Luke DeCock

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

UNC’s Roy Williams following loss at Michigan: ‘Right now we stink. Right now my coaching sucks’

North Carolina coach RoyWilliams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' loss at Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.
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North Carolina coach RoyWilliams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' loss at Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Nobody had a more impressive week than Michigan, with grade-A wins over North Carolina and Purdue (albeit both at home). Only Gonzaga has a better resume at this point, so the Wolverines jump Nevada and Virginia to move into the top four.

I struggled with what to do with Michigan State and North Carolina this week. As bad as the Tar Heels looked, it’s still a road loss to an elite team. (That’s less true of Michigan State’s loss at Louisville). At the same time, I think both of those teams are still clearly better than Buffalo, which kind of put a cap on how far down they could move – without selling short Buffalo’s underrated neutral-site win over San Francisco.

So North Carolina only ends up moving down one spot because of that dismal performance, but that has as much to do with the other teams in that neighborhood losing as well – Kansas State and Virginia Tech and Oregon. The Tar Heels (and Spartans) would have fallen farther if not for that.

Kansas remains No. 1, although you could slide a playing card (RIP Ricky Jay) between the Jayhawks and Gonzaga and Duke in terms of how close those teams are, and Michigan is right there as well with Nevada and Virginia on their tails. That group of six has separated itself a little bit at the moment from the rest of the pack, although Wisconsin – which I jumped nine spots from 25th to 16th – is coming on as fast as Brad Davison hits the floor after being breathed upon.

Last two teams out: Houston and St. John’s. Three new teams: Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma.


Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4


1. Kansas (Last week: 1)

2. Gonzaga (2)

3. Duke (3)

4. Michigan (6)

5. Nevada (4)

6. Virginia (5)

7. Tennessee (8)

8. Auburn (9)

9. Texas Tech (15)

10. Kentucky (11)

11. North Carolina (10)

12. Michigan State (7)

13. Buffalo (16)

14. Florida State (18)

15. Virginia Tech (13)

16. Wisconsin (25)

17. Mississippi State (19)

18. Arizona State (23)

19. Kansas State (12)

20. Furman (21)

21. Villanova (24)

22. Nebraska (NR)

23. Iowa State (NR)

24. Ohio State (17)

25. Oklahoma (NR)

OUT Oregon (14), Clemson (20), Purdue (22).

Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.