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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke falls to No. 9, UNC drops to No. 21

St. John's shocked Duval and Duke, sending them down the rankings.
St. John's shocked Duval and Duke, sending them down the rankings.

With the Blue Devils falling to an unranked side for the third time this season, there was more moving and shaking at the top of the polls this week. But what other teams struggled in the teeth of conference play?

Top 10 tumult

Duke's loss to St. John's might have been the most shocking of the weekend with the Red Storm snapping an 11-game losing streak and sending the Blue Devils down to No. 9. One could argue, however, that Kansas' home defeat to Oklahoma State might have been more surprising. The Jayhawks now move to No. 10 after dropping a third contest at Phog Allen Fieldhouse this season—something that hasn't happened since the turn of the century.

And late Saturday night, the Pac-12 added some extra drama when unranked Washington knocked off Arizona. The now-No. 13 Wildcats' star rookie DeAndre Ayton swatted what would have been a game-winning layup before it wound up right in the hands of Huskie forward Dominic Green, who drilled a triple just before the buzzer for a 78-75 victory.

Carolina blues

After a rough two-game patch last week, the Tar Heels' struggles continued early in the week at Clemson. The now-No. 16 Tigers picked up a crucial home win after they were unable to snap a lengthy losing streak in Chapel Hill a few weeks back, taking down now-No. 21 North Carolina 82-78. 

The Tar Heels did end their skid with a rout of Pittsburgh Saturday evening, setting up an ever-critical Tobacco Road rivalry contest Thursday night. With a win against Duke, North Carolina could stay in the mix for a double-bye at next month's ACC tournament.

Cheaper by the dozen

It was another wild weekend in the Big 12 outside of Kansas' home shocker. Now-No. 7 Texas Tech stayed perfect on the week, taking down TCU, and West Virginia suffered a blowout loss Wednesday at Iowa State. The Mountaineers dropped to No. 19 in this week's rankings along with Oklahoma and Trae Young, who came up just short in the Red River rivalry at Texas 79-74, sending them backward to No. 17.

Tough at the top

Beyond Duke's surprise defeat, it was another good week for the other top five teams in the AP Poll. No. 1 Villanova and No. 2 Virginia both put in a pair of workman-like performances to win each of their two contests by double digits. But for No. 3 Purdue it took a bit more effort—Maryland hung within striking distance of the Boilermakers until the final minute Wednesday night. It was a similar story Saturday against Rutgers before Purdue emerged victorious once more.

Further down, Michigan State will move up a spot to No. 4, taking Duke's place after a pair of clutch wins including a gritty road victory against Indiana. Xavier also jumps to No. 5 despite needing a final-minute four-point play from Trevon Bluiett to send the Musketeers' Saturday matchup with Georgetown to overtime before winning 96-91.



1. Villanova

2. Virginia

3. Purdue

4. Michigan State

5.  Xavier

6. Cincinnati

7. Texas Tech 

8. Auburn  

9. Duke 

10. Kansas 

11.  Saint Mary's

12. Gonzaga

13. Arizona 

14. Ohio State

15. Tennessee

16. Clemson

17. Oklahoma

18. Rhode Island

19. West Virginia 

20. Michigan

21. North Carolina

22. Wichita State

23. Nevada

24. Kentucky

25. Miami

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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