Although there was not the same type of shake-up in this weeks poll as there has been in the past, it was actually refreshing to see the rankings become more solidified heading into conference tournament play. At the top, both Virginia and Michigan State held onto the top two spots while Xavier took over the number three spot after Villanova lost a shootout to Creighton over the weekend. The only new program in the rankings this week was the ever inconsistent yet somehow still intriguing Kentucky Wildcats. Scoring 80+ points over their last three games, the Wildcats are finally beginning to look like the perennial National Title contenders that they usually are under the tutelage of coach John Calipari.
Top 25 College Basketball Rankings 2018: Week 17
While the Villanova Wildcats only dropped one spot in the poll after losing to Creighton, their poor play defensively has to be a concern for a program that has suffered its fair share of early exits from the NCAA Tournament. Worse still for the Wildcats is the fact that college basketball is loaded reputable competition this year, which will make it difficult for Villanova to cover up its noticeable blemishes in a tournament format. Still, Jay Wright has the pieces to overwhelm most of their opponents as they can make shots from within and outside the perimeter consistently. If the Wildcats can perform well in the Big East Tournament, they may be able to establish a more well-balanced identity that they will ultimately need if they have serious ambitions of winning their third National Title.
|Ranking||Team (1st place votes)|
|2||Michigan State (17)|
Since losing to Virginia Tech a couple of weeks ago, the Virginia Cavaliers have quickly resolidified their identity as an unbreakable defensive program. However, the Cavaliers will most likely need to score consistently once tournament play commences if they hope to effectively compliment what is the best defensive squad in college basketball. Is this the year that the Cavaliers put it all together and win a coveted National Title?
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) February 26, 2018
Dropped from rankings: Florida State 25
Others receiving votes that did not make the poll: TCU 41, Butler 34, St. Bonaventure 29, NC State 28, Creighton 26, Loyola-Chicago 8, USC 7, Florida State 4, Seton Hall 3, Arkansas 3, Virginia Tech 2, Florida 1, Boise State 1, Oklahoma 1