The new Associated Press top 25 men's basketball poll is out. Duke back at No. 1. N.C. State down to No. 18. Miami in at No. 25. That’s it for the ACC, though for the first time in a while North Carolina appeared in the “others receiving votes” category.
Here’s I voted this week, followed by some thoughts:
11. Michigan State
13. Kansas State
14. Ohio State
16. N.C. State
18. New Mexico
19. Notre Dame
21. Wichita State
23. Miami (Fla.)
--First off, lots of movement on my ballot this week. I dropped four teams I had ranked last week – San Diego State, Illinois, Marquette and Missouri – and replaced them in the poll with Cincinnati, Mississippi, Wichita State and Miami. Was tempted to drop UCLA, too, but decided not to penalize the Bruins that much to losing to Oregon, which just might be the best team in the Pac-12. Wichita State had one of the best wins of the week, against Creighton, and Miami earned its way on my ballot with its 4-0 start in the ACC.
--Duke is back at No. 1 in the poll, and back at No. 1 on my ballot. My logic there is simple: No team has more quality wins than the Blue Devils. And their lone loss came without Ryan Kelly, at N.C. State. So to me, Duke is the clear choice at No. 1. Three other teams received votes for No. 1: Michigan, Syracuse and Kansas. The Jayhawks’ lone loss came against Michigan State, by only three, but I’ve yet to be blown away by Kansas.
--Speaking of the Wolfpack, they dropped to No. 18, down from No. 14, in the poll this week. The Pack dropped four spots on my ballot, too, from 11th to 15th. I continue to have a difficult time figuring N.C. State out. Though maybe it’s not all that difficult, after all. The Wolfpack is capable of beating any team in the country, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them play for the national championship. But because of N.C. State’s ability to play down to its competition, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Pack didn’t come close to reaching their potential.
--UNC is back to receiving votes, but not from me. Or from anyone else other than John Feinstein, who put the Tar Heels at No. 23 on his ballot. I haven’t had UNC ranked since late November, though it has an opportunity this week to climb back into the rankings. Victories against Georgia Tech (on Wednesday) and at N.C. State (on Saturday) would put UNC back in the national discussion.