Jacob Levitt gives three weekly thoughts on the AP Poll.
1. Cupcakes, anyone?
There were no games between ranked teams this week, so—not surprisingly—the Top-25 did pretty well, with 24 of the teams combining to rack up a 31-0 record. The other team, No. 15 Missouri, hasn’t even played yet. No game was closer than eight points (No. 5 Pittsburgh over Rhode Island) and that was the only one decided by single digits. Most of the margins of victory were far, far larger.
2. The ACC doesn’t have depth… For Now
Behind No. 1 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina, the ACC would seem to be as strong at the top two spots as any league other than the Big Ten. But the only other ranked team in the conference is No. 22 Virginia Tech. By contrast, the Big Ten and Big 12 each have five ranked teams. The only major conference with fewer ranked teams is the Pac-10, which is represented by only No. 17 Washington. That said, don’t be shocked to see one or two more ACC teams in the poll soon. Florida State and Maryland both earned some votes, and NC State has picked up a lot of buzz because of its highly-touted freshmen, who will probably improve as the year goes on.
3. Duke’s Nearly Impossible Schedule
Mike Krzyzewski traditionally challenges his teams with tough early competition by entering the Preseason NIT and other early-season tournaments. Even Duke’s exhibition opponents are winners. But this year’s schedule goes beyond Krzyzewski’s usual gauntlet. After the Blue Devils complete their current homestand with games against Miami (OH) and Colgate (see cupcakes, above) Duke will travel to Kansas City where it will face Marquette and the winner of a game between No. 11 Gonzaga and No. 3 Kansas State on a court “neutral” in name only—the Wildcats are sure to have a lot more fans in the gym if the two meet. The Blue Devils won’t have much time to regroup after that, flying out to Oregon to face E.J. Singler and the Ducks. Follow that up with a home game against No. 2 Michigan State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. To top it off, No. 16 Butler will be waiting for Duke at the Izod Center in New Jersey three days later. The Bulldogs gave the Blue Devils a pretty good scare last time the teams met, and Butler is coming off a much easier week than Duke is this time around.