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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke reigns atop rankings after defeating Gonzaga

The Blue Devils are No. 1 in the nation for the first time since early on in the 2019-20 season.
The Blue Devils are No. 1 in the nation for the first time since early on in the 2019-20 season.

Another week of college basketball has come and gone, meaning that it's time for another installment of the Blue Zone's thoughts on the latest AP Poll. After Duke's win against Gonzaga, the Blue Devils now claim the top spot in the rankings:

Duke reaches the summit

Though Duke beat two teams since the previous AP Poll was released last week, its premier victory was undoubtedly the 84-81upset it handed Gonzaga. Like they did last year, the Zags had reigned atop this year’s poll since the preseason, and for a good reason. The team rode into Friday night’s match with a 36-game regular-season win streak and victories over then-No. 5 Texas and No. 2 UCLA, taking the teams down 86-74 and 83-63, respectively. With some of the nation’s top-ranked players, including Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren, basketball analysts predicted the squad to take away the night with an eight-point lead. Yet, Duke proved everyone but the Blue Devil faithful wrong that night, ruling over the Bulldogs.

Having defeated the previously top team in the country, the Blue Devils rose four spots to achieve the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll. This ranking further establishes Duke as a national championship contender which is a significant contrast from last year, when it fell out of the poll for the first time since the 2015-16 season. The Cameron Crazies want title number six, and having already snagged the top spot only four weeks into the season, this roster has shown it has what it takes to achieve that.

Two top-10 teams take tumbles

Last week wasn’t the only time fans faced disappointment when their previously top-ranked team fell out of the rankings. The tournaments held throughout Thanksgiving week led to some surprising upsets, including the previously No. 4-ranked Kansas and No. 9-ranked Memphis falling to unranked Dayton and Iowa State, respectively. Though Kansas only lost 74-73 to the Flyers, this loss came across as incredibly unpredictable because of the team’s original position within the top-three when the preseason poll was released. Memphis faced a 78-59 upset from the Cyclones to drop to No. 18. The Jayhawks' loss led to a four place fall to No. 8.

None of Duke’s next regular season opponents make the cut

Just as the rankings were last week, none of Duke’s opponents for the rest of the regular season made enough of an impact this week to see an appearance within the top 25. Ohio State came the closest, having received 75 votes—which would be 29th. The Buckeyes have a 4-2 record before they compete with the Blue Devils Tuesday night. Their two latest contests factoring into the poll are their 79-76 victory against No. 25 Seton Hall and 71-68 loss against No. 14 Florida. With no ranked opponents remaining, Duke only has four competitions left before conference play begins. After this week, the Blue Devils are also now the only undefeated team left within the conference, cementing their status at the top of the ACC until another team can manage some big wins.

Complete rankings:

1. Duke

2. Purdue

3. Gonzaga

4. Baylor

5. UCLA

6. Villanova

7. Texas

8. Kansas

9. Kentucky

10. Arkansas

11. Arizona

12. BYU

13. Tennessee

14. Florida

15. Houston

16. Alabama

17. Connecticut

18. Memphis

19. Iowa State

20. USC

21. Auburn

22. Michigan State

23. Wisconsin

24. Michigan

25. Seton Hall


Ana Young

Ana Young is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news and sports departments.

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