Duke Basketball: Blue Devils in position to be No. 1 thanks to former PG

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The No. 2 Duke basketball team will likely jump to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll this week as a result of an upset win by a team that is coached by the greatest Blue Devil point guard in history.

If interested in succeeding Mike Krzyzewski as the head coach of the Duke basketball program one day — hopefully not any day soon — Bobby Hurley can now add a line to his résumé:

As head coach of Arizona St., I beat No. 1 Kansas, in part, to help No. 2 Duke, my alma mater, regain the top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll.

If nothing else, Duke basketball fans are appreciative of the feat by the New Jersey native, who was a back-to-back national champion as a Blue Devil — 1991 and 1992 — and remains the all-time NCAA leader in assists (1,079).

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The 47-year-old Hurley, who just celebrated his 100th win as a head coach last week, guided his No. 19 Sun Devils to an 80-76 home win over the previously unbeaten Jayhawks on Saturday night.

ALSO READ: Bobby Hurley wins his 100th game 25 years after his accident

With the win, which included a comeback after ASU trailed by eight at the half, Hurley’s squad moved to 9-2 on the season.

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More importantly to Duke fans, though, the upset all but ensures the 11-1 Blue Devils will take over the No. 1 ranking that they gave up following their season’s only blemish, an 89-87 loss to Gonzaga in Maui the day before Thanksgiving.

Although it’s possible a team could leapfrog Duke — after all, there is one voter who likes to show off his right to vote and his disdain for the Blue Devils by refusing to put them in his top 25 until after they play their first road game in January — there is no team in the rearview mirror that had a win worth writing home about this week.

None of the three teams behind Duke in the last poll — Tennessee, Michigan, and Virginia, respectively — lost this week, but the best win between them was either the Volunteers’ home win over then-6-3 Wake Forest or the Cavaliers’ road win over then-4-5 South Carolina.

In other words, no team is more deserving of the No. 1 ranking — at least based on the rankings of the teams entering the week combined with the results of the teams ever since — than Duke, who beat previously unbeaten Texas Tech, ranked No. 12, by 11 points in Madison Square Garden on Thursday two days after demolishing Princeton by 51 at home.

Again, though, as pointed out above, rational reasoning is not always the AP voters’ strong suit.

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If the Blue Devils do end up No. 1 in the poll, which will be released on Monday, Christmas Eve, they will likely stay there at least two weeks since their next game is not until Jan. 5 at home against Clemson.