This season is madness, and it’s only January. With top-10 teams dropping left and right, this week’s AP poll is the most chaotic of the season. The Blue Zone will be here every Monday to give you the biggest takeaways from each poll:
Blue Devils plummet
This week was a dark time for Duke. The Blue Devils suffered two close, but heartbreaking losses to Clemson and then-No. 11 Louisville for their first back-to-back losses of the last two seasons. The ensuing AP poll drops Duke all the way down to No. 8. On the flip-side, Louisville returned to the top-10 for the first time since week nine, though Clemson remained unranked.
This week’s performance was inferior to what we’ve come to expect from this Blue Devil team, and the poll reflected the decline in their execution and poise. If Duke can return to the level it was at when it took down Kansas and Michigan State, it still has hope of turning the season around. However, if this week becomes the new norm, the tournament will not be kind to the Blue Devils.
Auburn and Butler complete the top-5 shakeup
If there’s any consolation for Blue Devil fans, it’s that their team wasn’t the only top-5 program to drop two straight games this week. Previously-No. 4 Auburn and No. 5 Butler both lost all of their games this past week and dropped to No. 16 and No. 13, respectively.
The previously-undefeated Tigers suffered two massive losses to unranked Alabama and Florida by an average margin of 20.5 points. Meanwhile, Butler fell to the unranked DePaul Blue Demons (bargain brand Blue Devils) by 13 points in addition to an eight-point defeat to then-No. 18 Seton Hall. These two first-rate programs aren’t dead, but they will have a lot of catching up to do to make up for this tough week.
Everyone else moves up
With three top-5 teams dropping like flies, everyone else moved up by default. Storming into the top-5 to take the vacant spots are San Diego State, Kansas and Florida State. However, there are some standouts that improved by much more than the assured three spots. Seton Hall rose eight spots to a season-high No. 10 after a decisive win over previously-No. 5 Butler, improving to 6-0 in the Big East for the first time in school history.
Along with the Pirates, Villanova jumped five spots to improve to No. 9, Louisville rose from No. 11 to No. 6 and Michigan State rose from No. 15 to No. 11. Many teams benefitted in the poll from the downfall of Duke, Auburn and Butler, but rankings don’t mean anything unless teams can compete at the level they’ve been assigned.
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4. San Diego State
5. Florida State
10. Seton Hall
11. Michigan State
14. West Virginia
18. Texas Tech