Almost a week after college basketball shut down for the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out the entire NCAA Tournament, Kansas finished Wednesday as the nation’s No. 1 team in the Associated Press top 25.
But the Jayhawks and coach Bill Self would not declare themselves champions even though they captured 63 of the 65 first-place votes from a panel of media members.
“That’s not the way this is all intended to be,” Self told the AP. “Coaches prepare their teams to peak at certain times. I’m proud of how our team prepared all season, but especially at the end of the season, we were terrific. We operated under some pressure and dealt with some stuff.
“From our standpoint, sure, that would be great, but even if that were to occur, there would be a huge asterisk next to it, and I would agree with that.”
Kansas has won five national championships, the most recent being in 2008. In a normal year, the final AP poll of the season would be released the day after Selection Sunday, with the national champion decided in the NCAA Tournament.
Villanova, which handed the Jayhawks one of their three defeats this season, ended up as the nation’s No. 10 team. The Wildcats, whose last game was a win at Georgetown on March 7, finished 24-7 and tied for the Big East regular-season championship.
Gonzaga and Dayton split the remaining two first-place votes and finished second and third, respectively. Florida State took fourth place with Baylor fifth. The remainder of the top 10 had San Diego State in sixth, followed by Creighton, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Villanova.
Duke wound up 11th, only the second time since 2007 that the Blue Devils finished out of the top 10. Seton Hall, which tied with Villanova and Creighton for the Big East title, was 15th.
Penn State and Rutgers received votes but finished outside the top 25.
The final college basketball games took place on March 11. The next day, one by one, conferences announced the cancellation of their postseason tournaments, although the Big East played one half of its opening game before stopping for good. Hours later, the NCAA canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.