With a chance at reclaiming the top spot in the polls, Duke was mailing it in against Georgia Tech. So Mike Krzyzewski did what anyone would do. He lost it.
The Devils’ coach didn’t care one bit about the polls – though his technical did spark Duke to a 79-57 win and a 54-22 in the 21 minutes after the T – but that’s because he’s actually trying to coach a team and win games. The rest of the college hoops world can’t seem to get enough of the “who’s No. 1?” question.
After a week in which the top four teams in the AP poll lost (No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Pitt), it’ll be interesting to see who takes the top spot this week. Could the Devils leapfrog four teams who lost? Will Kansas keep it because it lost Monday and the other three did on the weekend? Or will the superior résumés of Pitt and Ohio State win out? And what about San Diego State and BYU?
Here’s a quick rundown of the would-be 1s with how I’d slate ‘em:
1. Ohio State (25-2 overall, 12-2 in conference)
Yes, the Buckeyes have lost two of their last three, but those were road losses to two teams who are a combined 29-0 at home. Maybe the Buckeyes have peaked, but their peak has been better than everyone else’s thus far.
2. Pitt (24-3, 12-2)
Panthers are cruising to the Big East title and have beaten five top 20 teams. They’re coming off a loss at St. John’s, but it seems the Johnnies do that to everyone. The one hiccup – a Dec. 11 home loss at Tennessee – is what’s keeping them behind Ohio St.
3. San Diego State (27-1, 12-1)
What can I say? I’m a sucker for a team with the nation’s best record. That lone loss (at BYU) isn’t anything to be ashamed of, nor is the lack of a truly marquee win. The Aztecs played anyone and everyone during their non-con and thrived.
4. Texas (23-4, 11-1)
That Nebraska loss isn’t as bad you think, mostly because the Huskers are better than you think. Until then, the Longhorns had been crushing the Big 12, erasing most of the lingering nastiness from a Dec. loss at USC. Mostly.
5. Kansas (25-2, 10-2)
Jayhawks are No. 1 in the RPI and trot out a damn fine offense, but defensive issues give me pause. Losing at an in-state rival isn’t bad. Getting thrashed by your in-state rival when said rival had been sucking all season? That’s another story.
6. Duke (25-2, 12-1)
The Devils will get No. 1 votes, which is perfectly fine. I don’t like having them this low. But they don’t care about being No. 1 – Nolan Smith said so Sunday – and probably aren’t deserving of it until Kyle Singler plays better. When that happens, Devils could defend that NCAA title.
7. BYU (25-2, 11-1)
The Cougars have the nation’s best player (is he getting tired?) and a stack of solid wins, but I’m unconvinced they’re better than SDSU. We’ll find out Saturday. Not that there’s anything wrong with being No. 7 when 7 is essentially a wash with 3, 4, 5 and 6.
8. Purdue (22-5, 11-3)
Boilermakers won’t get any No. 1 votes, but they just beat Wisconsin and Ohio State in the same week. That should count for something. Also important: No team has a better 1-2 punch than JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore.
But what about you? Who would you have at No. 1?
And yes, none of this ultimately matters. Thank you, March Madness.
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.