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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball remains at No. 2, Pac-12 continues to struggle

<p>With a busy academic schedule, Duke did not play last week.</p>

With a busy academic schedule, Duke did not play last week.

As nonconference play nears its end, things are starting to shape up across college basketball, as seen in the latest AP poll:  

No movement at the top

The top three teams in the AP Top 25 remained the same this week, with Kansas at the top spot, followed by Duke at No. 2 and Tennessee at No. 3. The Jayhawks nearly suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, as Kansas defeated then-17th Villanova by a margin of just 74-71. 

With finals on the docket for the Blue Devils, the team has not seen any game action since Dec. 8, when it pummeled Yale 91-58. However, Duke has a busy upcoming week, as it will host Princeton Tuesday evening before traveling to New York City to take on No. 12 Texas Tech Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The matchup between the Blue Devils and the Red Raiders will feature the nation's second most efficient offense in Duke and the most efficient defense in Texas Tech, according to KenPom.com.

No. 18 Arizona State remains only ranked Pac-12 team

The Pac-12 is really, really bad this year. With nonconference play wrapping up, the conference sits at just 6-23 as a whole against other major conferences. Preseason No. 21 UCLA suffered an embarrassing home loss to Belmont of the Ohio Valley Conference on Saturday, signifying the struggles of the most prominent conference out west.

North Carolina moves to No. 9, while Gonzaga slides to 8th

After opening the season with nine consecutive victories, including one against then-No. 1 Duke, Gonzaga has fallen into a rut, dropping its last two contests to Tennessee and North Carolina. The Tar Heels took care of the Bulldogs 103-90, and looked absolutely unstoppable on offense, hitting 52 percent of their 3-point looks. Perhaps most surprising was North Carolina's physical superiority, as it out-rebounded Gonzaga 42-21, showing how much the Bulldogs miss 6-foot-10 forward Killian Tillie, who is still nursing an ankle injury.

Complete Rankings:

  1. Kansas
  2. Duke
  3. Tennessee
  4. Michigan
  5. Virginia
  6. Nevada
  7. Auburn
  8. Gonzaga
  9. North Carolina
  10. Michigan State
  11. Florida State
  12. Texas Tech
  13. Virginia Tech
  14. Buffalo
  15. Ohio State
  16. Wisconsin
  17. Mississippi State
  18. Arizona State
  19. Kentucky
  20. Marquette
  21. Houston
  22. Indiana
  23. Iowa
  24. Furman
  25. Nebraska

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