After a brief stay at No. 1, the Blue Devils fell from the top spot in Monday's AP Poll, and the Blue Zone is back with another installment of our thoughts on the latest rankings:
Duke takes a small slip
After registering a massive win against then-No. 1 Gonzaga in Las Vegas, the Blue Devils were rewarded with the coveted top spot in the AP Poll for the first time since the 2019-20 season. Unfortunately, that ranking proved to be short-lived early on in the week, as Duke lost its first game of the season in its first true road game Tuesday night, a 71-66 heartbreaker against previously unranked Ohio State. The Blue Devils remained competitive throughout the game, overpowering the Buckeyes in the first half and claiming a 13-point lead through twenty minutes. However, with the support of the Ohio State student section, forward Zed Key and guard Cedric Russell put on big second-half performances. When all was said and done, the Blue Devils just couldn't come out on top, outscored 41-23 in the second half by the Buckeyes.
Other big names in college basketball saw victories this week: Baylor topped Arkansas-Pine Bluff 99-54, then-No. 5 UCLA took over against Colorado for a 73-61 win and Villanova triumphed twice against Penn and Saint Joseph's. But when factoring in that Duke defeated Gonzaga, the previously top-ranked team, and that Gonzaga defeated UCLA, it makes sense that the Blue Devils only dropped two spots to No. 3 in this week's poll. Duke's loss to Ohio State was clearly not the best it has to offer, and with two weeks off to rest, the Blue Devils should be ready to continue their monumental season Dec. 14 against South Carolina State.
Boilermakers take the lead
For its first time in school history, Purdue is the top-ranked team in the AP Poll. With early wins against No. 6 Villanova and North Carolina, the Boilermakers have looked the part since the start. However, as one of only two undefeated teams left from the year's first rankings, this week's 93-65 and 77-70 victories against Florida State and Iowa, respectively, have tipped the team up a spot after Duke's loss to Ohio State. The Boilermakers do have a gruesome-looking schedule ahead of them, so depending on how they perform, it will be evident whether they truly have what it takes to make it as a national championship contender.
Gonzaga in trouble
The Bulldogs began this season as top dogs in the rankings, but they have now seen that ranking drop in consecutive weeks. Gonzaga's 84-81 upset loss to Duke broke the team's 36-game regular-season win streak, and its most recent 91-82 loss against then-No. 16 Alabama has now pushed the Bulldogs further down the AP Poll.
Gonzaga couldn't make enough of an impact in the second half after the Crimson Tide took over in the first for a 51-35 halftime lead. The team did record a win since last week's AP Poll was released, beating Tarleton State by nine points—not much considering the matchup disparity and that Stanford, who Gonzaga beat handily, took down the Texans by 12. Gonzaga remains dangerous, but it now sits at a much more humble No. 5 in this week's poll and without any more big-name opponents on the schedule to help it advance.
16. Southern California
17. Iowa State
19. Michigan State
21. Ohio State
23. Seton Hall
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Ana Young is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.