The Curse of #1

Indiana was the latest victim of an upset of a #1 team when they lost to Illinois on February 7. (Photo Source: AP Photo/John Dixon)

Indiana was the latest victim of an upset of a #1 team when they lost to Illinois on February 7. (Photo Source: AP Photo/John Dixon)

The number one ranking in college basketball is something every team strives for. The ranking carries a legacy of elite programs and championship teams. Four teams have held the #1 ranking this season, but nobody seems to stay at the top. In the past month, several teams have had the chance to prove their supremacy, and the result has been a comedy of errors.

Duke held the #1 ranking for four weeks from December 17th to January 13th. On January 12th, the 20th ranked NC State Wolfpack defeated the Blue Devils 84-76 to kick off a crazy month in college basketball. The next week, Louisville (then 15-1) took over the top spot and lost at home in the final seconds to #6 Syracuse five days later. Earlier that week #2 Indiana lost to Wisconsin, so Duke once again took the #1 ranking. Well, that didn’t last long; Duke suffered its worst loss in years to #25 Miami, 90-63.

Enter Michigan. The Wolverines gained the top spot in the AP Poll on January 28th with a 19-1 record. Their reign only lasted five days, as they lost at #3 Indiana 81-73. And to add more fun to the story, #2 Kansas (then 19-1) lost to unranked Oklahoma State, starting a three game skid that continued this past week against TCU and Oklahoma.

Last week, #1 Indiana was shocked by Illinois with a buzzer-beating layup by Illinois’ Tyler Griffey. That gave #2 Florida (then 19-2) an open path to the top spot….which they conveniently blew by losing to unranked Arkansas by 11 points. Ok, how about #3 Michigan? They too lost this week to unranked Wisconsin to drop to 21-3. With #5 Kansas on a free fall out of the Top 5, that left #4 Duke with a chance to regain the top spot. They ALMOST blew it, escaping with a 1 point victory over Boston College last night. And on top of all that fun, #25 Notre Dame beat #11 Louisville 104-101 in FIVE OVERTIMES Saturday night.

That leaves Duke with the likelihood of regaining the top spot in the AP Poll once again. The Blue Devils (currently 21-2)  have no walk in the park this week either. North Carolina (16-7) visits Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night in the Battle of Tobacco Road, and then Duke travels to Maryland (17-7) on Saturday. We could see teams such as Miami (19-3) and Gonzaga (23-2) vault into the top 5 this week.

 

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