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Maryland men’s basketball finishes No. 12 in final AP poll, tying best finish under Mark Turgeon

The Maryland men’s basketball team finished a season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic at No. 12 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll released Wednesday, tying the program’s best finish under coach Mark Turgeon.

The Terps went 24-7 and were ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP poll en route to winning their first Big Ten regular-season title since joining the conference in 2014. Maryland split the conference championship with Michigan State and Wisconsin, and celebrated by cutting down the nets after a victory over Michigan on Senior Day.

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“Because we did have a good year, we were able to talk about a lot of the good things and how it ended, with us cutting down the nets on Senior Day. Really a perfect ending to what I thought was a terrific regular season," Turgeon said on a conference call Monday.

“We know we had a really good team. We know that we could have done something. We could have lost in the first round. We could have advanced to a Final Four. Who knows? We’ll never know. That makes it hard.”

The Terps also finished No. 12 in the 2014-15 season, their first in the Big Ten, after losing to West Virginia in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

The final rankings were based on play through March 11, when the outbreak of the coronavirus brought the sport to a halt and resulted in the unprecedented cancellation of the NCAA tournament.

Finishing atop the poll was Kansas, the regular-season Big 12 champion, which was 28-3 when the season abruptly ended after the first day of the conference tournament last week. The Jayhawks received 63 of 65 first-place votes.

Gonzaga (31-2) finished second after beating Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference finals, one of a handful of league tournaments that were completed. But the Bulldogs will be left to wonder whether another dominant team from coach Mark Few would have finally delivered the school a national championship.

Dayton (29-2) was third behind behind breakout stars Jalen Crutcher and Obi Toppin. That matched the 1955-56 team led by Bill Uhl and Jim Paxson for the best finish in program history.

Florida State (26-5) was fourth in the final poll, easily the best finish ever for the Seminoles, while Baylor (26-4) rounded out the top five after spending a longer stretch at No. 1 than any other team during a topsy-turvy season.

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San Diego State, Creighton, Kentucky, Michigan State and Villanova rounded out the top 10.

No. 11 Duke finished outside the top 10 for only the second time since 2007, while Maryland, Oregon, Louisville and Seton Hall came next.

The rest of the Top 25 included reigning national champion Virginia at No. 16, followed by Wisconsin, BYU, Ohio State and Auburn. The final five in the poll were Illinois, Houston, Butler, West Virginia and Iowa.

The first two teams outside the poll were two teams with a good chance to have been NCAA tournament darlings — or break a whole lot of brackets. Stephen F. Austin was 28-3 with a win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in November. East Tennessee State went 30-4 and went toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks before losing at Allen Fieldhouse.

Among those also receiving votes in the final poll were Michigan, which climbed as high as No. 4 early in the season; Penn State, which was looking forward to its first NCAA tournament appearance in nine years; Texas Tech, which slumped a bit after its national runner-up finish a year ago; and back-to-back Atlantic Sun champion Liberty.

Baltimore Sun reporter Daniel Oyefusi and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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AP Top 25

  1. Kansas
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Dayton
  4. Florida State
  5. Baylor
  6. San Diego State
  7. Creighton
  8. Kentucky
  9. Michigan State
  10. Villanova
  11. Duke
  12. Maryland
  13. Oregon
  14. Louisville
  15. Seton Hall
  16. Virginia
  17. Wisconsin
  18. BYU
  19. Ohio State
  20. Auburn
  21. Illinois
  22. Houston
  23. Butler
  24. West Virginia
  25. Iowa

Others receiving votes: Stephen F. Austin 78, East Tennessee State 66, Providence 63, Michigan 62, Utah State 36, Saint Mary’s 33, Penn State 21, Arizona 7, Rutgers 6, Richmond 6, USC 4, New Mexico State 4, Texas Tech 3, UCLA 2, Vermont 2, Purdue 1, Belmont 1, Liberty 1, Utah 1

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