Top 25 rewind: Get ready for changes at the top of AP poll

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 11, 2017

RALEIGH (AP) — Duke kept winning through a packed-full schedule in the opening month to become the unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 .

Now that the Blue Devils have lost — along with No. 2 Kansas falling twice — don’t expect the same level of agreement on who should be atop Monday’s new poll.

The Blue Devils (11-1) lost at Boston College on Saturday in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener, three days after the Jayhawks lost to Washington in Kansas City, Missouri. That was part of a week that saw half of the top 10 lose at least once, including No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 9 Notre Dame.

Duke had managed to win several close calls to start the season, but the Blue Devils couldn’t repeat it against the Eagles. It was a reminder that despite all the talent — most notably Marvin Bagley III at the helm of a top-flight recruiting class — Duke needs to improve defensively and doesn’t have a lot of depth as of now.

“We told them the truth when they won their first 11 games, too,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, ‘that we were behind a few games and came back . that we’re still learning. This is a very young basketball team that just happened to win and be tough in 11 games.”

Kansas’ week

The Jayhawks, meanwhile, struggled to hit from outside against Washington’s zone (5 of 20 from 3-point range) and allowed the Huskies to shoot 48 percent in Wednesday’s 74-65 loss — which left Jayhawks senior Devonte Graham to say simply: “We really just didn’t have it tonight.”

Things didn’t get any better Sunday, with No. 16 Arizona State pulling away from the Jayhawks in the second half to win 95-85 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Sun Devils shine

Speaking of Arizona State, maybe it’s time to start paying closer attention to what Bobby Hurley’s unbeaten bunch is doing. The Sun Devils (9-0) are off to their best start since the 1974-75 season and have a second big win to go with one against now-No. 13 Xavier on Nov. 24.

New No. 1?

So after all the trouble at the top, who will rise to the No. 1 spot? No. 3 Michigan State and No. 4 Villanova each have a case.

The Spartans (9-1) suffered their only loss against Duke in the Champions Classic, but have since won the PK80 Invitational in a performance that included a dominant lockdown of reigning national champion North Carolina. Michigan State beat Rutgers and Southern Utah in the past week.

The Wildcats (10-0) earned an impressive win against No. 12 Gonzaga on Tuesday in New York, but they had to fight to the final minute Sunday to close out a La Salle team that entered at 5-5.

Tripped up twice

Florida, No. 14 Minnesota and No. 22 Nevada each lost two games to set themselves up for a fall, though the Gators’ stumbles were particularly glaring since both came at home.

Playing for the first time since blowing a 17-point second-half lead in a loss to Duke in the PK80, Florida (6-3) lost by 17 to Florida State on Monday. Two days later, the Gators led for all of 93 seconds in a 65-59 loss to Loyola Chicago. Florida salvaged a win Saturday against No. 17 Cincinnati in the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, New Jersey, to avoid a four-game skid.

The Gophers (8-3) lost at Nebraska in Big Ten play, then lost at Arkansas . The Wolf Pack (8-2) lost at Texas Tech in overtime and to No. 20 TCU in the Hall of Fame Basketball Classic in Los Angeles.

Start of a comeback?

Arizona’s 0-3 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas made the Wildcats the first team in three decades to go from No. 2 in the AP Top 25 to unranked in a week. But Arizona has won four straight games, including Tuesday’s win against Texas A&M followed by Saturday’s home win against Alabama .

The Wildcats also got some good news with the season debut of sophomore Rawle Alkins after a preseason foot injury.