Luke DeCock

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 5

Duke plays sloppy second half but still comes out on top with 96-80 win

Blue Devils easily handle South Dakota Coyotes to remain undefeated after grueling road schedule ends
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Blue Devils easily handle South Dakota Coyotes to remain undefeated after grueling road schedule ends

Duke’s still No. 1, and the core of the top 10 remains the same, minus Cincinnati. The biggest mover was Miami (after a good win at Minnesota) but I still have Virginia slightly ahead, as I have all season. I expect I’ll remain higher on Nevada than other voters this week, although if Nevada beats Texas Tech and TCU this week, there will be no shortage of believers then.

And after erroneously voting Xavier 12th last week, the Musketeers rewarded my accidentally misplaced faith with big wins over Baylor and Cincinnati to move from 21st, where they should have been, to (a more appropriate) 15th. Cincinnati takes a big fall from fourth after losing to Xavier in the first tough game the Bearcats played. My faith in them was legitimately misplaced, and it’s tough to put them ahead of Xavier or Arizona State (which beat Xavier).

Valparaiso gets the nod at 25, which may be a week early; the 8-0 Crusaders will need to beat Purdue on Thursday to justify that position.

MY TOP 25

1. Duke (Last week: 1)

2. Kansas (2)

3. Villanova (3)

4. Michigan State (5)

5. Texas A&M (6)

6. Kentucky (8)

7. Florida (9)

8. Notre Dame (7)

9. North Carolina (10)

10. Wichita State (11)

11. Virginia (14)

12. Miami (17)

13. West Virginia (15)

14. Gonzaga (16)

15. Xavier (12*)

16. Seton Hall (21)

17. Nevada (19)

18. Arizona State (NR)

19. Cincinnati (4)

20. TCU (24)

21. Minnesota (20)

22. Tennessee (NR)

23. Baylor (13)

24. Purdue (NR)

25. Valparaiso (NR)

OUT: Louisville (18), Southern Cal (22), Alabama (23), Texas Tech (25)

*Xavier was erroneously placed at 12 instead of 21 on my ballot last week.

Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, ldecock@newsobserver.com, @Luke DeCock

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