As both remaining undefeated teams went down (Virginia and Michigan) this weekend, as well as multiple upsets, the AP Poll’s top spots were a question mark leading into this week. Well, question answered: former #1 Duke fell one spot as the Tennessee Volunteers took over on top. The rest of the poll was pretty scrambled as well- #7 Kansas went down, Michigan lost to Wisconsin, Virginia fell to Duke, and Auburn couldn’t pull it out against Kentucky.
The top spot was quite obviously the most contested spot, as multiple teams made their case this week:
Duke– A loss at home to Syracuse at the beginning of the week wasn’t flattering, though marred by just terrible odds. Outside shots haven’t fallen all week, especially against the Syracuse zone that forces those. Tre Jones’ injury and Cam Reddish’s illness were no help, either. It all came together, though, against Virginia: despite a lack of a point guard, the offense rolled very well and the defense was about as good as you get when missing your central piece in Tre Jones. UVA’s pack-line defense was no match for the unstoppable duo of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Jones’ return is still not at all certain but most definitely more positive than most imagined when it happened, and no one is going to rush it. However, a win against a very, very good Virginia team showed that even without a key piece, these Blue Devils are arguably the most dangerous team in the country, not to mention with.
Tennessee– The Vols are on a roll in the SEC and are proving themselves one of the best teams in the field this year. Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams aren’t just the best players on the team: they’re the emotional leaders. There isn’t as much starpower in Knoxville as others may have, but this is a well put-together team that showed resilience against Alabama in a win that went down to the final buzzer.
Virginia– Virginia, despite having lost to Duke this week, is looking about as good as ever. And get this: their offense is actually good! Kyle Guy, in spite of his hair, is a dangerous offensive player. However, there’s no stability for the ‘Hoos until they get past that first round in the tournament: saying that they shouldn’t be defined by that loss means saying that regular season outweighs postseason, and there are fired coaches that can tell you so.
All three of these teams received votes for the top spot this week in the AP Poll.