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Michigan State finishes No. 9 in Associated Press basketball Top 25; Kansas No. 1

Detroit News staff and wires

Michigan State finished at No. 9 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll, released Wednesday, while Michigan was unable to crack it.

Kansas finished as the No. 1 team in the poll, capping a season that included the unprecedented cancellation of the NCAA Tournament because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Michigan State finished at No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, released Wednesday.

The Spartans finished the season at 22-9, while the Wolverines were 19-12.

The Jayhawks, who were the regular-season Big 12 champions and 28-3 when the season abruptly ended after the first day of the conference tournament last week, received 63 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel. That easily outdistanced No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Dayton, each of which received a first-place vote.

“Nobody in America had better season than we did,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “How do you give credit to that effort and have it be recognized? And I don’t know exactly how we do it. Do we do it within our own fan base? Do we do it within podcasts or whatnot? Whatever we’ve come up with so far pales in comparison to the accolades they deserve.”

It’s the fourth time since the inception of the men’s poll for the 1946-47 season that Kansas finished on top, though typically there would still be March Madness to play. The AP does not declare a national champion in the sport because of the tournament.

The final rankings were based on play through March 11, when the outbreak of the coronavirus brought the sport to a halt.

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.

“The voters who deemed us worthy to be one of the top five teams in the country and finish in the poll in the top three, we appreciate that,” Flyers coach Anthony Grant said. “Having that recognition hopefully is something — another thing that you can look back on and will be in the history books, that this team was able to accomplish a top-five ranking.”

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.

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

Associated Press final top 25

1. Kansas (63 first-place votes), 28-3, 1623 points (last week: 1)

2. Gonzaga (1), 31-2, 1547 (2)

3. Dayton (1), 29-2, 1505 (3)

4. Florida State, 26-5, 1381 (4)

5. Baylor, 26-4, 1337 (5)

6. San Diego State, 30-2, 1279 (6)

7. Creighton, 24-7, 1154 (7)

8. Kentucky, 25-6, 1118 (8)

9. Michigan State, 22-9, 1023 (9)

10. Villanova, 24-7, 1011 (11)

11. Duke, 25-6, 990 (10)

12. Maryland, 24-7, 924 (12)

13. Oregon, 24-7, 892 (13)

14. Louisville, 24-7, 768 (15)

15. Seton Hall, 21-9, 727 (16)

16. Virginia, 23-7, 586 (17)

17. Wisconsin, 21-10, 539 (18)

18. BYU, 24-8, 537 (14)

19. Ohio State, 21-10, 459 (19)

20. Auburn, 25-6, 453 (20)

21. Illinois, 21-10, 263 (21)

22. Houston, 23-8, 179 (22)

23. Butler, 22-9, 165 (24)

24. West Virginia, 21-10, 159 (22)

25. Iowa, 20-11, 109 (25)

Others receiving votes: Stephen F. Austin 78, ETSU 66, Providence 63, Michigan 62, Utah State 36, Saint Mary's (Cal) 33, Penn St. 21, Arizona 7, Rutgers 6, Richmond 6, Southern Cal 4, New Mexico State 4, Texas Tech 3, UCLA 2, Vermont 2, Purdue 1, Belmont 1, Liberty 1, Utah 1.