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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke men's basketball rises to No. 4 following historic weekend of upsets

Since coming back from injury, Trevor Keels has been instrumental in helping Duke to the wins that have raised it in the polls.
Since coming back from injury, Trevor Keels has been instrumental in helping Duke to the wins that have raised it in the polls.

After a wild weekend that saw eight top-ten teams get upset, there was some shuffling in the rankings. With Duke now at No. 4, the Blue Zone has our reflections on this weeks AP Top 25 Poll:

Duke back in top five

The Blue Devils’ effort on the hardwood this week and through the month of February did not go unnoticed, as they returned to the top five, taking No. 4 in the AP Poll. This place marks the highest ranking the group has had since Week Nine, when Duke was No. 2. Though they have fallen short several times this season, the Blue Devils’ consistent performances throughout most of February is just enough to prove themselves worthy. Since its loss to Virginia on Feb. 7, Duke has tallied six victories, including a four-point win in its rematch against the Cavaliers. Now featuring a 25-4 record, it’s no surprise why the Blue Devils were in contention for a top ranking.

After the fateful fall of each of the top-six teams to a lower ranked or unranked team Saturday, it became abundantly clear that no team in Division I basketball can go unscathed in the league—even against teams they should’ve beaten. Duke avoiding the same fate by beating Syracuse 97-72 ultimately gave it a boost this week.

Top-ranked teams see shuffling

Saturday was a historic day in college basketball history, marking the first time all of the top six ranked programs have lost on the same day. But not only did Gonzaga, Arizona, Auburn, Purdue, Kansas and Kentucky all fall—so did No. 9 Texas Tech Saturday and No. 8 Villanova on Tuesday. Then-No. 10 Baylor and No. 7 Duke were the only two top-ten teams not to falter in their contests in Week 17. The monumental losses prompted mass confusion about what led to these defeats and questions about where the groups belonged. There was some shuffling, with significant changes such as No. 9 Providence and No. 10 Wisconsin replacing No. 11 Texas Tech and No. 12 Villanova in the top ten, as well as Baylor jumping all the way to No. 3.

USC powering through

The Trojans have maintained a successful season, with a 25-4 record that matches Duke's. USC's four losses include a 72-63 loss to then-No. 7 Arizona, a 79-69 defeat Jan. 15 to Oregon, which the team has since beat in their most recent match, and double losses against its kryptonite, Stanford. None of their losses are monumental, and with a comeback against the Ducks, the Trojans have proved that they can still contend. USC has yet to play more nationally ranked teams besides then-No. 12 and current No. 17 UCLA, which it defeated 67-64 Feb. 12. While the Trojans stayed at No. 16 Monday afternoon, as March Madness nears, fans and analysts everywhere should not forget about the Los Angeles-based program. A match against the Trojans later after the regular season closes out shouldn't be looked upon lightly.

Complete rankings:

1. Gonzaga

2. Arizona

3. Baylor

4. Duke

5. Auburn

6. Kansas

7. Kentucky

8. Purdue

9. Providence

10. Wisconsin

11. Villanova

12. Texas Tech

13. Tennessee

14. Arkansas

14. Houston

16. USC

17. UCLA

18. Connecticut

19. Saint Mary's

20. Illinois

21. Texas

22. Murray State

23. Ohio State

24. Iowa

25. Alabama 


Ana Young | Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Ana Young is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.

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