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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball rises to No. 7

Duke hasn't been ranked outside the top-10 of the AP poll since Feb. 18, 2018
Duke hasn't been ranked outside the top-10 of the AP poll since Feb. 18, 2018

Duke continues to roll through the light portion of its ACC schedule while the rest of the country continues to undergo chaos. The Blue Zone will be here every Monday at noon until March giving you the biggest takeaways from each poll:

Blue Devils move up

Now on a three-game win streak, Duke has recovered from its nightmarish two-loss week in mid-January and has moved up in the AP poll for the first time in five weeks. With their losses to Clemson and Louisville is the rear view mirror, the Blue Devils are now able to improve and practice as they roll through opponents with the ease that they should. With a relatively easy schedule in the coming week—an odd prospect considering North Carolina is one of the opponents—Duke should be able to improve on its win streak and show the Associated Press that it is deserving of an even higher ranking. The team is far from perfect and its subpar ranking reflects that, but with patience and consistency, it will likely find itself in a very good place come postseason time.

Florida State stumbles 

The Seminoles were looking unstoppable for a while, improving in the rankings week after week. But as any top-ranked team can tell you, all it takes is one bad game. This past Tuesday, Florida State fell to the unranked Virginia Cavaliers in a tight 61-56 loss, subsequently dropping from No. 5 to No. 8 in this week's poll. While the loss by no means disqualifies the Seminoles as potential contenders, the AP poll has a tendency to recognize results over talent. Florida State should bounce back, but it will soon face its biggest test of the season when the team walks into Cameron Indoor Stadium next week.

Calm before the storm

The two weeks following the wild week 11—which saw Duke, Auburn and Butler all experience two losses—were comparatively tame. There were no wild upsets or close top-10 matchups. However, this break from the chaos of college basketball is most likely going to be very brief. This season has featured seven different No. 1 teams atop the AP poll, and while Baylor has had a firm grip on the top spot over the past three weeks, the Bears are by no means runaway favorites for the title. 

This past Saturday already gave a preview for what fans should continue to expect as the norm this college basketball season, with both then-No. 8 Villanova and then-No. 10 Seton Hall going down on the same day. The two teams fell to No. 10 and No. 12, respectively, in this week's rankings.

Complete Rankings

1. Baylor

2. Gonzaga

3. Kansas

4. San Diego State

5. Louisville

6. Dayton

7. Duke

8. Florida State

9. Maryland

10. Villanova

11. Auburn

12. Seton Hall

13. West Virginia

14. Oregon

15. Kentucky

16. Michigan State

17. Iowa

18. LSU

19. Butler

20. Illinois

21. Creighton

22. Penn State

23. Arizona

24. Colorado

25. Houston


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