Luke DeCock

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 11

Duke’s Cam Reddish talks about his last second shot that beat Florida State

Freshman forward hits a three point shot to beat the FSU Seminoles with less than a second left in the game
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Freshman forward hits a three point shot to beat the FSU Seminoles with less than a second left in the game

North Carolina picked a good week to suffer the worst home loss of the Roy Williams era; the Tar Heels drop only three spots because of the absolute carnage elsewhere. N.C. State drops only two. For a team in the teens, going 1-1 (with a good road win) was a pretty good week as it turns out.

More than half of the teams on last week’s ballot suffered at least one loss and seven(!) lost twice. All seven exit the poll, and the only one that was under serious consideration to remain was previous No. 12 Mississippi State, which was one of the last two teams out. All that shuffling gave Maryland a chance to jump from unranked all the way to 13 after a pair of nice wins (at Minnesota, vs. Indiana) and Mississippi to 16 (vs. Auburn, at Mississippi State) as well.

All of this is a reflection of the divide between the dozen or so at the top of the college basketball that have distinguished themselves and the rest of the top 50, which is sort of a mishmash. Dropping from 12 to 26 or 27 isn’t a slam of Mississippi State as much as it is a function of how little there is to separate teams in the 15-40 range, which makes for some week-to-week volatility.

Williams addresses the media following a 21 point loss to Louisville on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Among the other new teams, Temple garners a vote for the first time this season. Welcome back Villanova, which despite its early struggles – losses that, with the benefit of the season playing out, were actually to pretty good teams – is chugging back along in a very Villanova-esque way. Kentucky, Iowa and Nebraska feel like they’ll be bouncing in and out of the poll for the rest of the year.

Last teams out: Mississippi State and Wofford, which has every shot to get in next week with a win over Furman. Of note, the Terriers’ losses are all to elite teams: North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi State. Best win: at South Carolina.

THIS SEASON’S BALLOTS

Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10

MY TOP 25

1. Duke (Last week: 1)

2. Michigan (2)

3. Virginia (3)

4. Tennessee (4)

5. Michigan State (5)

6. Gonzaga (6)

7. Kansas (7)

8. Virginia Tech (8)

9. Texas Tech (10)

10. Nevada (11)

11. Buffalo (14)

12. Auburn (9)

13. Maryland (NR)

14. Marquette (25)

15. NC State (13)

16. Mississippi (NR)

17. Oklahoma (16)

18. North Carolina (15)

19. Florida State (17)

20. Nebraska (NR)

21. Iowa (NR)

22. Houston (20)

23. Kentucky (NR)

24. Villanova (NR)

25. Temple (NR)

OUT Mississippi State (12), Iowa State (18), Ohio State (19), TCU (21), Wisconsin (22), Indiana (23), St. John’s (24).

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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.

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