Luke DeCock

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 10

Villanova reclaims the No. 1 spot in Luke DeCock’s ballot after a crazy week of college basketball that saw 15 top-25 teams lose.
Villanova reclaims the No. 1 spot in Luke DeCock’s ballot after a crazy week of college basketball that saw 15 top-25 teams lose. AP

Chaos! Without question, the most difficult ballot of the season, although they’ll all probably be like this to some degree the rest of the way, if not quite this crazy. Villanova’s my new No. 1, although I gave a lot of thought to Virginia – and, for the record, I took a lot of criticism for putting Virginia fourth on my preseason ACC ballot ahead of Miami and Louisville. (Similarly, the people angry I left Arkansas out of this poll last week or who felt like I wasn’t giving Minnesota enough credit early in the season have gone quiet.)

A lot of good teams lost to other good teams – 15 of the top 25 lost at least once, including six games between ranked teams – leaving some weird movement like Kansas losing at home and only moving down one spot (because it was to Texas Tech, maybe the most underrated team in the country) or Oklahoma going 1-1 and moving up a spot (hard to penalize the Sooners too much for losing at West Virginia) or TCU moving up two spots despite a home loss to Kansas (because North Carolina and Arizona State went skidding past on their way down the rankings). All the losing led to a general restructuring that might not make as much sense based solely on this week’s results but does in the context of the entire season.

Joel Berry leads Tar Heel with 17 points. Tar Heels commit 19 turnovers against the Cavaliers on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.

This is good, though: Teams like Purdue and Texas Tech are now slotted where they should be, and I might have had them too low because it was hard to move them up while the teams above them continued to win. For me, there’s a big gap between the top seven teams and the rest of the pack, and Purdue and Texas Tech have to be in that lead group. Then there’s another grouping of six that’s generally interchangeable in the 8-13 range. North Carolina probably ends up back in that group eventually, but isn’t right now.

Krzyzewski credits the Wolfpack with their play and cites his teams youth and a bad effort on defense as they lose their second ACC game.

PAST BALLOTS

Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9

MY TOP 25

1. Villanova (Last week: 3)

2. Virginia (9)

3. West Virginia (4)

4. Michigan State (1)

5. Duke (2)

6. Purdue (12)

7. Texas Tech (15)

8. Wichita State (8)

9. Seton Hall (11)

10. Xavier (5)

11. Kansas (10)

12. Oklahoma (13)

13. Gonzaga (20)

14. TCU (16)

15. Arizona State (7)

16. North Carolina (6)

17. Notre Dame (21)

18. Cincinnati (24)

19. Clemson (25)

20. Auburn (NR)

21. Tennessee (22)

22. Arizona (17)

23. Kentucky (19)

24. Creighton (NR)

25. Miami (18)

OUT Texas A&M (14), Baylor (23)

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

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