Another week, another handful of upsets in college basketball. While Duke walked away from the week with two conference road wins, other top teams like Michigan and Kansas didn’t fare as well. Here’s the biggest questions coming from this week’s AP Poll.
A New Top-Two Emerges
Saturday night pitted two top-three teams against each other in a matchup for Big Ten supremacy. Michigan’s loss this week in a hostile road environment at now No. 1 Indiana dropped the Wolverines to No. 3. The loss made this the fifth consecutive week that the No. 1 ranked team suffered a defeat and fell out of the top slot. Michigan could not quite recover from a sluggish start, which put them in a 26-11 hole fewer than nine minutes into the game. Previous No. 2 Kansas also lost this week at home to now No. 22 Oklahoma State. The loss snapped a 33 game home win streak for the Jayhawks, and caused them to drop to No. 5 overall. Florida slotted into the No. 2 spot this week after two blowout victories over South Carolina and then-No. 16 Ole Miss.
Duke moves up in the top-five
As a result of the Kansas loss, Duke was able to move to No. 4 after two conference road victories, the second of which was in convincing fashion in Tallahassee over Florida State. Conference road games are never easy, so the two wins this week show encouraging signs for the Blue Devils going into a huge home game against N.C. State on Thursday. Duke won this week while playing two very different offensive styles. Against Wake Forest, they pounded the ball inside to Mason Plumlee constantly. Plumlee answered the call scoring a career-high 32 points, making an outstanding 12-of-15 shots from the field. On Saturday, Duke followed up a 2-14 performance from behind the arc by draining 11-of-18 threes, or 61 percent of their attempts. Quinn Cook and Seth Curry combined to go 9-13 from three and scored 39 total points. This ability to win games in different ways is crucial to the Blue Devils’ success going forward, especially with Ryan Kelly sidelined.
Miami: National Championship Contender?
After dropping games early in the season to the likes of Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State, it was easy to think that Miami would have another pedestrian season. However, they have caught fire in the last month and currently sit atop the ACC by two full games with a perfect 8-0 record. They have moved from unranked in the polls three weeks ago all the way up to No. 8. The latest impressive victory occurred Saturday at N.C. State, where Reggie Johnson tipped in Shane Larkin’s miss with less than a second on the clock to win by one. The fact that Miami was able to shoot 3-21 from three point range and still knock off a very good team on the road is a testament to how complete a team they have become. Every Duke fan knows what it’s like when Miami shoots the ball well from three, and therefore, it would be crazy not to have them in the discussion for teams with a good chance at a Final Four run.