Top 45 countdown

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Picking out a No. 1 team in the country wasn’t easy, mainly because so many good teams lost last week.

Pittsburgh, Connecticut, North Carolina, Michigan State, Oklahoma … all of them went down.

Sure Louisville won the Big East tournament; but the Cardinals (who I was high on in the preseason) really only had to beat Villanova and exhausted Syracuse to collect their crown.

Over the course of the regular season, Pittsburgh was the nation’s best team. Yes, the Panthers lost at Louisville, and did not win either the Big East regular season or tournament.

But from beginning to end, the Panthers were without peer. And that’s why they finish the season No. 1 on my AP ballot, and Louisville is No. 2.

The full rundown plus 20 extra teams, one last time for this season

1. Pittsburgh
2. Louisville
3. North Carolina
4. Connecticut
5. Memphis
6. Duke
7. Michigan State
8. Oklahoma
9. Villanova
10. Missouri
11. Wake Forest
12. Gonzaga
13. Syracuse
14. Washington
15. Florida State
16. Kansas
17. Purdue
18. UCLA
19. Xavier
20. Arizona State
21. Ohio State
22. West Virginia
23. Clemson
24. Utah
25. Oklahoma State

26. Butler
27. Illinois
28. Brigham Young
29. Texas
30. Texas A&M
31. Marquette
32. California
33. Saint Mary’s
34. Dayton
35. Boston College
36. Maryland
37. Minnesota
38. Siena
39. VCU
40. Louisiana State
41. Wisconsin
42. San Diego State
43. Auburn
44. Arizona
45. Penn State

Patrick Stevens

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