Duke basketball: Entire ACC still mooching off Blue Devils

Duke basketball (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) /

The ACC should thank Duke basketball for keeping it respectable these days.

If not for the Duke basketball program, the ACC would currently have zero representatives in the AP Top 25 Poll. Yes, remarkably, for the fourth consecutive week, the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (7-1, 0-0 ACC) are the only ranked ACC team.

And the UNC Tar Heels (7-2, 1-0 ACC) are the only team from the conference among the 13 “others receiving votes” in this latest edition, which came out on Monday. UNC trails only the Wisconsin Badgers in this regard, in effect making the Tar Heels No. 27 in the country at this juncture.

Although most experts had projected yet another relatively down year for the conference, remember that the Preseason AP Top 25 Poll included four ACC teams: Duke at No. 9, UNC at No. 19, the Florida State Seminoles at No. 20, and the Virginia Cavaliers at No. 25.

Duke basketball jump without even playing

Despite not taking the court since a Nov. 30 road loss to the now-No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Blue Devils rose from No. 3 to No. 2 this week, now trailing only the reigning-champ Baylor Bears. Duke’s move results from the former No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers coming up short away from home against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Thursday night.

Purdue, the UCLA Bruins, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs now round out the top five, respectively.

Before Ohio State overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to hand Duke its only defeat to date, the Blue Devils held down the top spot in the rankings for one week following a win on Nov. 26 in Las Vegas against then-No. 1 Gonzaga.

Next. Predicting every Duke basketball win and loss this season. dark

The Duke Blue Devils return to action at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday when they host the South Carolina State Bulldogs (4-7). Then they will host the Appalachian State Mountaineers (5-5) at 7 p.m. ET Thursday.