Duke basketball: Predicting a big jump from Blue Devils

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team is again clicking on all cylinders.

Last week, following a lackluster win at home over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-9, 1-5 ACC) and a loss in Durham to the Miami Hurricanes (13-4, 5-1 ACC), Duke basketball dropped from No. 2 to No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.

Fast forward to this week, and the program is singing a sweeter tune. So when the updated rankings come out on Monday, the Duke Blue Devils (14-2, 4-1 ACC) should be in store for a considerable jump.

Indeed, they are now well-deserving to regain a top-five status considering their lofty pre-conference resume. Pair that with crisp performances in Duke’s pair of double-digit W’s from last week: on the road against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-4, 4-3 ACC) on Wednesday and at home against the NC State Wolfpack (9-9, 2-5 ACC) on Saturday.

Duke basketball to get help from several losses among top 10

Starting at the top, the Blue Devils could rise above the suddenly struggling No. 1 Baylor Bears (15-2, 3-2 Big 12), who lost two home games last week. The most recent was Saturday’s 61-54 defeat by the mediocre Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-7, 2-3 Big 12).

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the No. 3 UCLA Bruins (11-2, 3-1 Pac-12) dropped a home bout to the unranked Oregon Ducks (11-6, 4-2 Pac-12). Therefore, they too might now see Duke above them in the AP Poll.

Speaking of the Ducks, they also knocked off the No. 5 Southern Cal Trojans (14-2, 4-2 Pac-12) in Los Angeles on Saturday. Plus, the previously unbeaten Trojans fell on the road to the unranked Stanford Cardinal (10-5, 3-2 Pac-12) on Tuesday and still lack a signature win this season. Yes, all those facts equate to yet another squad potentially dipping below the Blue Devils.

Finally, there’s a decent chance Duke leapfrogs the No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers (14-2, 3-2 Big Ten). After all, their only feat since the last poll came out was an easy home victory over the conference’s cellar-dweller Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-12, 0-7 Big Ten) on Friday.

Prediction: Duke rises to No. 5 for Week 11.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on the 2021-22 Blue Devil rankings plus other Duke basketball news and views.