Following a week where they were the only top-five ranked team to not suffer a loss, it appeared the Duke Blue Devils were in a position to take an awkward, undeserved stumble into the top spot of the rankings.
However, in a surprising turn of events, Indiana found themselves sitting atop the AP Poll for the second straight week despite losing to unranked Illinois earlier in the week. The decision to keep them on top wasn’t consensus by any means, with Indiana receiving just 26 first-place votes, No. 2 Duke receiving 20, No. 3 Miami receiving 17, and No. 5 Gonzaga picking up the final two votes.
I say this is a surprising turn of events because the voters finally broke formula. In the past, it was almost a written rule that a team must drop in the polls when they lose, regardless of the circumstances of the loss. For instance, Duke suffered a hard-fought, close loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh in their first game without Ryan Kelly a little over a month ago. One could easily argue Duke was still the best team in the land, but, following suit, the voters dropped them a few spots. Seeing Indiana stay atop the polls despite losing on the road to a desperate and talented team on a last-second shot excites me. I still don’t have much faith in the voters, but this restored some of it.
The Coaches Poll proved to be less open-minded, however, with Duke taking the generic rise to the No. 1 rank by grabbing 18 of the 31 first-place votes.
Indiana (6 first-place votes), Gonzaga (1), Miami (5), and Michigan (1) rounded out the top-five.