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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke men's basketball drops two spots to No. 14 after no-game week

<p>Duke dropped from No. 12 to No. 14 in the latest AP Poll.</p>

Duke dropped from No. 12 to No. 14 in the latest AP Poll.

The latest AP Poll dropped Monday afternoon, and some key adjustments were made heading into the final weeks of 2022. Though Duke did not play last week, the team dropped two spots to No. 14 ahead of its last two games of the year: 

Holding serve 

For the first time all season, Duke went a week without playing a game. This much-needed break should give head coach Jon Scheyer time to mold his young team into a formidable contender in ACC play. Duke will return to action Tuesday at Wake Forest in its ACC road opener. The game in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be the only game of the week for the Blue Devils, as they will have 10 days off until a home matchup with Florida State to close out the calendar year. While Duke remained idle, some teams in front of them in the last poll suffered a loss this week. As a result, Duke comes in at No. 14 in this week’s poll.  

Marquee mid-majors 

Every year, a few mid-major programs prove they have the chops to play with the cream of the crop in the power conferences. This year, it seems like the usual suspects are back: Houston and Gonzaga. This week, both teams pulled off victories that go a long way for them given the relative weakness of their conferences. The Cougars came out victorious in a top-five matchup against then-No. 2 Virginia, winning 69-61. Gonzaga, which has struggled against top competition this season, proved that it is still a contender, taking down then-No. 4 Alabama in a 100-90 win. The committee rewarded these programs for their impressive weeks as Houston moves up to No. 3 and Gonzaga climbs to No. 11.  

Separation from the pack 

As conference play begins and the new year arrives, it usually becomes easier to discern who the early favorites to cut down the nets are. The main tell is always the eye test, but some may tell you that records are the most important factor. If that’s the case, there are two clear-cut contenders: Purdue and UConn. Both teams are undefeated and have looked utterly dominant to this point. Both teams once again handled business this week, with Purdue downing Davidson and the Huskies taking down Butler. The college basketball world will see if things hold when conference play gets rolling, but the two programs look like the clear best teams in the country. The AP Poll agrees, as Purdue is No. 1 for the second-straight week, followed by UConn at No. 2.  

Complete rankings:

1. Purdue

2. UConn

3. Houston

4. Kansas

5. Arizona

6. Virginia

7. Texas

8. Tennessee

9. Alabama

10. Arkansas

11. Gonzaga 

12. Baylor

13. UCLA

14. Duke

15. Mississippi State

16. Illinois

17. Wisconsin

18. Indiana

19. Kentucky

20. TCU

21. Virginia Tech

22. Miami

23. Auburn

24. Marquette

25. Arizona State


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