Blue Devils take over No. 1 in poll
Nine months after the indignity of an early round exit from the NCAA Tournament, Duke is on top of the men’s college basketball world again.
The Blue Devils (9-0) are ranked No. 1 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, which was released Monday.
Ranked No. 2 for the previous three weeks, the Blue Devils moved into the No. 1 spot after Indiana lost to Butler 88-86 on Saturday. The Hoosiers had been No.1 since the preseason.
“We are excited about being ranked No. 1,” Duke senior center Mason Plumlee said. “Part of the reason you come to Duke is to play for a top ranked team, but we are really just focused on improving as a team each day.
“We are a mature group, and we want to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season. We feel like we are playing as well as anyone in the country, and we want that to continue.”
After losing to Lehigh on the opening weekend of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Duke has started this season playing as well as anyone in the country. The Blue Devils already own wins over three teams in this week’s Top 25 — No. 5 Louisville, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 13 Minnesota.
Duke also has defeated Kentucky and VCU, two teams that received votes but didn’t crack the Top 25 this week.
Duke received 62 first-place votes from the 65-member national panel of journalists this week. Michigan (11-0), ranked No. 2, received the other three votes. Syracuse, Arizona and Louisville rounded out the top five.
Indiana fell to No. 6, while Butler, previously unranked, moved into the poll at No. 19.
After Indiana, the rest of the top 10 includes Ohio State, Florida, Kansas and Illinois.
North Carolina is No. 23 while N.C. State remained at No. 25.
This marks the 11th season in the past 16 that Duke has spent at least one week at No. 1 in the AP poll.
It is the 123rd week Duke has been ranked No. 1, 11 weeks behind UCLA. All but 31 weeks of Duke’s stay on top have come since the 1991-92 season.
UNC, with 107 weeks atop the poll, is the only other school besides UCLA and Duke to have been ranked No. 1 in at least 100 polls.
Duke was most recently was ranked No. 1 during the 2010-11 season. The Blue Devils were No. 1 for the season’s first 10 weeks and also during the week beginning Feb. 21, 2011.
The Blue Devils haven’t played since beating Temple 90-67 at East Rutherford, N.J., on Dec. 8. Duke returns to the court this week for two games at Cameron Indoor Stadium: Cornell on Wednesday and Elon on Thursday. Both games start at 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPNU.
AP TOP 25
Records Through Dec. 16
1. Duke (62)|9-0|1,622|2
2. Michigan (3)|11-0|1,543|3
7. Ohio St.|8-1|1,249|7
16. New Mexico|11-0|548|17
18. San Diego St.|8-1|493|18
20. Michigan St.|9-2|343|19
22. Notre Dame|9-1|291|22
23. North Carolina|8-2|256|21
24. Oklahoma St.|8-1|244|24
25. N.C. State|7-2|198|25
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES — Oregon 176, Pittsburgh 158, Kentucky 41, Wyoming 14, Marquette 8, VCU 7, Wichita St. 6, Murray St. 4, UConn 4, Miami 3, Maryland 2, Bucknell 1.