ACC

Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Week 9

What a mystery Arizona State is. The Sun Devils can beat Kansas at home, beat Mississippi State on a neutral court and win at Georgia, but they have lost three of their past five including a home loss to Princeton, the fifth-best team in the Ivy League according to KenPom. The Ivy League is good this year, but not that good. Exit Arizona State.

A quiet week otherwise: Wisconsin moves down a few spots after losing at Western Kentucky but gets scheduling kudos for playing the rare non-Power 5 road game, even if it ended up costing the Badgers (and will only deter Power 5 teams from playing more of those games, which is unfortunate).

TCU is the new team in the poll with only one loss against a fairly middling nonconference schedule – best win: at SMU – but the Horned Frogs will have ample opportunity to prove themselves over the next two weeks with Big 12 games at Kansas and West Virginia.

Would have liked to consider San Francisco or Belmont in that slot but both teams lost this week. Speaking of the Ivies, Toledo looked great at home against an injury-ridden Penn team and the Rockets have a chance to make a statement on Jan. 8 at Buffalo. Took a long look at Seton Hall as well but settled on TCU.

THIS SEASON’S BALLOTS

Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8

MY TOP 25

1. Duke (Last week: 1)

2. Michigan (2)

3. Nevada (3)

4. Virginia (4)

5. Kansas (5)

6. Tennessee (6)

7. Michigan State (7)

8. Gonzaga (8)

9. Florida State (9)

10. Virginia Tech (10)

11. Auburn (11)

12. Texas Tech (12)

13. Mississippi State (13)

14. Ohio State (14)

15. Oklahoma (16)

16. Marquette (17)

17. NC State (18)

18. Buffalo (20)

19. North Carolina (21)

20. Wisconsin (15)

21. Indiana (22)

22. Kentucky (23)

23. Houston (24)

24. Nebraska (25)

25. TCU (NR)

OUT Arizona State (19).

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Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.

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