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No. 4 Duke survives at BC; headed back to No. 1?

Feb 10, 2013, 9:13 PM EDT

Mason Plumlee

Over the course of the last two weeks, No. 4 Duke had done a pretty good job of making everyone forget that they had gotten drubbed by 27 points at Miami and were playing without Ryan Kelly.

They smacked Maryland at home. They smacked NC State at home. They whooped up on Florida State at Florida State. They struggled a bit with Wake Forest on the road, but the Demon Deacons have all of a sudden turned into a tough team to beat in Winston-Salem. So we could over look it.

But Maryland has been a disappointment in league play this season. NC State was playing without Lorenzo Brown and needed a three-pointer with a second left from Scott Wood to beat Clemson with Brown back in the lineup on Sunday. Florida State lost by 25 points at Wake Forest. All those impressive wins Duke had? They don’t look at impressive anymore, do they?

Which brings me to Sunday evening, where the Blue Devils needed a 6-0 run over the final two minutes and a friendly whistle on the final possession to beat Boston College 62-61 in Conte Forum.

Now, there are some valid explanations here. On the one hand, Sunday night games are never easy to play, particularly when they’re on the road. But Duke’s travels were particularly difficult, as they were forced to fly up on Sunday thanks to Winter Storm Nemo dumping three feet of snow on New England. Throw in the fact that Conte Forum is always a tough place to play — it’s a cold, quiet and (usually) empty arena — and Duke was primed for an upset.

They managed to hang on for the victory, which, in the end, is more important than anything else, but it creates an interesting conversation heading into next week: Can we really vote Duke No. 1?

The Blue Devils are still playing without Kelly. They’re two games behind Miami, who beat them by 27 points, in the ACC standings. But they’re also the only team in the top five that didn’t lose a game this week.¬†Indiana lost at Illinois. Florida lost at Arkansas. Michigan lost at Wisconsin. Kansas lost at TCU and at Oklahoma.

So does Duke take over the No. 1 ranking?

Frankly, no one should be allowed to.

Let’s just call it a five-way tie for fifth.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. rodge1 - Feb 10, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Miami is playing like a #1 team.

  2. imwhitewolf - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Indiana stays #1. They beat #1 Michigan at home and #10 Ohio State at Columbus. Both within eight days. I have no problem putting Miami #2. Florida #3, Michigan, yes, they lost twice, at #4 and Duke, because of loss of Ryan Kelley, #5. Duke is doing a nice job of reinventing the team, esp. since it is getting later in the season but Kelley’s loss hass hurt. Personally I doubt if we’ll see him again this season.

    The one team that is very over rated is Gonzaga. They play in a very mediocore conference. The only other “decent” team is St. Mary’s, who has played, and lost to, ONE team ranked in the top 25 this season. Guess who? Gonzaga has played three ranked teams, winning one. If the Zags were in the Big Ten they would be mid pack, same with the Big East. In the ACC they would be behind Miami, Duke, NC St. and on the level of UNC, VA, and Maryland.

    Speaking of UNC, Duke welcomes the Tar Heels this Wednesday. I sincerely hope they play against the Blue Devils the same way they palyed against Miami. That would be worth the day of vacation I’m taking to watch the game.

  3. florida727 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    “Let’s just call it a five-way tie for fifth.” Rob, you know I enjoy your writing, so bear with me as I have a little fun at your expense.

    So what you’re saying is there are no teams ranked 1-through-4, right?

    Your point is well made though. There literally could be as many as 12-15 teams that come March, if they get hot and a little lucky with match-ups, could win the whole thing. Probably the most parity we’ve see in a long time in college basketball.

    I’m not a U fan, but I’d have a hard time arguing against them jumping all the way to the top spot based on their body of work to-date. March can’t get here soon enough.

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