Following an action-packed week of college basketball, a new AP poll dropped Monday afternoon. With some key changes in the rankings for teams in the hunt for their conference titles, the Blue Zone takes a look at the latest poll:
After a demoralizing loss in Chapel Hill last Saturday, Duke needed to bounce back quickly if it wanted to stay in the thick of the ACC title race. The Blue Devils did just that, dismantling two weaker teams at home in Notre Dame and Boston College to improve to 18-5 on the season and No. 9 this week in the rankings. In Wednesday night’s matchup against the Fighting Irish, head coach Jon Scheyer’s team played stifling defense, holding the visitors to 33.9% shooting and tallying 10 steals. Against the Eagles, Duke spread the wealth en route to a 15-point victory, with all five starters scoring in double figures and Mark Mitchell leading the pack with 17 points and seven rebounds. Next up, the Blue Devils will host Wake Forest Monday night in a pivotal game for the ACC standings.
Big 12 bunchup
This season, the Big 12 has been touted as likely the best conference in college hoops, and this week proved the overall depth of the league. Starting on Monday, Kansas traveled to its in-state rival Kansas State and got locked into a cage match, with the Wildcats emerging in a thrilling overtime victory. On Tuesday, two more ranked teams went down in the league, as Baylor took down Texas Tech and Oklahoma upset BYU. But unfortunately for the Bears, their good fortunes did not carry over into the weekend slate, as they traveled to Lawrence, Kan., to take on the Jayhawks. After an overall poor performance, head coach Scott Drew’s team had a chance to win at the buzzer that failed, a brutal blow to their conference title chances. This week, Kansas lands at No. 6, Baylor at No. 12, BYU at No. 19 and Texas Tech falls out of the poll.
As it stands, mid-majors have a hard time making a case to be placed in the top 25, as they usually need to dominate their leagues and amass an extremely large number of wins. This week, the non-major conference schools currently slotted in the poll did not help their cases, as all five of them suffered at least one loss. In the Mountain West, all three of the league’s top teams had a misstep, with Utah State and San Diego State both falling to Nevada, and New Mexico dropping a contest to UNLV. All three teams slipped out of the rankings this week. In the Atlantic 10, Dayton lost to VCU in a rock fight, and Florida Atlantic lost to UAB to tighten up the American Athletic Conference standings. On the bright side for mid-major fans, Gonzaga picked up their first Quadrant 1 win of the season as it took down Kentucky at Rupp Arena, and the Wildcats fell to No. 22 this week.
- North Carolina
- Iowa State
- South Carolina
- Saint Mary’s
- Indiana State
- Florida Atlantic
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