Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke men's basketball climbs to No. 15

<p>No. 15 Duke men's basketball beat Boston College and Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.</p>

No. 15 Duke men's basketball beat Boston College and Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

After a strong resume-building weekend for the Blue Devils and some of their key competitors, a new AP Poll has dropped. With Duke now at No. 15, the Blue Zone checks out the latest rankings: 

Stepping up 

Following a week that brought questions about Duke’s potential, the Blue Devils delivered. Its matchup against Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was touted as another potential loss, but Duke silenced the doubters at home with an 81-72 win. The Blue Devils then turned their sights to the beginning of conference play with a home matchup against Boston College, and they took care of business, coming out with a 16-point victory. Accordingly, the AP Poll has rewarded Duke’s strong play by moving it up to No. 15 this week. The Blue Devils will have one more chance at a resume-building, nonconference win with their matchup against Iowa at Madison Square Garden Tuesday. 

Conference-play woes 

As college basketball fans are well aware, when conference play starts, the season heats up. Rivalries flare up and upsets happen everywhere. This held true this week as two top-10 teams fell in their first conference matchup. Then-No. 4 Arizona faced its first defeat this season, an 81-66 loss to Utah. This fall came on the heels of Arizona winning the Maui Invitational. With the loss, the Wildcats fell to No. 10 this week. Indiana also ended a tumultuous week with a loss to a familiar foe, falling to Rutgers 63-48. This performance comes directly after the then-No. 10 Hoosiers took care of the Tar Heels in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Appropriately, Indiana dropped to No. 14 this week.  

How the mighty have fallen 

Although the needle moves slightly every year, there are always a few teams that reign supreme in college basketball. Gonzaga and North Carolina both certainly fit this bill, and neither program has had the start it wanted. These struggles continued this week with Gonzaga dropping its third game of the season and North Carolina falling to 5-4. The Bulldogs have played a difficult nonconference schedule and they have paid the price. Gonzaga fell 64-63 in a battle to No. 12 Baylor, and accordingly dropped to No. 18 this week. The preseason top-ranked Tar Heels extended its losing streak to four games with losses to Indiana and Virginia Tech, continuing a shocking start to the year for last season’s runner-up. North Carolina falls out of the poll this week.  

Complete rankings:

1. Houston

2. Texas

3. Virginia

4. Purdue

5. UConn

6. Kansas

7. Tennessee

8. Alabama

9. Arkansas

10. Arizona

11. Auburn

12. Baylor

13. Maryland

14. Indiana

15. Duke

16. Kentucky

17. Illinois

18. Gonzaga

19. UCLA

20. Iowa State

21. Creighton

22. San Diego State

23. Mississippi State

24. TCU

25. Ohio State


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