Following Saturday's win against North Carolina, the regular season is officially in the rearview for the Blue Devils. A new AP Poll was released Monday afternoon, and Duke's recent performance puts it at No. 21:
Red-hot Blue Devils
Despite posting a negative away record and playing some sloppy basketball at points this season — remember Duke's 24-point loss at N.C. State and 22-point defeat at Miami — the Blue Devils leave the regular season as one of the country's most in-form teams. Duke has won six games on the bounce following its controversial overtime heartbreaker against then-No. 8 Virginia, including commanding victories against Syracuse and Virginia Tech and a pair of in-state triumphs against the Wolfpack and Tar Heels. This has coincided with the rise of Dereck Lively II on the defensive end and backcourt renaissance of Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach on the offensive end, who have established themselves as one of the most dangerous and dynamic guard duos in the conference. Freshman center Kyle Filipowski has continued to be a consistent scorer and reliable rebounder with 14 double-doubles to his name, while Mark Mitchell's contributions on both ends of the floor have improved game by game.
Head coach Jon Scheyer became the first in school history to finish his debut season unbeaten at home, and a six-game winning run to close the year out is exactly what one wants heading into the madness of March. With the Blue Devils now back in the top-25 fold at No. 21, the ACC tournament awaits this week.
ACC's wild finish
While the story of the weekend was likely Duke's five-point triumph in Chapel Hill, the rest of the conference saw its fair share of chaos, too. For starters, Virginia got back to winning ways after crushing losses at Boston College and North Carolina, earning it a share of the ACC regular season title with Miami. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, held off a determined Pittsburgh team to oust the Panthers from the top of the conference table, winning 78-76 after a shocking defeat to rivals Florida State. This week's poll saw the Cavaliers shift to No. 13 and the Hurricanes sit at No. 14.
Elsewhere, North Carolina looks like it will have to win the ACC tournament to make the postseason — the first time in history a preseason No. 1 would miss the tournament — and now-unranked Pittsburgh, despite two losses this week, likely has a NCAA berth locked up. But anything can happen in college basketball's most erratic conference, and this week's ACC tournament can undoubtedly spring some surprises.
Shakeup in the SEC
The SEC has quietly nudged itself into the argument for college basketball's best conference. However, its best teams struggled this week. While No. 23 Kentucky continued to silence critics after a torrid start to the season, the Wildcats still dropped a contest against Vanderbilt. Tennessee lost against Auburn for its fifth road defeat in a row, dropping the Volunteers five spots to No. 17. The biggest shock of the week came in College Station, Texas, though, where then-No. 2 Alabama got outplayed en route to a 67-61 loss to then-No. 24 Texas A&M. A turbulent week shows in the latest rankings, with the Crimson Tide falling to No. 4 and the Aggies surging to No. 18.
12. Kansas State
14. Miami (FL)
16. Saint Mary's
18. Texas A&M
20. San Diego State
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Andrew Long is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.