The Washington Times - April 7, 2009, 05:03PM

Well, the tough part is theoretically over, though at some point I’ll probably get the bright idea into my head that 6:30 a.m. flights the morning after the national title game isn’t such a smart move.

Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the fulfillment of a four-year push from North Carolina to reclaim the top spot in college basketball.

SEE RELATED:


The AP doesn’t do a final top 25, which is sort of interesting. Obviously, No. 1 gets decided on the court, though there’s a case to be made you can order everyone else in whatever order you please.

Typically, the final eight teams aren’t always the best eight in the country. But there’s a case to be made that it’s true this year; after all, how do you rank Memphis ahead of Missouri at this stage?

So before getting to next year – and that process is already well underway – here’s a final top 45 after taking into account postseason results (my final top 45 ranking in parentheses):

1. North Carolina (3)
2. Michigan State (7)
3. Connecticut (4)
4. Louisville (2)
5. Villanova (9)
6. Pittsburgh (1)
7. Oklahoma (8)
8. Missouri (10)
9. Memphis (5)
10. Kansas (16)
11. Duke (6)
12. Syracuse (13)
13. Gonzaga (12)
14. Xavier (19)
15. Purdue (17)
16. Washington (14)
17. Wake Forest (11)
18. Arizona State (20)
19. Florida State (15)
20. UCLA (18)
21. Oklahoma State (25)
22. Louisiana State (40)
23. Texas (29)
24. Dayton (34)
25. Marquette (31)

26. Siena (38)
27. Ohio State (21)
28. West Virginia (22)
29. Butler (26)
30. Texas A&M (30)
31. Illinois (27)
32. Clemson (23)
33. Maryland (36)
34. Arizona (44)
35. Utah (24)
36. Wisconsin (41)
37. Penn State (45)
38. Southern California (NR)
39. VCU (39)
40. Brigham Young (28)
41. California (32)
42. Michigan (NR)
43. Western Kentucky (NR)
44. Boston College (35)
45. Baylor (NR)

Patrick Stevens