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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball remains in top spot

<p>The Blue Devils hold the top spot for the second consecutive week.</p>

The Blue Devils hold the top spot for the second consecutive week.

The Blue Zone will be here every Monday at noon until March giving you the biggest takeaways from each poll:

Blue Devils solidify No. 1 spot

Duke nabbed two more wins last week en route to claiming the 2K Empire Classic title Friday. After easily handling California, the Blue Devils saw a little more resistance in the championship game, ultimately coming out on top against a Georgetown squad who beat No. 22 Texas a day earlier. With Tre Jones and Vernon Carey Jr. leading the way, Duke gave the AP committee no reason to doubt its place at the top.

Louisville, UNC and Virginia approaching fast

It has been a quick rise in the rankings for conference rivals No. 3 Louisville, No. 6 UNC and No. 7 Virginia. The three teams are a combined 15-0 so far and have showed no signs of slowing down. The Cardinals and Tar Heels have maintained their dominance behind star-studded freshman classes, while the Cavaliers have upped their defensive game, allowing more than 50 points only once in six games.

Memphis maintains despite loss of star

The Tigers headlined college basketball news over the last two weeks as star big man and No. 1 overall recruit James Wiseman was suspended by the NCAA in a controversial ruling Wednesday. Despite the loss of its best player, Memphis grounded its spot at No. 16 behind the remainder of the 2019 No. 1 overall recruiting class. With Wiseman out for another 10 games, it will be interesting to see if head coach Penny Hardaway can keep the Tigers competitive and climbing the rankings.

Complete Rankings

1. Duke

2. Louisville

3. Michigan State

4. Kansas

5. Maryland

6. North Carolina

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. Tennessee

18. Auburn

19. Baylor

20. VCU

21. Colorado

22. Villanova

23. Washington

24. Florida

25. Xavier

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