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Kansas finishes No. 1 in final AP poll; Gonzaga, Dayton next

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas coach Bill Self has spent much of the past week mulling ways to commemorate one of the more remarkable seasons in the school’s proud basketball history, one that began with off-the-court distractions too numerous to count and ended in the unprecedented cancellation of the NCAA Tournament.

The Jayhawks can start by celebrating their finish atop the final Top 25 from The Associated Press.

The regular-season Big 12 champions, who were 28-3 when the season abruptly ended after the first day of the conference tournament last week, received 63 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel in balloting released Wednesday. That easily outdistanced No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Dayton, each of which received a first-place vote.

“Nobody in America had better season than we did,” Self said. “How do you give credit to that effort and have it be recognized? And I don’t know exactly how we do it. Do we do it within our own fan base? Do we do it within podcasts or whatnot? Whatever we’ve come up with so far pales in comparison to the accolades they deserve.”

It’s the fourth time since the inception of the men’s poll for the 1946-47 season that Kansas finished on top, though typically there would still be March Madness to play. The AP does not declare a national champion in the sport because of the tournament.

The final rankings were based on play through March 11, when the outbreak of the coronavirus brought the sport to a halt.

The Jayhawks claim five national championships, the most recent in 2008 after they beat Memphis in the NCAA Tournament title game.