As the sports world finally turns their attention from football to basketball, conference races are starting to heat up, and the Blue Zone gives you the latest from the AP Poll:

Duke and Virginia to deliver top three matchup

ACC fans won’t get to see the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup like they’d hoped, as Tennessee won both of its games by double digits. Nevertheless, it will still command the attention of the college basketball world when Duke and Virginia take the floor as No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. The Blue Devils will face unranked Boston College before the big game, while the Cavaliers have the entire week off to prepare their vengeance, hoping to avoid a repeat of Duke’s 72-70 victory in the teams’ Jan. 19 matchup. The matchup will mark the third straight top five meeting between the two schools.

Kentucky back to the top five

After the Wildcats’ blowout loss to Duke to start the year in the Champions Classic, Kentucky fell from No. 2 to No. 10. It has taken twelve weeks and many ups and downs, but the Wildcats are finally back in the top five at No. 5, jumping Michigan and Michigan State, who lost to unranked opponents. Kentucky took care of business against Vanderbilt and used a 12-0 run in the second half at Florida to shoot back up before their big tilt against Tennessee in just under two weeks.

N.C. State drops from the rankings

Things looked promising at the beginning of the week for the Wolfpack, as they took Virginia to overtime, only to fall victim to a missed free throw in a one point loss. It was their showdown with No. 12 Virginia Tech, however, that dropped Kevin Keatts’ squad from No. 23 to unranked. N.C. State managed just 24 points in a blowout loss to the Hokies, suffering the lowest scoring game from a ranked team in the shot clock era. A week that could’ve separated the Wolfpack towards a top four seed has now sent them spiraling and overlooked.

Complete rankings:

  1. Tennessee
  2. Duke
  3. Virginia
  4. Gonzaga
  5. Kentucky
  6. Nevada
  7. Michigan
  8. North Carolina
  9. Michigan State
  10. Marquette
  11. Virginia Tech
  12. Houston
  13. Kansas
  14. Villanova
  15. Purdue
  16. Louisville
  17. Iowa State
  18. Texas Tech
  19. Wisonsin 
  20. Iowa
  21. LSU
  22. Florida State
  23. Buffalo
  24. Maryland
  25. Cincinnati