The Associated Press always releases their final college basketball rankings before the NCAA tournament starts. I presume that’s because they want the poll to look like the actual opinion of the voters as opposed to be dictated by the outcomes of the win-or-go-home single elimination event.
In any case, the final AP poll of the year came out on Monday, and YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are at #6 in the country to wrap up the season. Marquette is the only team in the top seven to stay stable from last week, although they did earn 1,244 points, up from the 1,218 they had last week. Texas jumped the Golden Eagles in the rankings, moving up two spots to sit at #5 with 1,276 points this week, while UCLA fell seven points — but still got a first place vote — to earn 1,209 points and stand at #7 behind MU.
This is the first time that Marquette has been ranked in the final AP poll of the year since 2013 when they were #15 heading into the NCAA tournament. It is Marquette’s best ranking in a final poll since 1976, when Al McGuire’s squad was #2 in the country and on a collision course with #1 and undefeated Indiana in the Elite Eight. It is also Marquette’s fourth straight week in the top 10 of the AP poll and the first time that has happened since a five week run in January and February of 2009.
Four voters installed the Golden Eagles as the #2 team in the country to lead the way in the voting this week. In fact, there are 19 voters who had Marquette in the top four, and you could argue that means that all 19 of them thought that MU should have been a #1 seed when the NCAA field was announced on Sunday. All of Marquette’s votes are in the top 10 this week, as Kevin Sjuts at #9 and Jerrry DiPaola at #10 are the only people with MU outside the top eight.
In case you were wondering: The guy who voted UCLA at #1 moved them up from #2 and then voted for Marquette at #4.
Purdue remains the top ranked team on Marquette’s schedule this season. The Boilermakers moved up two spots to #3 in the country this week, and boooyyyyy, can you imagine if MU had overtaken them? UConn moved up one spot to #10 after losing to Marquette in the Big East semifinals, while Baylor flipped spots with them to fall to #11. Xavier used their Big East title game loss to Marquette to move up two spots to #13.
Creighton missed the top 25 by five points, ending up with 94 when Florida Atlantic earned 99 to get that valuable #25 ranking. The Bluejays are the only Marquette opponent earning votes this week.
Marquette returns to action on Friday as the #2 seed in the East Region of the NCAA tournament. They will take on #15 seed Vermont in the first round live in Columbus, Ohio, with tipoff scheduled for 1:45pm Central time, and CBS will have the broadcast.