Arizona enters NCAA Tournament as No. 8 in AP poll

Mar 13, 2023, 9:27 AM

Kerr Kriisa #25, Azuolas Tubelis #10 and Oumar Ballo #11 of the Arizona Wildcats talk on the court ...

Kerr Kriisa #25, Azuolas Tubelis #10 and Oumar Ballo #11 of the Arizona Wildcats talk on the court during a break in the second half of the championship game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament against the UCLA Bruins at T-Mobile Arena on March 11, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wildcats defeated the Bruins 61-59. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Running through Stanford, Arizona State and UCLA to win the Pac-12 Tournament didn’t budge the Arizona Wildcats in the final men’s college basketball rankings ahead of the NCAA Tournament.

The Associated Press top-25 poll held the 28-6 Wildcats at No. 8 in the rankings.

There was, however, a shakeup at the top. Former No. 1 Houston fell to Memphis to end the AAC Tournament, which catapulted former No. 4 squad Alabama to the new No. 1 overall spot.

The Crimson Tide is also the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and finds itself in the South Region, where Arizona is the second seed.

Alabama, fresh off an SEC Tournament title to go with its regular-season crown, earned 48 of 61 first-place votes to jump Houston, which lost in the AAC final without star guard Marcus Sasser.

Houston still received nine first-place votes and was No. 2 after losing to Memphis in the final of the AAC tourney, where Sasser hurt his groin in the semifinal round. He did not play in the championship and his status will be watched closely leading up to the Cougars’ NCAA opener against Northern Kentucky.

Purdue, seeded first in the East Region, earned three first-place votes and was third in the AP poll after the regular-season Big Ten champion won its conference tournament, too. Kansas, which expects to have Bill Self back for the NCAA tourney after a medical scare, was fourth after receiving the No. 1 seed in the West.

Texas routed the Jayhawks in the finals of the Big 12 Tournament and rounded out the top five.

Marquette remained at No. 6 after its Big East tourney title. UCLA earned one first-place vote and was seventh after losing in the Pac-12 Tournament final to Arizona, which was No. 8. Gonzaga and UConn rounded out the top 10.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

The Associated Press top 25 poll – Pre-NCAA Tournament

Record Pts Prv
1. Alabama (48) 29-5 1508 4
2. Houston (9) 31-3 1404 1
3. Purdue (3) 29-5 1367 5
4. Kansas 27-7 1303 3
5. Texas 26-8 1276 7
6. Marquette 28-6 1244 6
7. UCLA (1) 29-5 1209 2
8. Arizona 28-6 1155 8
9. Gonzaga 28-5 1046 9
10. UConn 25-8 854 11
11. Baylor 22-10 779 10
12. Duke 26-8 763 21
13. Xavier 25-9 738 15
14. Virginia 25-7 711 13
15. Kansas St 23-9 709 12
16. Miami 25-7 581 14
17. Texas A&M 25-9 562 18
18. San Diego St. 27-6 550 20
19. Saint Mary’s 26-7 426 16
20. Tennessee 23-10 381 17
21. Indiana 22-11 332 19
22. TCU 21-12 254 22
23. Missouri 24-9 171 25
24. Memphis 26-8 110
25. FAU 31-3 99

Others receiving votes: Creighton 94, Oral Roberts 58, Kentucky 39, Iowa St. 32, VCU 26, Utah St. 15, Penn St. 11, Coll of Charleston 10, Kent St. 2, Northwestern 2, Drake 2, West Virginia 2.

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