For the 11th time in the past 16 seasons, Duke has earned a No. 1 ranking in the polls.
The Blue Devils (9-0) received 62 of 65 first-place votes in The Associated Press poll and 30 of 31 top votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Its the first time Duke has been ranked No. 1 since the 2010-11 season.
We are excited about being ranked No. 1, senior Mason Plumlee said in a statement released by the school. Part of the reason you come to Duke is to play for a top-ranked team, but we are really just focused on improving as a team each day.
The Blue Devils have played more games ranked No. 1 (209) than as an unranked squad (141) under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Duke has been ranked No. 1 123 weeks, second-most in NCAA history behind UCLA (134), with Krzyzewski serving as the coach for 105 of those weeks.
This year, Duke has played the toughest schedule in the nation, defeating three teams (Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State) that were in the top 5 at the time of the matchup. Three of the Blue Devils wins have come against teams currently ranked in the top 13 (Louisville, Ohio State and Minnesota).Two other former opponents (Kentucky and VCU) also received votes.
Krzyzewski, who has been at Duke since the 1980-81 season, has had just one recruiting class that has not played as the No. 1 team. The 1984-85 senior class of Todd Anderson, Jay Bryan and Danny Meagher played as the No. 2 team for nine weeks in 1984-85 but never reached No. 1. Every group since has been on top.
This senior class of Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Todd Zaviroski has played as the No. 1 team for 20 weeks, including this week. The group also won the 2010 national championship.
We are a mature group and we want to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season, Plumlee said. We feel like we are playing as well as anyone in the country and we want that to continue.
Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley