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Week 8 AP Poll: UNC no longer in top 10

The loss to Kentucky marked UNC’s stay in the top 10 to one week.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at North Carolina David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A new week and a new number one. The hype train is riding high in Durham as the Blue Devils leapt back up to number one, despite the number two Michigan Wolverines being undefeated. Voters were clearly impressed with their victory over Texas Tech, despite not playing a true road game all season.

The loss by Kansas to Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State felled the Jayhawks down a few spots, meanwhile losing to the number nineteen team didn’t help UNC’s cause for the rankings, and the number is once again double digits for the Tar Heels. Let’s take a look at the poll:

AP Top 25

  1. Duke (35 first place votes)
  2. Michigan (9)
  3. Tennessee (12)
  4. Virginia (4)
  5. Kansas (4)
  6. Nevada
  7. Gonzaga
  8. Michigan State
  9. Florida State
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Texas Tech
  12. Auburn
  13. (the) Ohio State
  14. North Carolina
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Kentucky
  17. Arizona State
  18. Marquette
  19. Mississippi State
  20. North Carolina State
  21. Buffalo
  22. Houston
  23. Indiana
  24. Iowa
  25. Oklahoma

Where’s UNC?

The Tar Heels tumbled five spots to number fourteen in the country. Voters clearly weren’t impressed with the showing Carolina put up in Chicago, and as Kentucky was only rewarded with a bump of three spots, it would appear that people credited Carolina for losing the game more than Kentucky winning it. There’s some truth to this, as their only real tests this season were Duke and Seton Hall. Both of those games resulted in losses, but credit Calipari for a game plan that recognized his team likely couldn’t run with Carolina, but they could win a half court game. Carolina surely helped, as we’ve discussed, but give Cal and the Wildcats credit for playing well and taking advantage of the situation. In the end, considering the losses, fourteen probably fits this team right now.

Biggest Winners

People were waiting to give credit to NC State until they played someone, and well, you can give Kevin Keats credit now. His squad played a great game in Raleigh against Auburn and cracked the top 25 at 20. You could qualify Michigan as a big winner here as well, as they were able to leapfrog Tennessee for that second spot. Voters recognized an undefeated record as slightly better than the lone loss on the Tennessee resume. Virginia Tech also took advantage of the top ten losses to grab the tenth spot, a jump of three.

Biggest Losers

UNC tied for the biggest fall of five spots with Auburn, whom voters penalized for the loss to previously unranked State. Auburn was never really in the game, and the wilting in a road environment like that probably precipitated that fall. Kansas’s loss to a ranked Arizona State team really hurt them as the four below them had a strong resume to bolster their case.

On the Bubble

Looking at the breakdown, the only one that is really knocking at the door this week is Nebraska. They finished only three points out of the top 25 after being ranked 25th last week. The difference in the vote appeared to be the fact the OU went to play at Northwestern and won in OT, while Nebraska stayed home to play Cal State Fulerton. The next team, Kansas State, is a full 100 points behind so they’d likely need to see some upsets to even be considered.

Conference Breakdown:

  • ACC: 6
  • Big 10: 6
  • SEC: 4
  • Big 12: 3
  • Big East: 1
  • Pac 12: 1
  • Mid-American: 1
  • Mountain West: 1
  • West Coast: 1
  • American: 1

Top 25 Games this week:

With it being that week between Christmas and the start of conference season, college basketball takes a back seat to bowl games as all those in the top 25 play holiday games. The closest is Kentucky’s game at Louisville where the Wildcats will play the cough cough game’s biggest rivalry at 2 PM on ESPN 2. You know, while the Peach Bowl goes on at the same time.