Big Ten states its case with seven teams in the Top 25

Michigan coach John Beilein addresses the media at the NCAA Final Four.

Is the Big Ten regaining its swagger in NCAA Division I men’s basketball?

Led by undefeated Michigan, the Big Ten leads all conferences with seven teams in this week’s edition of the Associated Press Top 25, according to the poll released on Monday.

Michigan, an NCAA Tournament finalist last year, moved up one spot to fourth. Michigan State dropped one place to 10th.

Others from the Big Ten in the seventh installment of the Top 25 include Ohio State (15), Wisconsin (16th), Indiana (22), Iowa (23) and Nebraska (25).

The ACC has five teams in, including Duke (2), Virginia (5), North Carolina (9), Florida State (11) and Virginia Tech (13).

Last year, the Big Ten’s image took a blow when only four of its teams reached the field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament.

It was the lowest total for the conference since 2008.

In addition, only two Big Ten schools — Michigan and Purdue — reached the Sweet 16.

Michigan helped the conference save face when it stormed through the West as the No. 3 seed to reach the Final Four in San Antonio.

At the Alamodome, Michigan knocked off Loyola-Chicago to reach the championship game, where it was throttled 79-62 by Villanova.

AP Top 25
1. Kansas 9-0 Big 12
2. Duke 9-1 ACC
3. Tennessee 8-1 SEC
4. Michigan 11-0 Big Ten
5. Virginia 9-0 ACC
6. Nevada 11-0 Mountain West
7. Auburn 9-1 SEC
8. Gonzaga 9-2 West Coast
9. North Carolina 8-2 ACC
10. Michigan State 9-2 Big Ten
11. Florida State 8-1 ACC
12. Texas Tech 10-0 Big 12
13. Virginia Tech 9-1 ACC
14. Buffalo 10-0 Mid-American
15. Ohio State 9-1 Big Ten
16. Wisconsin 9-2 Big Ten
17. Mississippi State 9-1 SEC
18. Arizona State 8-1 Pac 12
19. Kentucky 8-2 SEC
20. Marquette 8-2 Big East
21. Houston 10-0 American
22. Indiana 9-2 Big Ten
23. Iowa 8-2 Big Ten
24. Furman 12-0 Southern
25. Nebraska 9-2 Big Ten

How good is No. 6 Gonzaga? See for yourself tonight

How good is Gonzaga?

The question seems to blow in this time of year as predictably as a cold front out of Canada invading the northeastern reaches of Washington state.

As of Monday morning, the Zags are No. 6 in the nation according to the just-released Associated Top 25 poll.

But, as usual, opinions vary.

Jerry Palm of cbssports.com projects that Spokane, Washingon-based Gonzaga will receive only a No. 5 regional seed when the NCAA tournament bracket is released Sunday.

Meaning, that, in the eyes of the stat-crunchers, the national finalists from last year may only be the 17th- to 20th-best team in the nation.

If you’re curious about the disparity, one idea is to tune in to ESPN at 8 tonight.

That’s when the network is scheduled to air Gonzaga-San Francisco in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament.

The other WCC semifinal also is interesting.

It’s 20th-ranked Saint Mary’s against BYU, set to air at 10:30 p.m. on the four-letter network.

Palm projects Saint Mary’s, from Moraga, California, as a No. 9 regional seed.

Once again, it’s a suggestion that the WCC is either vastly overrated or underrated.

With the WCC semis tonight and the finals on Tuesday, it’s time to see for ourselves, I guess.

AP Top 25
March 5, 2018

1. Virginia 28-2 ACC
2. Villanova 27-4 Big East
3. Xavier 27-4 Big East
4. Michigan State 29-4 Big Ten
5. Duke 25-6 ACC
6. Gonzaga 28-4 West Coast
7. Michigan 28-7 Big Ten
8. Cincinnati 27-4 American
9. Kansas 24-7 Big 12
10. Purdue 28-6 Big Ten
11. Wichita State 24-6 American
12. North Carolina 22-9 ACC
13. Tennessee 23-7 SEC
14. Texas Tech 23-8 Big 12
15. Arizona 24-7 Pac-12
16. Auburn 25-6 SEC
17. Ohio State 24-8 Big Ten
18. West Virginia 22-9 Big 12
19. Clemson 22-8 ACC
20. Saint Mary’s 28-4 West Coast
21. Houston 24-6 American
22. Nevada 26-6 Mountain Wesst
23. Florida 20-11 SEC
24. Miami (Fla.) 22-8 ACC
25. Rhode Island 23-6 Atlantic 10