Duke remains No. 1 in AP Top 25 poll; Kentucky rises to 13th

  • File- This Dec. 20, 2018, file photo shows Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) dunking the ball against Texas Tech during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in New York. Williamson is one of the names you may not know now but very well could by the end of 2019. They figure to come up big in the new year.(AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File) Adam Hunger

  • Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley (5) goes in for a layup ahead of the defense of Louisville forward Jordan Nwora (33) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) Timothy D. Easley

Associated Press
Published: 12/31/2018 7:11:50 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. – After a light Christmas week schedule, top-ranked Duke and everyone else at the top of the AP Top 25 stayed put in a poll with few major changes.

Things could be more volatile with conference play set to get rolling this week.

The Blue Devils sat atop an unchanged top 12 in Monday’s latest poll, earning 35 of 64 first-place votes to stay at No. 1 for a second straight week. That also marked four weeks at No. 1 for the Blue Devils so far this season, more than Kansas (three) and Gonzaga (two).

Duke (11-1) hasn’t played since beating No. 11 Texas Tech in New York on Dec. 20, making the Blue Devils one of five ranked teams to be off through the holiday week. That schedule featured no matchups between ranked teams to limit potential movement in the poll, though that figures to change as the sport moves into league games.

Top tier

Five teams are splitting the first-place votes to create a clear top tier in the poll.

Second-ranked Michigan earned nine first-place votes, while No. 3 Tennessee earned 12. Fourth-ranked Virginia and fifth-ranked Kansas split the remaining eight votes.

The gap between the Jayhawks and No. 6 Nevada is 61 points, bigger than the separation between any two consecutively ranked teams inside the top 5.


Gonzaga checked in at No. 7, followed by Michigan State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech and Auburn to round out the unchanged dozen at the top.

Rising Wildcats

Kentucky was the week’s highest-ranked climber, rising three spots to No. 13 after a win at rival Louisville. That was the latest sign John Calipari’s Wildcats have moved well past that opening-night blowout loss to Duke.

Kentucky has won three straight games against power-conference teams, including a win against Utah and a ranked North Carolina squad in Chicago before Christmas.

Kentucky’s three-spot jump was the biggest of the week, matched by No. 19 Houston.

Modest bump

Five teams rose two spots: No. 16 Marquette, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 18 North Carolina State, No. 21 Indiana and No. 23 Oklahoma.


No. 22 Wisconsin had the biggest slide of the week among ranked teams, falling seven spots after losing to Western Kentucky. No. 14 Ohio State, No. 15 UNC and No. 25 Iowa each fell a spot.

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