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College Basketball

Finishing what they started

Blue Devils end regular season at No. 1 for third time

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Posted: Tuesday March 09, 1999 12:59 AM

  Mike Krzyzewski and the ACC-winning Blue Devils are on top, where everyone agrees they should be. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Duke finished first in the season's final Associated Press college basketball poll Monday -- the third time the school has entered the NCAA Tournament at No. 1, and the first two went pretty well.

The Blue Devils were No. 1 in the final poll of 1986, when they lost in the championship game to Louisville, and 1992, the year they repeated as national champions.

The top seed in the East Regional and winners of 27 straight, the Blue Devils (32-1) received 69 of 70 first-place votes and 1,749 points from the nationwide media panel.

Michigan State, Connecticut and Auburn, the other top seeds in the NCAA Tournament, held second through fourth in the final voting of the season.

Duke and Connecticut were the only teams to hold the No. 1 ranking this season. The Blue Devils were No. 1 in the preseason poll and first two weeks of the season. The Huskies were on top for the next 10 weeks, then Duke was there the last five polls of the season.

Forty-three teams from 11 conferences were ranked during the season. The Big Ten led the way with seven, all of which made the NCAA Tournament. The seven were all in the same poll for two weeks, tying the record for a conference. The Big East, Pac-10, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 each had five teams ranked during the season.

Michigan State (29-4), the top seed in the Midwest, received the other No. 1 vote and 1,654 points, 19 more than Connecticut (28-2), the top seed in the West.

Auburn (27-3), the top seed in the South, was followed in the Top 10 by Maryland, Utah, Stanford, Kentucky, St. John's and Miami.

Cincinnati dropped four spots to No. 11 and was followed by Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio State, UCLA, College of Charleston, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Indiana and Tennessee.

The last five ranked teams were Iowa, Kansas, Florida, North Carolina Charlotte and New Mexico.

Kansas, the Big 12 champions, moved back into the rankings after a three-week absence, while North Carolina Charlotte, the Conference USA champions, entered the Top 25 for the first time this season. The 49ers were ranked for three weeks last season.

Minnesota and Missouri, which both lost their opening conference tournament games last week, dropped out from 23rd and 24th, respectively.

Twelve teams were ranked every week this season, including North Carolina, which has the longest consecutive streak. The Tar Heels have been in every poll since the preseason voting in the 1990-91 season, a streak two weeks longer than Kentucky's.

The highest-ranked team among the eight from the preseason poll that weren't ranked at season's end was Temple, which was seventh. None of the other Atlantic 10 teams in the preseason poll -- Xavier, Rhode Island and Massachusetts -- were in the final Top 25.

Three teams not in the preseason poll finished in the Top 10 -- Auburn, St. John's and Miami.

Four teams -- California, Louisville, Texas and North Carolina Charlotte -- were one-week wonders.

Related information
SI's Seth Davis: Tourney talk
Dancin' with the Devils: Can anyone stop Duke?
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