AP Top 25 Ballot (Feb. 17 poll)

Feb. 16, 2014 @ 10:52 PM

Back in November, Duke and North Carolina were in the Top 25 and the world seemed right.

Weird things have happened since then. UNC waited for PJ Hairston, who was never allowed to suit up and the Tar Heels lost at home to Belmont and Miami. and let Jeff Bzdelik get the better of them.

Duke lost its first two ACC road games and not only dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in six years, but nearly fell out of the top 25 altogther.

All of this happened without them facing each other, thanks to Mother Nature.

So this week, for the Feb. 17 poll, I have the Blue Devils back in the top five on the strength of their six weeks of solid play. Duke (20-5) has won eight of its last nine games.

UNC (17-7) has won six games in a row and seven of its last eight and finds itself fourth in the ACC. That's good enough for me to slide them back in at No. 25.

If enough of my fellow voters agree, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels will both be in the top 25 when they finally play this Thursday in Chapel Hill.

It's as it should be.

Elsewhere, I'm moving Saint Louis U into the top 10. Good Lord. They've won 17 games in a row and will be a tough team next month. I hope our paths cross during tournament time.

Last week, 13 of the Top 25 teams lost games. The losses suffered by SMU and Pitt will drop them out of the top 25 (although I'll mention here that I sent the Panthers packing last week).

March will be mad indeed.

Here's the full ballot:

1. Syracuse

2. Florida

3. Wichita State

4. Arizona

5. Duke

6. Kansas

7. Cincinnati

8. Saint Louis

9. San Diego State

10. Villanova

11. Louisville

12. Virginia

13. Creighton

14. Michigan State

15. Iowa

16. Kentucky

17. Iowa State

18. Texas

19. Wisconsin

20. Michigan

21. UConn

22. Memphis

23. Ohio State.

24. Gonzaga

25. North Carolina