC. Marcus Paige averaging 22.4 points and shooting .531 from three in past five games.

14 - Cincinnati: Opponents turn it over on 22.6 percent of possessions, 12th in nation, per kenpom.com.

15 - Creighton: Blue Jays bounced back from consecutive road losses to Xavier and Georgetown and Doug McDermott made sure of it. On same day Andrew Wiggins scored 41 points for Kansas, McDermott exploded for 45 on Senior Day in victory vs. Providence. He became eighth Div. I player to reach 3,000-point milestone.

16 - Oklahoma: Sooners are America’s best team that nobody ever mentions.

17 - Michigan State: Keith Appling saying all the right things about his wrist feeling better, but he’s still not scoring at anywhere near the rate he did before he injured it, so it must be bothering him.

18 - Iowa State: The magic this team has doesn’t travel well outside Hilton Coliseum. Went 3-6 on road in league play.

19 - New Mexico: Power forward Cameron Bairstow had 20 of team’s 48 points in three-point loss at New Mexico.

20 - Memphis: Former Missouri Tiger Michael Dixon leads team in three-point percentage (.393), second in scoring (12.2).

21 - Ohio State: They pressure the ball, don’t give teams space to shoot threes and still don’t get abused inside. But do the Buckeyes have enough offensive firepower to do serious damage in the tournament?

22 - Connecticut: Standout point guard Shabazz Napier shot 2 of 13, 1 of 10 from three and had six turnovers at Louisville in 81-48 loss, but that was as much about Louisville as Napier.

23 - Oregon: Will the real Ducks please waddle up. Talented bunch started regular season 13-0, finished it 7-0 and went 2-8 in between. Good luck trying to catch up to Ducks by fouling late in games. They shoot .772 from the line and .390 from three. Three-point percentages of three leading scorers: Joseph Young (.406), Mike Moser (.379), Jason Calliste (.517).

24 - Saint Louis: Billikens rebounded from three-game losing streak with two-point victory at UMass.

25 - VCU: Non-stop defensive pressure makes Rams different and different can go a long way in March.

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