Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke men's basketball drops to No. 17 after loss to Purdue

<p>Duke dropped from No. 8 to No. 17 in the Week 4 AP Poll.</p>

Duke dropped from No. 8 to No. 17 in the Week 4 AP Poll.

After a big week of tournaments featuring contests between top teams, the fourth AP Poll dropped Monday afternoon. This week, Duke faced a steep drop to No. 17:

Another fall 

Duke faced its second loss of the season Sunday, falling to Purdue in the Phil Knight Legacy title game. The Blue Devils' youth was certainly important to their losses, as both were handed to them by more experienced teams with long-established coaches. The Boilermakers' Zach Edey overpowered the Blue Devil defense with a masterful performance, slipping past two five-star bigs to get the job done. Duke’s offensive woes were also apparent as it struggled from downtown all afternoon against Purdue. Coming into the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Duke is now ranked No. 17. The opportunity for ranked non-conference wins is dwindling, meaning Duke must avoid another loss before ACC play begins. But a matchup with a talented 25th-ranked Ohio State team Wednesday night may prove another tough task for the young Blue Devils. 

A new top dog 

For the first time this season, there is a new program atop the AP Poll. North Carolina suffered its first and second losses of the year in the Phil Knight Invitational, falling to Iowa State 70-65 in the semifinals and Alabama 103-101 in the fourth overtime of the third-place game. This stumble felt inevitable for the Tar Heels, as they have struggled in wins all season and barely slid by in the opening round against Portland State. As a result of its unsuccessful Feast Week, North Carolina has fallen to No. 18 in the Week 4 poll. The choice for a new king was simple, with Houston now No. 1. The Cougars have looked dominant all season, so sliding them up one spot this week was a no-brainer. Another viable contender would have been Kansas, but it lost to Tennessee 64-50 in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship. Appropriately, the Jayhawks fell to No. 9 this week.  

Boiling up 

No one had a better Thanksgiving than Purdue. Coming into the season unranked, they certainly cleared whatever doubts were raised about them while in Portland, Ore. Led by 7-foot-4 junior center Edey and an array of shooters, the Boilermakers thrashed two top-10 teams in Gonzaga and Duke. Purdue looks the part of a team that can contend for a deep run in March and having a Naismith Trophy hopeful in Edey and an excellent coach in Matt Painter is a good recipe for success. Based on its great week, Purdue climbs up to No. 5, and will next face another ACC opponent in Florida State Wednesday night.

Complete rankings:

1. Houston 

2. Texas 

3. Virginia 

4. Arizona 

5. Purdue 

6. Baylor 

7. Creighton 

8. UConn 

9. Kansas 

10. Indiana

11. Alabama

T-11. Arkansas

13. Tennessee

14. Gonzaga

15. Auburn

16. Illinois

17. Duke

18. North Carolina

19. Kentucky

20. Michigan State

21. UCLA

22. Maryland

23. Iowa State

24. San Diego State

25. Ohio State


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