The Associated Press released their latest college basketball poll today and Duke, coming off their first loss of the season, found themselves falling back two spots to the No. 3 rank. The Blue Devils were surpassed by the Louisville Cardinals (16-1), a team they beat earlier in the season in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament final, and the Indiana Hoosiers (15-1), the preseason No. 1.
Duke still managed to pull in 14 first-place votes. This shouldn’t be too big of a surprise, as Duke was one of the last two teams in the entire nation to lose a game, with the other being the Michigan Wolverines, who suffered a 56-53 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. That, mixed with the fact that they were without Ryan Kelly on Saturday and that they’ve already defeated the newly No.1-ranked Louisville team, left a few voters feeling Coach K’s squad is still the best in the land.
I’ve expressed my view on rankings on here before and, as you may know, I think they’re silly and ultimately insignificant. Duke still is No. 1 in the RPI rankings, which tends to play a much bigger role come tournament time. Besides, we’ve all been through a college basketball season before; a lot of crap is going to happen between now and March. If you live and die with the rankings, you’re going to go insane.
So, that shiny No. 1 is all gone, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teams already want to give Duke their best shot, throwing a number that designates them as the best team in the country sort of does nothing but add fuel to the fire.