College basketball Top 25: Duke, Purdue the new 1-2; plus, my ballot

I’ve got Gonzaga No. 2 on my ballot, still ahead of the Boilermakers, because an 84-81 loss to Duke in a thrilling, March-like game isn’t cause for an overcorrection.

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Continental Tire Challenge - Duke v Gonzaga

Duke basks in victory over Gonzaga.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Duke or Purdue? Purdue or Duke?

It’s the Dookies at No. 1 now, their extraordinary win against Gonzaga in Las Vegas having shaken up — a little — the picture at the top of the heap.

The new college basketball Top 25 poll is out, with the Zags at No. 3 after the Blue Devils and Boilermakers. The Zags are No. 2 on my ballot, still ahead of the Boilers, because an 84-81 loss to a wonderful team in a thrilling, March-like game isn’t cause for an overcorrection. Another way to put it: If the Zags and Boilers were playing tonight on a neutral floor, I (and probably a significant majority of voters) would take the Zags to win.

Sometimes, it’s just that simple.

Happy Big Ten/ACC Challenge! There are two games Monday, neither involving ranked teams. Come on, though, Virginia-Iowa and Notre Dame-Illinois sounds like a good time, doesn’t it? The great stuff comes Tuesday — with Purdue and Duke in back-to-back games on ESPN — and Wednesday.

AP Top 25

1. Duke, 2. Purdue, 3. Gonzaga, 4. Baylor, 5. UCLA, 6. Villanova, 7. Texas, 8. Kansas, 9. Kentucky, 10. Arkansas, 11. Arizona, 12. BYU, 13. Tennessee, 14. Florida, 15. Houston, 16. Alabama, 17. Connecticut, 18. Memphis, 19. Iowa State, 20. USC, 21. Auburn, 22. Michigan State, 23. Wisconsin, 24. Michigan, 25. Seton Hall.

(Click here to see the poll in more complete list form.)

My ballot

1. Duke, 2. Gonzaga, 3. Purdue, 4. Baylor, 5. UCLA, 6. Kansas, 7. Kentucky, 8. Villanova, 9. Arkansas, 10. Arizona, 11. Iowa State, 12. Florida, 13. Tennessee, 14. USC, 15. Connecticut, 16. Houston, 17. Auburn, 18. Memphis, 19. BYU, 20. Texas, 21. Xavier, 22. Michigan State, 23. Alabama, 24. LSU, 25. Louisville.

(Click here and then on “all voters” to see each voter’s individual ballot.)

Five things

• Where you at, Illinois? The Illini were so disjointed and lifeless in a hideous loss to Cincinnati, they’re going to have to win back some trust before I’ll put them back on my ballot. They’re first among “others receiving votes,” though, so voters on the whole are pretty ready to love them again.

• Wisconsin in the Top 25? Really? Winning the Maui Invitational was impressive, no doubt, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger on the Badgers on my ballot because of their clunky offense. Maybe I should have.

• So much for my pet team Virginia Tech. After a 5-0 start, the Hokies lost to Memphis by eight and to Xavier by one. Wait, that’s actually not terrible at all, is it? The Hokies are out for now, but I still think they can be a top-three team in the ACC. Also dropped from my previous ballot: Illinois and St. Bonaventure. Those two teams plus Xavier (which dropped a game to surprising Iowa State) fell out of the AP rankings.

• Iowa State (6-0) came out of nowhere, knocked off Xavier and then beat the daylights out of Memphis. Izaiah Brockington went for 30 against the Musketeers, and Minnesota transfer Gabe Kalscheur put up 30 on the Tigers. Whoa.

• Hat tip to Michigan State for the schedule it took on. The Spartans have already played Kansas, Butler, Loyola, Connecticut and Baylor, among others. They’ve lost a couple along the way, but they’ll be in fine form heading into Big Ten play.

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