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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke still No. 1, Notre Dame falls to No. 9

Marvin Bagley III and Duke kept the top spot after remaining undefeated.
Marvin Bagley III and Duke kept the top spot after remaining undefeated.

A week highlighted by the Big Ten-ACC challenge has some reshuffling in this week’s AP Poll.

Blue Devils remain in pole position

A Marvin Bagley III-led Duke squad stayed at No. 1 after moving to 10-0 this week with a 91-81 road victory against Indiana at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind. and a 96-80 triumph at home against South Dakota Saturday. Bagley has notched a double-double in five consecutive contests, and has continued to show improvement in his free-throw shooting, upping his season clip to 61.2 percent. The immensely talented Blue Devils should remain unbeaten entering conference play, with St. Francis and Evansville as its remaining non-ACC opponents before they travel to Boston College Saturday. 

Notre Dame struggles

An impressive 67-66 win against then-No. 6 Wichita State in the Maui Invitational propelled the Fighting Irish to a top five ranking in the AP Poll last week. After an unimpressive 81-63 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Michigan State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, Notre Dame falls to the No. 9 spot this week. Senior forward Bonzie Colson limped to a paltry 31.6 field goal percentage in the matchup against the Spartans. Despite his poor play, Colson heads a formidable Fighting Irish squad alongside guards Matt Farrell and T.J. Gibbs.

Xavier flies high

After knocking off two previously undefeated teams—then-No. 16 Baylor and then-No. 11 Cincinnati—the Musketeers rose all the way to No. 13 from their previous No. 21 ranking. The squad’s duo of senior guards in Trevor Bluiett and J.P. Macura gave both the Bears and Bearcats' defenses headaches, combining for 64 points in the pair of wins. Perhaps the most riveting part of the shootout against Cincinnati came when Bearcat head coach Mick Cronin had to be restrained after exchanging words with Macura following the game.

Southern California plummets

Returning their three leading scorers from a 26-wins 2016-17 team, the Trojans opened the year as a top-10 team. After falling to Texas A&M on Nov. 26, USC failed to emerge victorious yet again in a 72-56 defeat at the hands of SMU. The star trio of Chimezie Metu, Bennie Boatwright and Jordan McLaughlin, who averaged a combined 47.76 points per contest on the season entering the matchup against unranked SMU, mustered up a mere 30 total points in Wednesday’s game in Dallas. This poor performance caused the Trojans to free fall from No. 14 to No. 25. 



1. Duke

2. Kansas

3. Michigan State

4. Villanova

5. Florida

6. Wichita State

7. Texas A&M

8. Kentucky

9. Notre Dame

10. Miami

11. North Carolina

12. Gonzaga 

13. Xavier

14. Minnesota

15. Virginia

16. Arizona State

17. Cincinnati 

18. West Virginia

19. Seton Hall

20. TCU

21. Purdue

22. Nevada

23. Baylor

24. Tennessee 

25. Southern California. 


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