Tar Heels atop final AP Poll voting


The final AP college basketball poll didn't match the top

seedings of the NCAA tournament. It did represent the season, though: There was one more change at No. 1.

North Carolina used its Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title to jump from fourth to first today, the Tar Heels' fifth week as the top-ranked team. Arkansas, which had been No. 1 the last four weeks, fell one spot after losing in the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals.

Purdue, which won the Big Ten title yesterday, moved from sixth to third and that's when the national media panel and the NCAA Selection Committee stopped agreeing.

Defending national champion North Carolina (27-6), which had 37 first-place votes, Arkansas (25-3), first on 16 ballots, and Purdue (26-4), picked No. 1 by 11 voters, were No. 1 seeds in their respective regions when the NCAA's field of 64 was announced last night.

Connecticut (27-4), which was upset by Providence in the Big East tournament semifinals, was fourth in the poll and second in the East Regional. Missouri (25-3), the undefeated regular-season Big Eight champions who lost in the tournament semifinals, were fifth in the poll, but seeded first in the West Regional.

The Tigers were followed in the top 10 by Duke, Kentucky, Massachusetts, which had one first-place vote, Arizona and Louisville.

Michigan, which was third two weeks ago and eighth last week, led the second 10 and was followed by Temple, Kansas, Florida, Syracuse, California, UCLA, Indiana, Oklahoma State and Texas.

The last five teams were Marquette, Nebraska, Minnesota, Saint Louis and Cincinnati.

Nebraska, Big Eight tournament winner, and Cincinnati, champion of the Great Midwest, weren't ranked last week. They replaced Alabama-Birmingham and Penn.

Six schools reached No. 1 this season, with Arkansas' nine weeks at the top the most by one team. North Carolina was top-ranked for four weeks and Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and Duke were each on top for one week. There was one stretch where the No. 1 team was beaten for six straight weeks.

Nebraska, which hadn't been ranked since early last season, became the 42nd school to be ranked this season.

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