Dukeis back in a familiar place — No. 1.
The Blue Devils advanced one spot to replace Indiana at the top of The Associated Press’ Top 25 on Monday, drawing closer to UCLA’s record for most No. 1 rankings.
Duke has reached No. 1 at least once in a record 16 seasons under coach Mike Krzyzewski, and has played more games as the No. 1 ranked team in 33 years under Coach K (209) than as an unranked team (141).
No team in the country has the resume that the Blue Devils do: They own three wins over teams ranked in the top five at the time — then-No. 3 Kentucky, then-No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 4 Ohio State, all in a span of 16 days.
“We’re proud of it. I think it’s a lot different than a preseason ranking,” forward Mason Plumlee said. “We feel like we’ve earned it, not like we’ve been given anything. (But) if we don’t get any better during the season, we’re not going to be No. 1 at the end of the season.”
Indiana (9-1) held the top spot from the preseason poll through the first five weeks of the season. Butler beat the Hoosiers 88-86 in overtime Saturday.
The Blue Devils (9-0), whose only game in the past 2½ weeks was a victory over Temple on Dec. 8, received 62 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.
They will debut their latest No. 1 ranking at home Wednesday night against Cornell.
“I don’t anticipate us being rusty — if anything, we might be a little overanxious to play,” Plumlee said. “This team loves to play, so when we don’t get a game in a week or so, you can get a little anxious.”
It is the 123rd week Duke has been ranked No. 1, 11 weeks behind UCLA. All but 31 weeks of Duke’s stay on top have come since the 1991-92 season. The Blue Devils’ last time at No. 1 was an 11-week run in 2010-11.
“We even know when we watch film on a team that they’ll be a different team against us because that’s almost always the case,” Plumlee said. “They’ll shoot a little better, play a little better and maybe the No. 1 ranking adds to that. We consistently get teams’ best (effort).”
Michigan (11-0), which received the other No. 1 votes, and Syracuse moved up one place each to second and third. They were followed in the top 10 by Arizona, Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State, Florida, Kansas and Illinois.
Butler (8-2), which beat then-No. 9 North Carolina last month in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, moved into the poll at No. 19. This is the Bulldogs’ first appearance in the rankings since the first week of 2010-11.
Wichita State (9-1) dropped out from 23rd after losing 69-60 at Tennessee. The Shockers spent two weeks in the rankings.
North Carolina, with 107 weeks, is the only other school ranked No. 1 for at least 100 polls.
Source: The Associated Press