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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke men's basketball jumps to No. 16 after home win against Florida State

Dariq Whitehead slams down a dunk against Maryland Eastern Shore.
Dariq Whitehead slams down a dunk against Maryland Eastern Shore.

With the turn of the new year comes a new installment of the Blue Zone's thoughts on the most recent AP Poll. This week, Duke's win against Florida State saw it jump to No. 16:

Back to winning ways

The Blue Devils avoided catastrophe in their home win against Florida State on New Year’s Eve. Jaylen Blakes and Ryan Young led the way for Duke, combining for 37 points. Young did not miss a shot—7-of-7 from the field and 6-6 from the line—and grabbed 12 rebounds en route to his second double-double in a Blue Devil uniform. While the majority of Duke’s big freshman names didn’t have outstanding games, Dariq Whitehead posted 16 points, his career high. Moving to 11-3, Duke jumps to No. 16 in the AP Top 25, one rank higher than last week. This week, Duke travels to N.C. State and Boston College, and, to stay ranked, will need to take care of business in both as favorites. 

Major Big East upset

Undefeated no more. No. 22 Xavier took down No. 2 UConn at home Saturday 83-73 in the week’s top upset. For the Musketeers, junior guard Colby Jones had a big game, recording an impressive stat line of 16 points, four rebounds and five assists. Star sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins struggled for UConn, shooting just 33% from the field with 11 points. As a result of the upset, Xavier rose four spots to No. 18, and the Huskies slid to No. 4. It’s easy to say that Duke’s early-season 71-64 victory holds even greater importance as the Musketeers continue to win.  

New year, new teams

No. 23 Charleston and No. 20 Missouri entered the poll for the first time this year as both teams continue to impress. With just one 95-67 loss to No. 3 Kansas and an excellent 89-75 win over then-No. 19 Kentucky, the Tigers enter the new year with loads of momentum. The Associated Press had no choice but to throw Charleston in this week’s rankings as the Cougars continue to impress, albeit with an easy schedule. Charleston’ signature 77-75 win came on a neutral court against Virginia Tech, and its sole loss was a 102-86 defeat at North Carolina. To keep climbing the ranks, both Charleston and Missouri must continue their improbable successes in 2023. 

Full Rankings

1. Purdue

2. Houston

3. Kansas

4. UConn

5. Arizona

6. Texas

7. Alabama

8. Tennessee

9. Gonzaga

10. UCLA

11. Virginia

12. Miami (FL)

13. Arkansas

14. Wisconsin

15. Indiana

16. Duke

17. TCU

18. Xavier

19. Baylor

20. Missouri

21. New Mexico

22. Auburn

23. Charleston

24. Ohio State

25. Iowa State

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