Duke, for the first time in nearly five years, is unranked in the latest AP Top 25 polls, which was released Monday. Last week, the Blue Devils were ranked No. 19 before falling short to ranked Virginia Tech on Tuesday. The 74-67 loss dropped Duke to 5-3 on the season, 3-1 in conference play. It’s the first time they have not been ranked in the AP Poll since Feb. 2016.
Today's poll is the 1,213th in AP history and just the 14th time that Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina are all unranked.
The last time that happened was on Dec. 18, 1961 – when only 10 teams were included in the AP Poll each week. pic.twitter.com/OZ8pRtnCie
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 18, 2021
Duke started the year as the AP Preseason No. 9 team, rising all the way to No. 6, before dropping to No. 10 and then the mid-20’s before falling out. Monday evening was a prime example of why they no longer remain in the polls. Their slow start and lack of intensity was highlighted in the loss to the Hokies. A little over 11 minutes into the game, the Blue Devils were already down 31-14. Having to rally back has been a difficult task for the team all year long, as they’ve fallen to double-digits deficits in each of its three losses this season.
Another struggle that’s become apparent from the Blue Devils in 2020-21 is production and consistency. Besides sophomore Matthew Hurt, who has been averaging 20 points per game, Duke hasn’t been able to find multiple contributors or any sparks from the bench. In the loss to the Hokies, three starters had 56 of the team’s 67 total points. This included guard Jeremy Roach’s season-high of 22 points. Alongside Roach in the backcourt, point guard DJ Steward was able to drop 14. However, as effective as they were against Virginia Tech, they haven’t been bringing the same energy frequently throughout the year. Both Roach and Steward have been streaky scorers in games and inefficient at times.
Despite the overall negativity surrounding Duke, the Blue Devils have a great chance to get things straight, as they have two road games against Pittsburgh and Louisville this week. The roster will be healthy once again, as rookie forward Jalen Johnson made a brief return in Monday night’s game and will look to play this week.
Duke is not the only team that has struggled in the ACC in 2021. Not only did the Blue Devils drop out, but so too did Louisville after it fell to Miami on the road on Saturday. Clemson was dominated by Virginia, losing 85-50 and falling eight spots to No. 20 in this week’s rankings.
As for the rest of college basketball, Gonzaga and Baylor unsurprisingly continue to separate themselves from the pack at No. 1 and No. 2. Michigan suffered its first loss of the season, and Texas, Kansas, Creighton and Wisconsin also had their setbacks.
Both Clemson and Illinois dropped 8 spots to No. 20 and 22, respectively. They have both taken tough losses recently.
Ohio State moved up to No. 15 after a solid win over Illinois.
Minnesota slid up 6 spots to No. 17 after a big win over undefeated Michigan.
Alabama jumped from unranked to No. 18 this week after improving to 6-0 in the SEC with their seventh consecutive win.
UCLA improved to 11-2 and 7-0 in the Pac-12 with consecutive wins over Washington State and Washington. They are now ranked No. 24.
ACC programs Duke and Louisville fell out of the polls after recent losses.
Here is the latest AP poll:
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- Ohio State
- Virginia Tech
- Saint Louis
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