Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Saint Mary's and FAU each began the season ranked in the AP Top 25 poll and picked to win their conferences before trending downward amid uneven nonconference runs. Now, with Selection Sunday approaching, the mid-major darlings appear to be finding their form at the right time with a chance to make good on their lofty preseason expectations. Both are finally back in the Power Rankings this week after multi-week absences.

FAU suffered a stunning Quad 4 home loss to Bryant on Nov. 18 and fell at Florida Gulf Coast in another head scratcher on Dec. 30. The Owls, who were projected to win the AAC during their first season in the league, wound up coming in second behind South Florida, which won the conference by two games in its first season under coach Amir Abdur-Rahim.

But coach Dusty May's club is entering the AAC Tournament as a projected No. 8 seed for the Big Dance in Jerry Palm's Bracketology after reaching the Final Four as a No. 9 seed last season. The Owls capped off their regular season with a big win over a desperate Memphis team and have the experience needed to be a threat this month.

Saint Mary's is a projected No. 7 seed for the NCAA Tournament after winning the WCC Tournament title game over Gonzaga on Tuesday for their 18th win in their last 19 games. It has been a remarkable recovery for a team that began 3-5. After stacking wins in the WCC and winning its series with Gonzaga 2-1, the Gaels are trending firmly in the right direction.

With that, here are the final CBS Sports Power Rankings of the regular season.

College basketball power rankings

Houston capped the regular season with a 30-point beatdown of Kansas. It was an authoritative close to a stunning debut campaign in the Big 12 for the Cougars, who enter the postseason having won 14 of their last 15 games. Last week: 1
It looked like UConn was in trouble early at Providence on Saturday. Then, the Huskies turned on the jets and blew out the Friars just like they've blown out many of their Big East opponents. The Huskies have won 18 of their last 19. Last week: 2
Purdue ranks second nationally in 3-point shooting percentage at 41.1% entering the postseason after ranking 291st at 32.2% last season. It's the easiest way to explain why these Boilermakers, who have won 14 of their last 15, are positioned for redemption after a stunning loss to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson in last year's Big Dance. Last week: 3
North Carolina clinched the outright ACC title in sterling fashion by winning 84-79 at Duke to deny the Blue Devils a share of the crown. The Tar Heels have won six in a row entering the postseason and have developed a nice supporting cast around veteran stars RJ Davis and Armando Bacot. Last week: 6
The emotion of pregame senior day festivities proved a hindrance for the Volunteers in their 85-81 loss to Kentucky on Saturday. But the Vols won the SEC outright and remain firmly in the hunt to claim the fourth No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Last week: 4
An 85-81 win at Tennessee offered another example of Kentucky's Final Four potential. But believing in the Wildcats to be postseason warriors means believing in an extraordinarily young team that has been spotty defensively. It's a volatile proposition. Last week: 6
Creighton has won seven of eight games entering the postseason and also inked coach Greg McDermott to a contract extension. Things are going well for the Bluejays, who were a heartbreaking finish away from reaching last year's Final Four. Last week: 10
Iowa State fell to 6-7 in games away from Hilton Coliseum with a 65-58 loss at Kansas State on Saturday. The Cyclones won't be playing in Ames, Iowa during the postseason but need to figure out a way to bring the Hilton Magic with them. Last week: 5
Marquette secured a needed victory at Xavier on Saturday to close the regular season. So long as star guard Tyler Kolek is healthy by the NCAA Tournament after missing three games with an oblique injury, the Golden Eagles will be a threat to reach the second weekend. Last week: 12
Is Illinois good enough defensively to win a national title? Probably not. But are the Illini good offensively to reach a Final Four? Absolutely. Marcus Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr. are two vastly different but extremely savvy scoring wings who present major matchup problems for most opponents. Last week: 15
Duke lost at home to bitter rival North Carolina with a share of the ACC title at stake. Entering the postseason on such a bitter note ought to motivate the Blue Devils, who would face UNC in the ACC Tournament title game on Saturday if the bracket plays out according to plan. Last week: 8
Arizona's maddening ability to play down to the level of an inferior opponent surfaced again Saturday in a 78-65 loss at USC. The Wildcats had already clinched the Pac-12 title, but it was a concerning performance for a team in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Last week: 7
BYU gets a higher percentage of its points from beyond the arc (41.1%) than any other team that will be in the NCAA Tournament. The let-it-fly style carried the Cougars to an impressive 10-8 mark during their inaugural Big 12 campaign and will make them a boom-or-bust team in the Big Dance. Last week: 14
Baylor has hovered between No. 6 and No. 20 in the AP poll for the entire season as it has alternated between losing streaks and winning streaks. The Bears have the talent to make a run and have put together some impressive stretches at times. Last week: 11
Nevada has won 10 of its last 11 in the rugged Mountain West after beginning league play 3-4. The Wolf Pack are exactly the type of experienced squad that could make noise in the NCAA Tournament. Last week: 17
Utah State is entering the Mountain West Tournament on a five-game winning streak after beating New Mexico on Saturday to claim the outright conference title. First-year coach Danny Sprinkle has done incredible work with the roster he cobbled together. Last week: 19
Auburn has won three straight games by double digits entering the postseason, but it wasn't exactly the stiffest competition. The question is whether the Tigers can stack wins against quality foes after building their resume largely with blowout wins against inferior teams. Last week: 20
Saint Mary's has won 18 of its last 19 games after topping Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament title game on Tuesday. The Gaels have won NCAA Tournament games each of the past two seasons and have established themselves as one of the top mid-major teams yet again. Last week: NR
Colorado's NCAA Tournament fate is still unclear, but the Buffs are on a six-game winning streak entering the postseason. If this squad makes it to the Big Dance, it will punch above the weight of its seeding. Last week: NR
It wasn't always pretty, but an FAU team saddled with unfairly high preseason expectations because of last year's Final Four run closed out the regular season at 24-7 (14-4 AAC). The Owls are seemingly a lock for the NCAA Tournament and will be a gnarly test because of their experience. Last week: NR