Luke DeCock

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 7

One of those quiet December weeks with half the teams under consideration taking exams and everyone else playing sparingly – except Villanova, which lost twice and drops from 16th to no-longer-under consideration for the foreseeable (and likely indefinite) future, even if the losses were to (potential future Big 5 champion and top-25 team) Penn and (my No. 1 team) Kansas.

Tennessee fans will be thrilled to see their team is ahead of Gonzaga this week; congrats, don’t spend it all in one place. The Zags, by the way, are going to be fine. With the schedule they have played, the first four rounds of the NCAA tournament are going to feel like a Swedish massage. Don’t be surprised if they rip off 21 in a row to wrap up the regular season, with games at San Francisco (Jan. 12) and St. Mary’s (March 2) posing the biggest hurdles.

N.C. State makes its debut at No. 25, now that it has started playing (and beating) a few teams from actual multiple-bid conferences. It’s all on the line Wednesday against Auburn, a game that’s really an analytical coin flip with the Wolfpack’s home-court advantage.

THIS SEASON’S BALLOTS

Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6

MY TOP 25

1. Kansas (Last week: 1)

2. Duke (2)

3. Michigan (3)

4. Nevada (4)

5. Virginia (6)

6. Tennessee (7)

7. Auburn (8)

8. Texas Tech (9)

9. Michigan State (10)

10. North Carolina (11)

11. Gonzaga (5)

12. Buffalo (12)

13. Florida State (13)

14. Virginia Tech (14)

15. Mississippi State (15)

16. Ohio State (17)

17. Furman (18)

18. Wisconsin (19)

19. Oklahoma (20)

20. Arizona State (21)

21. Indiana (22)

22. Houston (23)

23. Marquette (24)

24. Kentucky (25)

25. NC State (NR)

OUT Villanova (16).

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Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered four Final Fours, the Summer Olympics, 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.
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