Duke dropped seven spots to No. 17 following last week's losses at Syracuse and Miami.

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 16

Duke's return to the top 10 lasted just one week, as the Blue Devils dropped two straight games on the road to go tumbling back down the rankings.

Roy Williams Stays the King

It was a great week to be a Tar Heel. No. 8 North Carolina clinched the top seed in the ACC tournament and at least a share of the ACC regular-season championship for the eighth time in 14 years by beating No. 7 Louisville 74-63 and blowing out Pittsburgh on the road 85-67. UNC was helped by Duke dropping two straight games on the road to Syracuse and Miami. The game against the Orange was a heartbreaker for the Blue Devils, as John Gillion banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give his team a 78-75 win. Duke's offense fell silent against the Hurricanes as well with Grayson Allen sidelined with a left ankle injury, only mustering 50 points in a five-point loss.

The rough week sent Duke down to No. 17 in the new poll, but North Carolina rose to No. 5 and looks well positioned to seize a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if it keeps winning.

Bobby Knight Can Rest Easy

There will be no unbeaten champion in college basketball this season, as No. 1 Gonzaga fell to Brigham Young Saturday night 79-71. The Bulldogs had made it to the final game of the regular season with an unblemished record and appeared poised for another easy win on Senior Night, jumping out to an 18-2 lead, but the Cougars had other ideas. Sophomore forward Eric Mika poured in 29 points to help Brigham Young knock off Gonzaga on the road for the third consecutive year. Bulldog point guard Nigel Williams-Goss had a rare inefficient night, going 7-of-17 from the field and turning the ball over four times.

The loss meant Gonzaga dropped to No. 4 in the AP poll and will probably need to win the West Coast Conference tournament in order to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Death, Taxes and Bill Self winning the Big 12

No. 3 Kansas wrapped up its 13th straight Big 12 regular-season title this weekend with a convincing 77-67 win at Texas. Freshman Josh Jackson notched 18 points and National Player of the Year frontrunner Frank Mason added 16 to pace the Jayhawks. Kansas has now tied UCLA for the longest streak of consecutive regular-season conference championships in college basketball history. The Jayhawks wrapped up a historic week by rising to No. 1 for the first time this season thanks to losses by Gonzaga and Villanova.

The Jayhawks were aided in the conference race by the total collapse of No. 11 Baylor, which has been in a free fall lately, dropping three of its last four games. The Bears lost at Iowa State 72-69 Saturday, largely erasing any chances they had at a top seed. Deonte Burton scored 22 points to essentially lock the Cyclones into the NCAA tournament field.

Pac-12 Showdown

Coming into the week, the Pac-12 had three teams ranked Nos 4, 5 and 6 in the AP Poll in Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. The Wildcats and Bruins met Saturday in what was a clash of the two most accomplished programs on the West Coast. UCLA triumphed 77-72 in a hostile road environment, as freshman sensation Lonzo Ball filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Arizona star Allonzo Trier did his best to keep his team in the game, scoring 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting, but it was to no avail.

The Bruins avenged an earlier loss to the Wildcats this season and set the stage for a dramatic finish to the Pac-12 regular season, as Oregon and Arizona are now tied for first place with just a few games remaining. The Bruins also rose to No. 3 in this week’s rankings, and the Wildcats fell to No. 7.

Nobody Wants to Win the Big Ten

The top two teams in the Big Ten have run into problems lately, losing several games this week and lending credence to the theory that the Big Ten is weak this year. No. 16 Wisconsin dropped back-to-back games at Ohio State and Michigan State, with star big man Ethan Happ only combining for 12 points in the two games. The other Badgers were unable to take advantage of their opportunities, as Bronson Koening’s scoring was not enough to carry them to victory.

No. 14 Purdue had its own set of troubles this week, losing at Michigan 82-70 as the Wolverines were carried by 22 points in the first half from Moritz Wagner. Player of the Year contender Caleb Swanigan scored 18 but also committed five turnovers and only grabbed five rebounds for the Boilermakers.

The losses have created a logjam at the top of the league, as Purdue holds a one-game lead ahead of Wisconsin with Minnesota, Maryland and Michigan State all still within striking distance at two games back. The Boilermakers dropped to No. 16 in this week’s poll, while Wisconsin tumbled all the way to No. 22.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Chronicle.