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AP Top-25 Poll, Week 15: What latest rankings tells us about NCAA Tournament futures

The new AP Top 25 poll in men’s college basketball is out and we go over where the top contenders are ranked as well as where they sit on the national title odds board.

St. John’s v Marquette Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The new AP Top-25 poll for men’s college basketball was released on Monday and we’re beginning to hit the home stretch of the regular season as we dive into the middle of February.

There was some shakeup in the AP poll, but nothing too dramatic. College hoops took a backseat to the Super Bowl last week, so we didn’t really get many marquee matchups that significantly altered how voters slotted out the top 25. But were there any big picture changes as far as national championship odds are concerned? We’ll take a look below with all odds being provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Top contenders

The top-6 contenders in title odds are No. 1 UConn (+650), No. 2 Purdue (+750), No. 3 Houston (+950), No. 8 Tennessee (+1100), No. 5 Arizona (+1300), and No. 7 North Carolina (+1500).

Since last week, UConn jumped ahead of Purdue on the odds board and is once again the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament. The defending national champions currently have the nation’s longest win streak at 12 and barring a late-season swoon, they may remain the favorite well into March. However, both Purdue and Houston will remain on their heels as long as they continue to rack up wins in their respective conferences

No. 13 Auburn (+1800), No. 6 Kansas (+1800), and No. 15 Alabama (+2200) continue to occupy the space of being top contenders with value and joining that group this week is No. 4 Marquette (+2800). The Tyler Kolek-led Golden Eagles have been gradually creeping up the top 10 with its seven-game win streak and are currently the biggest threat to the Huskies at the top of the Big East standings. They have put together a pretty nice resume with five Quad 1 victories and metrics like KenPom back them up as a top 10 team. You can get really good value for Marquette right now as a tournament sleeper and its stock could rise if it goes on the road and knocks off UConn this Saturday.

AP poll risers

No. 10 Iowa State (+3000) and No. 11 South Carolina (+8000) both jumped up four spots from their ranking in last week’s AP poll and have remained a thorn in the side of other top teams in their respective conferences.

No. 21 Virginia (+10000) and No. 25 Oklahoma (+10000) were two of the four new teams in this week’s polls and remain in NCAA Tournament dark horse territory. After a shaky start in ACC play, the Cavaliers have rattled off eight straight wins and their snail’s pace tempo continues to be a pain for teams to deal with. The Sooners are also starting to turn things around after winning three of its last four contests. They have Baylor and Kansas this week, so this is a chance for them to move up the board.

AP poll fallers

No. 20 Wisconsin (+5000) is the biggest faller in this week’s poll, spiraling down nine spots with its current four-game losing streak. The Badgers are most likely still getting respect because of their six Quad 1 victories on the resume, but they will continue to fall if they can’t stop the bleeding.

No. 22 Kentucky (+2200) fell five spots this week and while they on still in the class of value on the odds board, they are in danger of falling onto the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. Dealing with injuries, the Cats have now lost thee of four games with Saturday’s loss to Gonzaga being the latest. They are 2-5 in Quad 1 games, so they’ll need to start rolling against quality opponents immediately.

Ranked mid-majors

This week’s ranked mid-majors are No. 16 Dayton (+8000), No. 18 Saint Mary’s (+7000), No. 23 Indiana State (+20000), and No. 24 Florida Atlantic (+6000) Saint Mary’s and Indiana State both jumped into the polls after being unranked last week and the Sycamores carry the distinction of being a true longshot to win the national championship. This is the first time they’ve been ranked in the top-25 since the Larry Bird season in 1978-79.