The Blue Devils (29-5) jumped from fifth to first Monday after winning last week’s league tournament with the return of freshman star Zion Williamson from a knee sprain that had sidelined him nearly six full games. That made Duke the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament when the field of 68 teams was unveiled Sunday night.
The Cavaliers (29-3) and Tar Heels (27-6) stayed in their positions in what is believed to be the first time a conference has claimed the top three spots in the final AP poll. Both also earned No. 1 seeds to headline their own NCAA regions.
Gonzaga, the fourth NCAA 1-seed, fell from No. 1 in last week’s AP Top 25 to fourth after losing to Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game for its first loss since December.
Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan State moved up a spot to fifth, followed by Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas Tech and Florida State — which upset Virginia in the ACC semifinals to round out the top 10.
Auburn made a big jump after winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament, vaulting eight spots to No. 14 after being unranked to start the month of March.
Nevada took a big tumble, falling six spots to No. 20 after losing to San Diego State in the Mountain West Tournament.
Utah State ended up winning that tournament, which pushed the Aggies into the AP poll at No. 25. It’s the program’s first AP poll appearance since the final poll in 2011.