Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Four of the top seven teams in the final CBS Sports college basketball power rankings of the 2023-24 season are in the NCAA Tournament's East Region. UConn reclaimed the top spot after winning the Big East Tournament, and several other conference tournament champions are also represented this week.

Among them is No. 3 Iowa State, which jumped five spots following an impressive tear through the Big 12 Tournament. The Cyclones may have been disrespected by the selection committee by landing at No. 8 on the overall seed list. But there certainly aren't seven teams in college basketball that could have defeated ISU with the way it played against Houston in the conference tournament championship game.

Illinois and Auburn are also surging this week after winning their respective conference tournaments. The Illini are a wagon offensively and seem to have a firm grasp of their identity, which revolves around dynamic scorers Terrence Shannon Jr. and Marcus Domask. Auburn is one of the nation's deepest teams and beat three NCAA Tournament teams on its way to the SEC Tournament title.

It's not March without brackets. Get your bracket pools ready now and join our men's and women's challenges for the chance to win big-time prizes! 

Power rankings are meant to be more sensitive to recent outcomes than a typical full-season assessment would. They are as much about who is playing well now as opposed to who was playing well two months ago and has merely been surviving since. Thus, teams who survived the gauntlet of their league tournaments are well-represented here.

With that, here are the last CBS Sports power rankings of the 2023-24 season.

College basketball power rankings

UConn heads to the NCAA Tournament as the reigning champion, and this year's squad is playing even better than last year's team was entering the dance. The Huskies have won 21 of their past 22 games to establish themselves as a serious threat to become the sport's first repeat champion since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Last week: 2
This team has only been defeated in regulation twice all season, and it may have been a blessing in disguise that Purdue lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. Instead of overextending themselves to try and repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions, the Boilermakers got an extra day of rest to prepare for the tournament which matters most. Last week: 3
Iowa State's lowest margin of victory in a tear through the Big 12 Tournament was 16 points as the Cyclones crushed Kansas State, Baylor and Houston while proving their suffocating style translates to neutral-court environments. No one did more during championship week to legitimize themselves as a Final Four contender than ISU. Last week: 8
Houston relinquished its claim to the No. 1 spot with a 28-point loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament title game. But let's not overreact too much. The Cougars crushed TCU and Texas Tech — both NCAA Tournament teams — in their first two games of the event. Last week: 1
Illinois never rose higher than No. 9 in the AP poll during the regular season but is playing some of its best basketball at the right time after winning the Big Ten Tournament. The Illini have made early exits from the last three NCAA Tournaments but are one of the nation's most-experienced teams and have the offensive playmaking to make a run with Terrence Shannon Jr. and Marcus Domask. Last week: 10
North Carolina certainly would have preferred to hoist the ACC Tournament trophy. But NC State needed it significantly more. The Tar Heels are entering the Big Dance with eight wins in their last nine games, including a road win over Duke to close the regular season. Last week: 10
Auburn rediscovered its mojo over the last couple weeks following a stretch of three losses in five games to close February. The SEC Tournament champions are deep and play a chaotic style that will make them a fun watch for fans who haven't seem them yet. Last week: 17
Creighton ran into a desperate Providence team in its Big East Tournament opener. Don't let that distract you from the fact that the Bluejays won seven of eight to close the regular season. This is the only team that has defeated UConn in 2024. Last week: 7
Kentucky ran into a hot Texas A&M team in its first SEC Tournament game. But the Wildcats won seven of eight to close the regular season and have the offensive firepower needed to make the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 2019. Last week: 6
Marquette reached the Big East Tournament title game without star point guard Tyler Kolek, who was withheld due to an oblique injury. The Golden Eagles should have him back for the Big Dance and will be motivated to make a run after losing in last year's second round. Last week: 9
Tennessee played its worst game of the season in an SEC Tournament quarterfinal loss to Mississippi State. Between that clunker and a home defeat against Kentucky to close the regular season, the Volunteers and Rick Barnes are already living up to their reputation as shaky March performers. Last week: 5
New Mexico needed a good week at the Mountain West Tournament to secure its spot in the NCAA Tournament. It had the best week possible, winning four games in four days to earn an automatic bid. The Lobos deserved better than the No. 11 seed they received for the Big Dance. Last week: NR
Trust Arizona at your own peril. The Wildcats have lost two of three and have repeatedly shown a penchant for playing down to inferior opposition. The Wildcats rate highly in advanced metrics and would be a great pick in a best-of-7 series with almost anyone. But that's not what the NCAA Tournament is. Last week: 12
Florida beat fellow NCAA Tournament teams Alabama and Texas A&M before falling to Auburn in the SEC Tournament Championship. The Gators lost starting center Micah Handlogten to injury in that game but have a well-rounded roster that has steadily improved as the season has progressed. Last week: NR
Duke is backing into the NCAA Tournament after consecutive losses to North Carolina and NC State. The Blue Devils should be embarrassed at those performances and amped up to make a run after last year's team fizzled out in the second round. Last week: 11
Wins over UNLV and Utah State in the Mountain West Tournament suggest San Diego State is moving in the right direction as it returns to the Big Dance after making it to the Final Four last season. The Aztecs are a mean defensive team with a great veteran nucleus. Last week: 16
Nevada went one-and-done in the Mountain West Tournament, but the Wolf Pack won 10 of their final 11 regular season games and face a favorable matchup against No. 7 seed Dayton in the first round. Last week: 15
Saint Mary's has won 18 of its last 19 games after taking out Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament title game. The Gaels haven't reached the Sweet 16 since 2010 but did win first round games by double-digits each of the past two seasons. Last week: 18
It was just three years ago that Oregon State used a Pac-12 Tournament title as the springboard for an Elite Eight run. Oregon has visions of pulling off something similar after beating UCLA, Arizona and Colorado last week to hoist the final Pac-12 Tournament trophy and clinch its spot in the Big Dance. Last week: NR
Power rankings are largely about what you've accomplished recently. After winning five games in five days to take the ACC Tournament title, the Wolfpack have done a lot lately. Who knows if they can replicate that magic in the Big Dance, but this isn't a team you want to face right now. Last week: NR