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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball jumps back into the top-10

Duke moved up two spots in the latest AP poll.
Duke moved up two spots in the latest AP poll.

Duke recovered this past week with two convincing home wins, including a thrilling regular season finale against North Carolina. The Blue Zone will be here every Monday at noon until March giving you the biggest takeaways from each poll:

Duke jumps to No. 10

Last week, the Blue Devils fell out of the top-10 for the first time in over two years. It didn't take long for head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad to return to where it belongs, improving two spots to No. 10 in this week's poll.

Duke started off the week with an 88-69 revenge win against N.C. State. The team then rested for five days before its annual home bout with its Tobacco Road rivals, eventually defeating the Tar Heels 89-76 to complete the regular season sweep.

While the Blue Devils may be in line for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament as of now, they could easily leap into the two-seed tier with an impressive showing this weekend in the ACC tournament, a bracket that could potentially give Duke the opportunity for two more ranked wins.

Baylor struggling

Just two weeks ago, the Bears were in the midst of a Big 12-record 23-game win streak and beginning to look like the runaway national title favorites. Then, they lost a heated battle against then-No. 3 Kansas, a tough but respectable defeat. Since then, however, they have seemed to fall apart.

Exactly a week after the defeat to the Jayhawks, Baylor fell 75-72 to unranked TCU. The Bears barely escaped Texas Tech in overtime two days later before falling victim to West Virginia 76-64. That makes three losses over Baylor's final five games of the regular season. 

The Bears dropped another spot to No. 5 in this week's AP poll, falling out of the one-seed line.

Virginia making noise

If you're looking for hottest team in the ACC heading into postseason play, it's not Duke, Louisville or even Florida State. It's the Virginia Cavaliers.

After eight straight wins to close out the regular season, including victories against the 10th-ranked Blue Devils and 15th-ranked Cardinals, Virginia moved up five spots to No. 17 in this week's AP poll. The Cavaliers bounced around the top-15 to begin the year before falling out of the rankings entirely in the midst of a three-game losing streak in early January. Last week's No. 22 ranking was the team's first appearance in the poll since Jan 11.

Despite the long-believed assumption that the ACC was a three-headed battle between the Seminoles, Louisville and Duke, it is Virginia that enters the ACC tournament as the conference's No. 2 seed behind Florida State. I guess we've all learned a very valuable lesson—never forget about the defending national champions.

Complete Rankings:

1. Kansas

2. Gonzaga

3. Dayton

4. Florida State

5. Baylor 

6. San Diego State

7. Creighton

8. Kentucky

9. Michigan State

10. Duke

11. Villanova

12. Maryland

13. Oregon

14. BYU

15. Louisville

16. Seton Hall

17. Virginia

18. Wisconsin

19. Ohio State

20. Auburn

21. Illinois

22. Houston

23. West Virginia

24. Butler

25. Iowa

 


 

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