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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke men's basketball's second loss sends Blue Devils to No. 8

Duke's upset loss to Miami caused the Blue Devils to move from their No. 2 spot for the first time in weeks.
Duke's upset loss to Miami caused the Blue Devils to move from their No. 2 spot for the first time in weeks.

Upset losses across the AP Top 25 have shuffled the rankings since last week, as Duke falls to No. 8. Here are our thoughts on the rest of college basketball and how the newest rankings look: 

Duke’s loss sends the Blue Devils to No. 8

Since the start of the ACC slate, something has been a bit off with the Blue Devils—the win against Virginia Tech needed an impressive comeback, and they let Georgia Tech keep it close before taking the last-minute loss against Miami Saturday. After sitting at No. 2 for several weeks, it was a matter of time before the top of the rankings got shuffled around as conference play intensified. Unfortunately for Blue Devil fans, that reshuffling started with the Blue Devils, as Duke slipped for the first time since after its Nov. 30 win against Ohio State.

Duke still owns a solid lineup, featuring an improving bench led by AJ Griffin and continued solid frontcourt play from Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams. The key for the Blue Devils now, heading into a week with matchups against Wake Forest and N.C. State, is to limit the turnovers and play to its own strengths as résumé-building opportunities dwindle. 

12 other ranked teams take losses

Of the twelve ranked teams not named Duke to drop a game this past week, six fell to unranked opponents as the rankings see rearranging up and down the board. The wild week was headlined by a No. 23 Wisconsin win against No. 3 Purdue, No. 13 Ohio State losing big to unranked Indiana and No. 6 Kansas leaving its game against No. 25 Texas Tech empty-handed. The matchup most likely to go under the radar, however, was when last week’s No. 20 Colorado State was blown out by 30 at San Diego State, snapping its lossless start to the season.

With plenty of ranked teams beating other top-25 teams though, this week sees just one fresh name in No. 25 Illinois, with only Colorado State dropping from the list. 

ACC continues to showcase parity

One could look at the ACC in two ways. On one hand, the conference is showing a strong, even balance of competition. On the other, it's also demonstrating that it’s simply not that great this season, with nearly everyone beating everyone else and few teams standing out from the pack. Entering the new week, the conference is 5-18 against ranked teams. That’s quite poor—especially when considering some of the worst marks against ranked competition come from North Carolina’s 1-3 record and Virginia Tech’s 0-3 mark. Only the Pac-12 and its 2-18 total record against top-25 teams is worse among major conferences, but it can lay claim to three top-10 teams.

Even with North Carolina’s big win over Virginia, a loss against Notre Dame further sinks the Tar Heels’ chances of returning to the poll, and Virginia Tech’s unforeseen struggles send the once-promising Hokies into the cellar of the ACC. The one bright spot for the conference is Miami’s shocking stretch in which the Hurricanes went from the ACC’s preseason No. 13 team to a borderline top-25 team with nine straight wins. The Hurricanes earned 65 votes, good enough for 28th overall. This streak adds another March Madness-hopeful ACC team to the board, as the conference aims to squeak just a few more teams into the tournament picture.

Complete rankings

1. Baylor

2. Gonzaga

3. UCLA

4. Auburn

5. Southern California

6. Arizona

7. Purdue

8. Duke

9. Kansas

10. Michigan State

11. Houston

12. LSU

13. Wisconsin

14. Villanova

15. Iowa State

16. Ohio State

17. Xavier

18. Kentucky

19. Texas Tech

20. Seton Hall

21. Texas

22. Tennessee

23. Providence

24. Alabama

25. Illinois


Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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