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Top ten unchanged in AP Top 25, Michigan and Michigan State stay put

Posted: 5:53 PM, Dec 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-31 17:53:25-05

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- After a light Christmas week schedule, top-ranked Duke and everyone else at the top of the AP Top 25 stayed put in a poll with few major changes.

Things could be more volatile with conference play set to get rolling this week.

The Blue Devils sat atop an unchanged top 12 in Monday's latest poll, earning 35 of 64 first-place votes to stay at No. 1 for a second straight week. That also marked four weeks at No. 1 for the Blue Devils so far this season, more than Kansas (three) and Gonzaga (two).

Duke (11-1) hasn't played since beating No. 11 Texas Tech in New York on Dec. 20, making the Blue Devils one of five ranked teams to be off through the holiday week. That schedule featured no matchups between ranked teams to limit potential movement in the poll, though that figures to change as the sport moves into league games.

TOP TIER

Five teams are splitting the first-place votes to create a clear top tier in the poll.

Second-ranked Michigan earned nine first-place votes, while No. 3 Tennessee earned 12. Fourth-ranked Virginia and fifth-ranked Kansas split the remaining eight votes.

The gap between the Jayhawks and No. 6 Nevada is 61 points, bigger than the separation between any two consecutively ranked teams inside the top 5.

UNCHANGED

Gonzaga checked in at No. 7, followed by Michigan State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech and Auburn to round out the unchanged dozen at the top.

RISING WILDCATS

Kentucky was the week's highest-ranked climber, rising three spots to No. 13 after a win at rival Louisville. That was the latest sign John Calipari's Wildcats have moved well past that opening-night blowout loss to Duke.

Kentucky has won three straight games against power-conference teams, including a win against Utah and a ranked North Carolina squad in Chicago before Christmas.

Kentucky's three-spot jump was the biggest of the week, matched by No. 19 Houston.

MODEST BUMP

Five teams rose two spots: No. 16 Marquette, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 18 North Carolina State, No. 21 Indiana and No. 23 Oklahoma.

SLIDES

No. 22 Wisconsin had the biggest slide of the week among ranked teams, falling seven spots after losing to Western Kentucky. No. 14 Ohio State, No. 15 UNC and No. 25 Iowa each fell a spot.

NO PAC-12

Arizona State fell out from No. 17 after a home loss to Princeton, which came a week after the Sun Devils beat then-No. 1 Kansas. And that knocked the Pac-12 out of the poll for the first time since the 2011-12 season, according to Sports Reference LLC's college basketball site .

That year, Arizona (No. 16), UCLA (No. 17) and California (No. 24) were in the preseason poll. But UCLA fell out in the first regular-season poll, Arizona fell out in Week 4 and Cal slid out by Week 5. The Pac-12 didn't have another team ranked in the AP Top 25 for the rest of the season.

IN AGAIN

Nebraska was the lone addition at No. 24, continuing the Cornhuskers' in-and-out ways. They made their first poll appearance of the season at No. 24 on Dec. 3, fell out for a week, re-entered at No. 25, then fell out of last week's poll.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big Ten led the week with seven ranked teams, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference's six and the Southeastern Conference's four.

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 30, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:

Record Pts Prv

1. Duke (35) 11-1 1530 1

2. Michigan (9) 13-0 1478 2

3. Tennessee (12) 11-1 1469 3

4. Virginia (4) 11-0 1428 4

5. Kansas (4) 11-1 1378 5

6. Nevada 13-0 1317 6

7. Gonzaga 12-2 1200 7

8. Michigan St. 11-2 1146 8

9. Florida St. 11-1 1063 9

10. Virginia Tech 11-1 934 10

11. Texas Tech 11-1 893 11

12. Auburn 11-2 820 12

13. Kentucky 10-2 799 16

14. Ohio St. 12-1 769 13

15. North Carolina 9-3 744 14

16. Marquette 11-2 595 18

17. Mississippi St. 12-1 572 19

18. N.C. State 12-1 424 20

19. Houston 13-0 368 22

20. Buffalo 12-1 353 21

21. Indiana 11-2 330 23

22. Wisconsin 10-3 250 15

23. Oklahoma 11-1 244 25

24. Nebraska 11-2 204 --

25. Iowa 11-2 182 24

Others receiving votes: Arizona St. 116, Kansas St. 61, Villanova 43, Seton Hall 24, TCU 20, Cincinnati 14, Iowa St. 10, Florida 6, Purdue 6, Toledo 5, Louisville 3, North Texas 1, St. John's 1.