News | Updates | Showbiz

College basketball rankings: Duke is new No. 1 in Top 25 And 1 after handing Gonzaga its first loss of season


top25and1-duke.jpg

Gonzaga entered the weekend having already played two teams ranked in the top five of the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll. Both games were blowouts. So there wasn’t much reason to think Saturday night’s showdown with Duke would go much differently.

It did, though.

Final score: Duke 84, Gonzaga 81.

Believe it or not, the Zags just lost a regular-season game for the first time in more than 16 months despite closing as a 9-point favorite. Five-star freshman Paolo Banchero finished with 21 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Blue Devils despite battling cramps in the second half.

“It was just a really big-time game,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “What a crowd. We thought it might be a showcase game — and it was. But having this type of crowd was amazing. Obviously, we feel great about the win — and we think we beat an outstanding basketball team.”

The neutral-court win inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas improved Duke to 7-0 with victories over Gonzaga and Kentucky, making the Blue Devils the only team in the nation with a zero in the loss column and two wins over top-10 KenPom opponents. That’s why Duke has been elevated to No. 1 in Saturday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The only other sensible option for No. 1 right now is Purdue. But the Boilermakers’ 6-0 record features just one win over a top-50 KenPom team as opposed to Duke’s two wins over top-10 KenPom teams.

Advantage: Blue Devils

If you’re a regular listener of the Eye On College Basketball Podcast, you know I’ve been saying for months that Krzyzewski’s final season ending with what would be his sixth national championship in New Orleans isn’t really far-fetched. Some took issue with that statement (if only because somebody is always eager to take issue with any statement). But 18 days into this season, it’s now obviously undeniable. Duke has a nice mix of legitimate NBA talent and experienced complimentary pieces, not unlike the 2015 team that won Krzyzewski’s fifth national championship. That’s what helped the Blue Devils upset Gonzaga on the last Saturday in November. And if Coach K finds himself still working on the first Monday in April, that combination will likely be the reason.

Top 25 And 1 rankings



Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.