RALEIGH, N.C. — Duke changed everything about who AP Top 25 voters considered to be the nation’s best team with a single dominating performance against a marquee opponent.
It also gave the Blue Devils yet another milestone under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski: a record number of appearances at No. 1.
The Blue Devils jumped from fourth to first Monday in the first regular-season poll, leapfrogging Kansas at the top after a blowout win against then-No. 2 Kentucky last week. That allowed Duke to set a record with its 135th week at No. 1, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most top rankings in poll history.
The 34-point win against the Wildcats in the Champions Classic to open the season marked the program’s most lopsided win against a top-5 opponent. Duke was practically flawless behind star freshmen RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and that created a buzz about the team’s already lofty potential being somehow even higher than anyone anticipated.
Granted, it was one game. And Duke (2-0) didn’t look nearly so dazzling Sunday at home against Army . But that one performance caused a major voting shift, even with now-No. 2 Kansas earning a quality win of its own against then-No. 10 Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic.
Kansas was a solid preseason No. 1 by earning 37 of 65 first-place votes, followed by 19 for Kentucky and four for Duke. But Duke now has 48 first-place votes, claiming the top spot for all 19 voters who had Kentucky as preseason No. 1 while also causing 23 voters to switch from Kansas in the preseason Duke this week.
Duke also prompted switches from the lone voters who had Gonzaga and Villanova at No. 1 in the preseason.
The hype probably won’t slow anytime soon, either. The Blue Devils have everyone’s attention.
“Part of becoming good is keeping the noise out of your locker room,” Krzyzewski said after the Army win. “And when something good happens and you have the start of the season … there’s a lot of noise. And for us, it’s not always good noise, but in this case, it was exceptional noise. Exceptional noise.
“When you have four freshmen and we don’t have veterans, you have to be more mature about listening to that.”
AT THE TOP
Gonzaga stayed at No. 3, followed by Virginia and Tennessee each climbing a spot to round out the top 5. Nevada, North Carolina, reigning national champion Villanova and Auburn were next, while Kentucky slid eight spots to No. 10.
There weren’t any dramatic climbs beyond the Duke-Kansas change at the top. In all, 16 teams moved up this week poll, with No. 14 Florida State and No. 19 Clemson matching Duke’s three-spot jump for the biggest of the week.
Twelve of the gains were merely one spot.
Kentucky’s fall was the biggest for any team that stayed in the poll. The others were all modest, with four teams — Kansas, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 16 Virginia Tech and No. 21 TCU — falling one spot each.
There were two new teams in the poll with No. 24 Marquette and No. 25 Buffalo.
It’s the first appearance for Marquette in nearly five years since last appearing at No. 25 in November 2013.
As for Buffalo, it’s the first AP Top 25 appearance in program history. It comes after the Bulls got 43 points and 14 rebounds from CJ Massinburg to beat then-No. 13 West Virginia on the road — another marquee upset for a team that beat Arizona and eventual No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Deandre Ayton in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers slid all the way out after losing to the Bulls, which marked their first loss in a home opener since November 2003. Washington fell out from No. 25 after a lossto Auburn.