Duke was one of five top-10 teams to lose last week and dropped to No. 8 in the rankings.

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 8

With conference play beginning, the final week of 2016 saw several top-25 teams fall and trimmed the list of remaining unbeatens to three.

Duke loses to Virginia Tech with Grayson Allen suspended

In their first game since Grayson Allen was indefinitely suspended for tripping an opponent, the No. 5 Blue Devils lost to Virginia Tech 89-75 Saturday. The Hokies dominated Duke from the opening tip, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead and holding a double-digit advantage throughout the second half. 

After struggling in wins against Tennessee State and Elon in the middle of December, the Blue Devils allowed the Hokies to shoot 55.2 percent from the floor and 61.5 percent from beyond the arc. Duke’s offense also faltered, as Luke Kennard—who finished with 34 points—and Jayson Tatum were the only Blue Devils to score in double digits.

With the loss, Duke dropped to No. 8. Virginia Tech entered the AP poll for the first time this season at No. 21.

A crazy New Year’s Eve for the rest of the ACC

Duke was not the only ranked ACC team to drop its conference opener. No. 9 North Carolina was upset by Georgia Tech Saturday 75-63, marking the first time since 1989 that top-10 Tar Heel and Blue Devil squads lost on the same day. Although North Carolina—which dropped to No. 14—kept the game close in the first half, the Tar Heels hit just 33.3 percent of their shots, allowing Georgia Tech to take control after the break.

No. 12 Virginia also fell to No. 20 Florida State 60-58 at home Saturday. The Cavaliers—who beat No. 6 Louisville 61-53 Wednesday—hit a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to take a one-point lead, but Seminole guard Dwayne Bacon quickly responded with a game-winning triple with two seconds left, giving Florida State its 10th straight victory. The shot capped a masterful performance for Bacon, who scored 26 points in the second half to help the Seminoles rally from a seven-point deficit. In the latest AP poll, the Seminoles moved up to No. 12, and Virginia dropped to No. 11.

Louisville bounced back from the loss to the Cavaliers, defeating No. 16 Indiana 77-62 Saturday. After shooting 27.3 percent against the Cavaliers, guard Donovan Mitchell scored a career-high 25 points against the Hoosiers, and the Cardinals shot a season-high 52.9 percent from the field. Despite the win, the Cardinals fell to No. 9 in this week’s rankings. The Hoosiers—who also lost at home to Nebraska Wednesday—fell all the way to No. 25.

Oregon edges UCLA with late game-winner

Thousands of miles away from the chaos around the ACC, Oregon’s come-from-behind 89-87 win against No. 2 UCLA Thursday may have been the highlight of last week. With the No. 21 Ducks down by a point, Bruin guard Bryce Alford missed the front end of a one-and-one before Oregon forward Dillon Brooks hit a pull-up 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Lonzo Ball with less than a second left to hand UCLA its first loss of the season.

Oregon led throughout the first thirty minutes until the Bruins used a 15-0 run to build an eight-point lead late in the second half. But Brooks—who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds—and Payton Pritchard guided the Ducks back in the final five minutes. 

Just two days later, Oregon knocked off another unbeaten at home, with Brooks scoring 28 points in an 84-61 rout of No. 22 USC. With the wins, the 12-2 Ducks rose to No. 15, UCLA dropped to No. 4 and the Trojans fell to No. 25.

The rest of the top five remains intact

Despite Duke's and UCLA's losses, Villanova and Baylor padded their resumes with impressive wins last week. Led by Jalen Brunson’s career-high 27 points, the No. 1 Wildcats overcame an early 10-point deficit to defeat No. 10 Creighton 80-70 Saturday. In a battle between two unbeaten squads, the game included nine lead changes and five ties before Villanova pulled away in the second half. With the victory, the defending national champions—who remained at No. 1—extended their NCAA-best winning streak to 20 games dating back to last year's NCAA tournament.

Baylor rose two spots to No. 2 after routing Oklahoma 76-50 Friday. The undefeated Bears took advantage of a depleted Sooner squad to at one point expand their lead to 34 points in the second half.

The final top-five team, Kansas, had more trouble in its conference opener. The Jayhawks—who remained at No. 3 and got leapfrogged by Baylor—overcame an early 10-point deficit to beat TCU 86-80. 

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