Luke DeCock

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 16

Grayson Allen says this might have been Duke's biggest win

Duke senior guard Grayson Allen talks about the Blue Devils' hard-fought 66-57 win over Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.
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Duke senior guard Grayson Allen talks about the Blue Devils' hard-fought 66-57 win over Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.

A whopping 16 of the 25 teams on my ballot last week lost this week – six even managed to lose twice, including Texas A&M. which jumped onto my ballot at No. 17 last week and jumps right back off – which opens the door for a few new teams to move onto my ballot for the first time and led to some general reshuffling.

So please welcome Houston and Middle Tennessee State, and welcome back Nevada and Florida State. I gave heavy consideration to N.C. State and Baylor for that 25th spot and would also have considered Penn State with a win over Purdue. The Blue Raiders were slightly ahead of N.C. State on analytics and slightly ahead of Baylor on top-100 wins.

The toughest question was what to do with Villanova, which lost again. The Wildcats have a top-two resume but it's hard to move them up from fourth after a second straight 1-1 week while other teams are winning tough games. Duke gets the nod in the No. 3 spot instead, with solid wins over Virginia Tech and at Clemson. Red-hot North Carolina is right behind Villanova.

One other slightly odd movement: Gonzaga drops two spots despite two (insignificant) wins as Duke, UNC and Kansas move up. It's not really the Zags' fault that they're playing blah games this time of year while those power-conference teams are playing (and beating) future NCAA invitees, but that's just how it works. Gonzaga remains in the top 10, which is fair.

PAST BALLOTS

Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15

MY TOP 25

1. Michigan State (Last week: 1)

2. Virginia (3)

3. Duke (10)

4. Villanova (4)

5. North Carolina (13)

6. Xavier (2)

7. Purdue (5)

8. Kansas (15)

9. Gonzaga (7)

10. Auburn (8)

11. Texas Tech (9)

12. Cincinnati (6)

13. Arizona (19)

14. Wichita State (21)

15. Ohio State (11)

16. Clemson (12)

17. Tennessee (14)

18. Michigan (22)

19. Nevada (NR)

20. Houston (NR)

21. Rhode Island (16)

22. St Mary's (18)

23. Florida State (NR)

24. West Virginia (23)

25. Middle Tennessee State (NR)

OUT Texas A&M (17), Florida (20), New Mexico State (24), Creighton (25)

Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, @Luke DeCock

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