Luke DeCock

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 19 (final)

The Virginia Cavaliers celebrate their ACC Tournament Championship on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The Virginia Cavaliers celebrate their ACC Tournament Championship on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. rwillett@newsobserver.com

This is the final and admittedly meaningless ballot of the season, but I did put mine together Sunday before the selection show in an attempt to avoid being influenced, subconsciously or otherwise, by the NCAA tournament field.

Some of this is easy, though. Virginia left no doubt about being the No. 1 team in the country. Villanova left no doubt about being No. 2. The Big Ten teams had the week off. Kentucky played its way back into the poll by winning the SEC. Kansas and North Carolina demonstrated their elite status with their tournament runs.

Looking back at my preseason poll, six of my initial top 10 finished in my final top 10 and 15 of my initial top 25 were in my final top 25. The outliers: Florida (8), Southern Cal (11), Notre Dame (15), Alabama (16), Seton Hall (19), Baylor (20), Texas A&M (22), Miami (23), Northwestern (24) and Louisville (25) -- and Florida and Miami were in last week’s poll. The season’s biggest surprise, by that metric, was Michigan, followed closely by Tennessee and Ohio State.

PAST BALLOTS

Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18

MY TOP 25

1. Virginia (Last week: 1)

2. Villanova (3)

3. Michigan State (5)

4. Kansas (11)

5. North Carolina (13)

6. Xavier (2)

7. Duke (4)

8. Cincinnati (6)

9. Michigan (7)

10. Gonzaga (9)

11. Tennessee (8)

12. Purdue (10)

13. Ohio State (15)

14. Arizona (16)

15. Wichita State (12)

16. Texas Tech (20)

17. West Virginia (21)

18. Auburn (14)

19. Kentucky (NR)

20. Clemson (19)

21. Nevada (18)

22. St Mary's (17)

23. Houston (23)

24. Loyola (Chicago) (25)

25. Arkansas (NR)

OUT Florida (22), Miami (24).

Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, @Luke DeCock

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