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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball back on top

<p>Cassius Stanley and the Blue Devils will play their first games as the No. 1 team in the country this season in the Empire Classic this week.</p>

Cassius Stanley and the Blue Devils will play their first games as the No. 1 team in the country this season in the Empire Classic this week.

Following one of the sport's biggest upsets in recent memory, there is a new No. 1 in college basketball for the third consecutive week. The Blue Zone will be here every Monday at noon until March giving you the biggest takeaways from each poll:

Blue Devils back in familiar territory

It has only been three rankings since they were last on top, but the Blue Devils are once again the No. 1 team in the nation. After the previous top team, Kentucky, lost an embarrassing game to unranked Evansville at home, Duke took care of business against Central Arkansas and Georgia State to assume the Wildcats' position. Last season, the Blue Devils finished as the No. 1 team as well, and this year's group will have a lot of ground to cover if they want to replicate the eight weeks on top of the poll achieved by the 2018-19 squad. Kentucky slid down to No. 9 after the loss.

Florida falls out of the poll

One of the most promising teams coming into the season continues to struggle, as Florida dropped out of the rankings after just three weeks. The Gators opened the year at No. 6, but losses to unranked Florida State and Connecticut derailed the start of their campaign. Despite the additions of five-star guard Scottie Lewis and talented Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr., they weren't enough to keep the Gators from falling from the No. 15 spot they occupied last week.

Potential top-2 matchup

This year's Champions Classic featured a No. 1 vs. No. 2 bout with Michigan State and Kentucky, and that might not be the only one of the season. After the top ranked Blue Devils, the Spartans are at the No. 3 spot in the latest poll, and could set up a huge game if No. 2 Louisville loses in the coming weeks. Duke and Michigan State will face off Dec. 3 in East Lansing for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, a rematch of last season's Elite Eight. If the Spartans rise one spot and the Blue Devils hold, that will be the fifth matchup featuring the top-2 AP teams over the last decade.

Complete rankings

1. Duke 

2. Louisville

3. Michigan State 

4. Kansas

5. North Carolina

6. Maryland

7. Virginia

8. Gonzaga

9. Kentucky

10. Ohio State

11. Oregon

12. Texas Tech

13. Seton Hall

14. Arizona

15. Utah State

16. Memphis

17. Villanova

18. Xavier

19. Auburn

20. Tennessee

21. VCU

22. Texas

23. Colorado

24. Baylor

25. Washington

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