There is a number in front of Duke again. After two weeks of being one of the unranked, the Blue Devils are finally back in The Associated Press Top 25.
One of the longest streaks of consecutive poll appearances ended two weeks ago when Duke dropped out of the rankings. Its run of 167 consecutive polls started with the preseason Top 25 of 2006-07. A run of four losses in five games knocked the Blue Devils from the ranks of the ranked.
A four-game winning streak has Duke (19-6) at No. 20 and if the Blue Devils go on a run similar to their last one they will be ranked until sometime in the 2024-25 season.
ON TOP AGAIN
Villanova is starting its second week at No. 1. The Wildcats no longer have to worry about being one of those eight schools that was No. 1 for just one week.
Villanova is now one of six schools to have been No. 1 for two weeks and it’s quite a group they joined.
Louisville is the only one of the six to have split their weeks at the top between two seasons — 2008-09 and 2012-13. Two others made the jump to the top in recent years — Alabama in 2002-03 and Texas in 2009-10.
The other two schools have had a long run without being on top: Duquesne was No. 1 for two weeks in 1953-54 and Saint Louis was No. 1 in the first two AP polls ever in 1948-49.
In addition to Duke, No. 19 Notre Dame and No. 22 Indiana also returned to the Top 25 this week. All three were ranked in the preseason poll with Duke No. 5, Indiana No. 15 and Notre Dame No. 19.
Notre Dame (18-7) was ranked for the first two regular season polls, fell out and returned as No. 25 three weeks ago only to fall out again. The Fighting Irish return on a three-game winning streak and having won four of five with two of the wins over North Carolina and Louisville.
Indiana (20-6) had the same start to the season as Notre Dame but the Hoosiers returned for a three-week stint before dropping out last week. The Hoosiers come back to the rankings having lost two of their last three games — the win was over No. 4 Iowa. Before that they had won six of seven.
Texas A&M had the biggest drop of the three schools to fall out of the Top 25. The Aggies (18-7), who were No. 15 last week, had been ranked for nine straight weeks reaching as high as No. 8. A four-game losing streak did in the Aggies, who started the Southeastern Conference 7-0 and are now 7-5 in the league.
Southern Cal fell from 23rd after losing both games on its trip to the Arizona schools. The Trojans (18-7) had been ranked for two weeks before dropping out for one.
Wichita State (18-7) saw its 43-game home winning streak snapped by Northern Iowa and that dropped the Shockers out from No. 25. Wichita State was No. 10 in the preseason rankings and was ranked for two more weeks before falling out until returning three weeks ago.
Kansas and Oklahoma joined Iowa at the top of the list with five wins over ranked teams this season. They are taking advantage of being in power conferences that give you plenty of opportunities to face other good teams.
Among the group of eight schools with four wins over ranked teams, three are not in the Top 25 — Alabama, Syracuse and Wisconsin. The other teams with four wins over ranked teams are Iowa State, Providence, Texas, Virginia and Xavier.
How about this stat: The Big 12 has had at least five teams in the poll for 33 consecutive weeks.
The Big 12 has six again this week but it was joined on top by the Atlantic Coast Conference which picked up Duke and Notre Dame.
Indiana returning to the poll gives the Big Ten five teams. The Big East has three, the Pac-12 two and the Atlantic 10, American Athletic Conference and Southeastern Conference have one each.
Four teams will be in two games involving two ranked teams this week. West Virginia, Texas, Baylor and Duke will all face another Top 25 team twice.
On Tuesday, it will be two Big 12 games as No. 10 West Virginia is at No. 24 Texas and No. 13 Iowa State is at No. 25 Baylor.
On Wednesday, No. 20 Duke is at No. 5 North Carolina in the first of their two Atlantic Coast Conference matchups and No. 23 Providence is at No. 8 Xavier in the Big East.
On Saturday, No. 3 Oklahoma is at West Virginia; Duke is at No. 18 Louisville; No. 17 Purdue is at No. 22 Indiana in a key Big Ten game; and Baylor is at Texas.