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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball drops to No. 8 after winless week

<p>For the first 10 minutes of Saturday's matchup, Duke looked overmatched, falling behind 25-10.</p>

For the first 10 minutes of Saturday's matchup, Duke looked overmatched, falling behind 25-10.

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.

Complete Rankings:

1. Baylor

2. Gonzaga

3. Kansas

4. San Diego State

5. Florida State

6. Louisville

7. Dayton

8. Duke

9. Villanova

10. Seton Hall

11. Michigan State

12. Oregon

13. Butler

14. West Virginia

15. Kentucky

16. Auburn

17. Maryland

18. Texas Tech

19. Iowa

20. Memphis

21. Illinois

22. Arizona

23. Colorado

24. Rutgers

25. Houston


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