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Thoughts on the AP poll: Duke men's basketball creeping up the rankings

Freshman guard DJ Steward impressed on both ends of the floor Saturday.
Freshman guard DJ Steward impressed on both ends of the floor Saturday.

Another week of the 2020-21 college basketball season is in the books and that means the Blue Zone is here to give you our thoughts on the action from last week:

Keep on keepin’ on

After starting the season off on a less-than-ideal note, Duke seems to slowly be putting it together as of late and now finds itself planted at No. 19. The Blue Devils narrowly escaped an upset against Boston College and Wake Forest played them close the entire game, but the important takeaway is that Duke came out on top both times.

Granted, Boston College and Wake Forest are certainly not the top-tier teams in the conference, but those two victories put Duke on a three-game win streak and have gone a long way in rejuvenating college basketball fans' confidence in this team. It’s important to remember that all this is being done without freshman Jalen Johnson and although his return date is still unknown, the Blue Devils are starting to look like a legitimate contender to take home the ACC regular season crown.

The Sweet Six

For the first time all season, the top six teams remained the same as last week. Texas and Iowa were really the only two teams in the aforementioned group to face a challenge this week, and both overcame their conference foes to keep them at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. 

No. 3 Villanova is in a funky spot in its season, as four of its scheduled games have been postponed due to COVID-19 issues and as of now, it will not play another game until Jan. 19. Fortunately, the Wildcats have played nine games, which at this point of the 2020-21 season is a solid number. But teams like No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 Creighton are knocking at the door to get into the top five so a lack of games may nudge the Wildcats down in the next rankings.

Is Clemson the best team in the ACC?

Yes you read that right. There is a serious conversation to be had about if Clemson is the best basketball team in the entire conference. This past week, the Tigers beat N.C. State and the result was a seven-spot rankings jump to No. 12 overall. Going up seven places in the rankings after one win over an unranked opponent is odd, but Clemson was finally rewarded for an entire season of near-perfect basketball.

The Tigers have only dropped one game and despite not having any one player who completely dominates every game, they have managed to string together win after win. They have as many quality wins as anyone else in the ACC and while Clemson still has to get past Florida State (again), Duke and North Carolina, this team needs to be regarded as a contender to win the ACC.

Complete rankings:

1. Gonzaga

2. Baylor

3. Villanova

4. Texas

5. Iowa

6. Kansas

7. Michigan

8. Creighton 

9. Wisconsin

10. Tennessee

11. Houston

12. Clemson

13. West Virginia

14. Illinois

15. Texas Tech

16. Louisvile

17. Missouri

18. Virginia

19. Duke

20. Virginia Tech

21. Ohio State

22. Oregon

23. Minnesota

24. Saint Louis

25. Connecticut


Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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