AP Poll Rank Trend for Eventual Champions

Most of the past NCAA Tournament champions were ranked in the top 12 of the AP poll 7 weeks before the first week of the tournament.  Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only 5 out of 33 eventual champions were not ranked so.  And if we ignore the first four crazy years, only 2 of the last 29 champions were not in the top 12 seven weeks before the tournament.

The following table shows the AP Poll rank for the championship team each week leading up to the post-season.

Year Champ T-7 T-6 T-5 T-4 T-3 T-2 T-1
2017 North Carolina 9 12 8 10 8 5 6
2016 Villanova 6 3 1 1 1 3 3
2015 Duke 4 4 4 4 4 3 2
2014 Connecticut NR 22 24 21 NR 19 21
2013 Louisville 12 11 12 10 10 8 4
2012 Kentucky 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2011 Connecticut 5 6 10 13 14 16 21
2010 Duke 8 10 8 6 5 4 4
2009 North Carolina 5 3 3 3 4 2 1
2008 Kansas 2 4 3 4 6 5 4
2007 Florida 1 1 1 1 3 5 6
2006 Florida 5 8 7 10 12 17 11
2005 North Carolina 3 2 2 4 2 2 2
2004 Connecticut 6 5 5 8 8 7 9
2003 Syracuse 24 19 17 15 15 12 11
2002 Maryland 3 3 3 3 2 2 4
2001 Duke 2 2 3 3 4 2 3
2000 Michigan State 8 6 6 5 7 5 2
1999 Connecticut 2 2 1 2 2 4 3
1998 Kentucky 7 7 8 7 8 7 7
1997 Arizona 11 10 14 11 13 15 12
1996 Kentucky 2 2 2 2 2 1 1
1995 UCLA 4 7 6 6 2 1 1
1994 Arkansas 5 6 3 1 1 1 1
1993 North Carolina 3 6 6 3 3 1 1
1992 Duke 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1991 Duke 9 7 6 5 7 8 6
1990 UNLV 5 12 9 7 4 2 3
1989 Michigan 10 11 10 13 13 10 8
1988 Kansas NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
1987 Indiana 3 4 2 2 2 3 4
1986 Louisville 13 18 16 19 16 13 11
1985 Villanova 14 18 19 16 NR NR NR