Luke DeCock

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

UNC cuts down the net after winning share of ACC regular season title

North Carolina players cut down the net after the Tar Heels defeated Duke at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, March 9, 2019. The win gave the Tar Heels a share of the ACC regular season championship.
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North Carolina players cut down the net after the Tar Heels defeated Duke at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, March 9, 2019. The win gave the Tar Heels a share of the ACC regular season championship.

As we approach the finish line, a diversion from the balloting to note with some sadness that neither Chris Clemons nor Mike Daum will be in the NCAA tournament. Neither of their teams -- Campbell and South Dakota State, respectively -- were under consideration for this ballot this season but they earned a spot on the national stage.

The same goes for Furman and Belmont and Lipscomb, all of which did appear on this ballot at various points but could potentially end up in the NIT so some 9-9 Big East team or a second Pac-12 team can play in Dayton instead. Huzzah.

The NCAA’s new NET rating is imperfect but it’s a far better way to compare and select teams than the quadrant/strength-of-schedule obsession the committee has now.

As for the ballot, UNC jumps Duke as I stay with three ACC teams in the top four. Which, if the committee were really doing its job, is how the No. 1 seeds would play out. Either way, bet on UNC or Duke ending up in same bracket as the Wildcats, to CBS’ unending joy.

The UNC Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils battle in the regular season finale in Chapel Hill, NC Saturday night, March 9, 2019.

THIS SEASON’S 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. Gonzaga (Last week: 1)

2. Virginia (2)

3. North Carolina (4)

4. Duke (3)

5. Michigan State (7)

6. Kentucky (8)

7. Texas Tech (9)

8. Michigan (5)

9. Tennessee (6)

10. LSU (14)

11. Houston (13)

12. Buffalo (12)

13. Purdue (10)

14. Kansas (11)

15. Wofford (15)

16. Florida State (16)

17. Wisconsin (17)

18. Nevada (19)

19. Auburn (21)

20. Maryland (23)

21. Kansas State (24)

22. Virginia Tech (18)

23. Clemson (NR)

24. VCU (NR)

25. Utah State (NR)

OUT Cincinnati (20), Villanova (22), Marquette (25).

Raleigh native and Campbell University senior Chris Clemons talks about his NCAA scoring record and the art of his play

Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.

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