Weekly Hoops Ballot

In my long and illustrious career as an A.P. pollster (1.5 years) I have never seen the 5th ranked team leap to number one in one week. But what else could you do as Kansas, Ohio State, Pitt, and Texas all lost last week? Heck, the Buckeyes were the only ones to lose to a ranked team!

So the fallout from the top leaves us back where we started. Duke at number one.

It wasn’t a clear cut decision for me. The ACC just doesn’t reach anywhere near the lofty standards of the past. I had N.C. State in my preseason top 25. After watching the Wolfpack fall to 4-8 in conference play that feels horribly regrettable.

But Duke has rolled through ACC play, its only hiccup coming at the hands of Florida State. Another possible hiccup was avoided against its ultimate rival in Durham. And by hiccup I mean the Tar Heels at one point held a double digit lead.

Strange season though as we find not only a lack of separation from the top, but a regression to the mediocre. Not sure if it’s just a high level of parity or a poor effort at parody. ESPN’s Andy Katz made a great point today in looking ahead to March Madness. There can be no complaining about getting left out of the tournament in 2011. The expanded field will already seem bloated, and if it had gone to 96 the rest of the regular season would be completely drama free.

Here’s my ballot this week, feel free to guess at next week’s number one early. I expect San Diego State..

1. Duke
2. Ohio State
3. Pittsburgh
4. Kansas
5. Texas
6. Purdue
7. San Diego St.
8. BYU
9. Arizona
10. Georgetown
11. Notre Dame
12. Wisconsin
13. Florida
14. Louisville
15. St. Johns
16. Texas A&M
17. Syracuse
18. Vanderbilt
19. Connecticut
20. Villanova
21. Temple
22. Missouri
23. North Carolina
24. George Mason
25. Xavier

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