Top 5! Virginia in NCAA Polls, Rankings, and Bracketology: 3/3 Update

Rich Barnes

All aboard the Wahoo bandwagon!

In case you missed it, UVA beat Syracuse on Saturday.  So, that was fun.  And it seems it also allowed some media types to finally appreciate that the Wahoos have just one loss in 2014.  Virginia surged in the polls, moving to #5 in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll.  That's the highest ranking since the first week of 2002, and the highest in March since way back in 1983.

Looking at the AP Poll, the top 3 was unchanged from last week, as Florida, Arizona, and Wichita State remained on top. Syracuse's loss shifted Duke up to the #4 spot. And Virginia moved all the way from #12 to #5.  There was plenty of carnage in front, as 6 of 8 teams between 4 and 11 dropped a game.  Villanova is #6, followed up Syracuse, Kansas, Wisconsin, and San Diego State. Jumping Nova, who took care of business this week, as well as both Cuse and Kansas is as good as UVA fans could've hoped for.

UNC joins the ACC party at #14.  SMU, the neutral court UVA win that opposing fans love to ignore, moved up to #18.  VCU, Green Bay, and Pitt all received votes as well.

The computers have known that UVA is very good all along.  Various systems agree: Virginia is a top-10 team, and perhaps a top-5 team in the nation:

KenPom: #2 (!!!) (29th in adj. offense, 3rd in adj. defense, 33rd in SOS)

Sagarin: #7

LRMC: #10

BPI: #7 (74th in SOS)

Massey: #5 (2nd in Power Ratings. 123rd in offense, 1st in defense, 10th in SOS).

RPI: #10 (25th in SOS)

Pretty soon, most of these nice rankings will cease to matter (not that they actually matter now).  The only one that will be taken into account in also perhaps the least accurate one, RPI, which the Selection Committee will weigh heavily in selecting the March Madness field.

The Bracket Matrix, which combines 60+ projections together, is probably the best way we have to predict seeding.  However, it tends to lag (since it inevitably incorporates older brackets) and hasn't updated at all since Saturday. Before the Syracuse game, UVA was projected as a 3 seed. And while we are still awaiting a full update, its components look to have the Hoos at either 2 or 3.

Joe Lunardi predicts that Virginia will join Duke and Syracuse as 2 seeds. Jerry Palm has the Hoos at #3.  And our own SBNation bracketologist has UVA at #3 as well.

Overall, it seems likely that UVA will be a 3 seed or better unless it falls at Maryland and drops its first-round ACC game.  A strong finish looks like it could lead to a 2 seed....and a 1 seed is not even out of the question. It looks like Florida, Arizona, and Wichita State are locked into the top line (unless WSU loses in the MVC tournament).  After that, Syracuse and Kansas have the inside track, but if the Hoos are able to win the ACC Tournament, it should be enough to join the group. How cool is that?!

Here's the full AP Poll:

AP Top 25

RK TEAM RECORD PTS PREV
1 Florida Gators (46) 27-2 1606 1
2 Wichita St. Shockers 31-0 1555 2
3 Arizona Wildcats (5) 27-2 1514 3
4 Duke Blue Devils 23-6 1364 6
5 Virginia Cavaliers 25-5 1304 12
6 Villanova Wildcats 26-3 1292 8
7 Syracuse Orange 26-3 1240 4
8 Kansas Jayhawks 22-7 1200 5
9 Wisconsin Badgers 24-5 1075 14
10 San Diego St. Aztecs 25-3 995 13
11 Louisville Cardinals 24-5 959 7
12 Michigan Wolverines 21-7 899 16
13 Creighton Bluejays 23-5 892 9
14 North Carolina Tar Heels 22-7 755 19
15 Cincinnati Bearcats 24-5 737 11
16 Iowa St. Cyclones 22-6 613 15
17 Saint Louis Billikens 25-4 539 10
18 SMU Mustangs 23-6 427 23
19 Connecticut Huskies 23-6 423 NR
20 Memphis Tigers 22-7 364 21
21 New Mexico Lobos 23-5 338 25
22 Michigan St. Spartans 22-7 322 18
23 Oklahoma Sooners 21-8 183 NR
24 Iowa Hawkeyes 20-9 94 20
25 Kentucky Wildcats 21-8 92 17

Others receiving votes: Texas 70, Virginia Commonwealth 58, UCLA 45, Stephen F. Austin 38, Gonzaga 38, Kansas State 19, Saint Joseph's 19, Ohio State 17, Green Bay 13, Harvard 7, Massachusetts 5, Arizona State 5, Pittsburgh 2, Colorado 2, Xavier 2, North Carolina Central 1, Southern Miss 1, Oklahoma State 1

Dropped from rankings: Ohio State 22, Texas 24

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