Duke now unanimous No. 1, Arizona falls out of AP Top 25
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017
By Aaron Beard
AP Basketball Writer
Duke pulled off two big comebacks to become the unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 men’s basketball poll. Now Arizona could use one of its own from a holiday-tournament stumble that dropped the Wildcats from No. 2 to out of the poll in a week.
The Blue Devils (8-0) were atop all 65 ballots in results released Monday after they won the PK80 Invitational’s Motion Bracket in Portland, Oregon. They picked up the 11 first-place votes that last week went to Arizona, with the Wildcats (3-3) turning in a stunning 0-3 showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
That made them the first team to go from No. 2 to unranked in a week since Louisville in 1986-87 after its own November tournament flop in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Kansas moved up to No. 2, followed by three teams that won Thanksgiving week tournaments: Michigan State (PK80 Invitational Victory Bracket), Villanova (Atlantis ) and Notre Dame (Maui Invitational).
Florida checked in at No. 6, followed by Kentucky, Wichita State, Texas A&M and Miami to round out the top 10.
It ultimately took only a month for the Blue Devils to convince all the poll voters that they’re the nation’s top team. They had roughly half the first-place votes (33) in the preseason poll, climbed to 54 votes after beating then-No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic in Chicago — and now own them all.
That came after Duke rallied from 16 down to beat Texas in overtime and then from 17 down to beat the Gators in their PK80 bracket championship game late Sunday, with star freshman Marvin Bagley III turning in huge performances (34 points and 15 rebounds against Texas, 30 points and 15 rebounds against Florida).
“It’s November, whatever happens we have to use it as the process of growth,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said afterward. “Our goal is to keep getting better.”
Reigning national champion North Carolina slid from No. 9 to No. 13 after its first loss since last season.
The Tar Heels (5-1) lost 63-45 to the Spartans in the PK80 Invitational Victory finale while shooting a program-record-low 24.6 percent. It was their first loss since falling to Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals in March, snapping an 11-game winning streak that included their win against Gonzaga for the 2017 title in Glendale, Arizona.
Notre Dame (6-0) made the biggest leap, climbing eight spots after rallying to beat Wichita State in the Maui title game. Texas A&M (6-0) was up seven spots from No. 16 to No. 9 after a road win at then-No. 10 Southern California. And Baylor (5-0) jumped from No. 22 to No. 16.
Arizona’s farewell aside, Xavier (5-1) took the biggest fall by going from No. 15 to No. 21 after losing to Arizona State in the Las Vegas Invitational title game. USC (4-1) slid four spots from No. 10 to No. 14 after the Texas A&M loss.
The Top 25 welcomed five new teams this week: No. 18 Virginia, No. 20 Arizona State, No. 22 Texas Tech, No. 23 TCU and No. 25 Creighton.
Joining Arizona on the list of teams falling out of the poll were Purdue (No. 18 last week), Seton Hall (from No. 20), St. Mary’s (from 21st) and UCLA (from 24th).