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Why Duke Shouldn’t Be #1

Photo Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

After AP #1 Indiana, #2 Florida, and #3 Michigan all lost last week, #4 Duke should move into the top spot in the rankings, right? Well, as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend.” Here’s why.

Duke has already lost twice in conference play. The first loss came to North Carolina State, who at the time was ranked #20, but currently is unranked and has just a 6-5 conference record. The second loss was to Miami, who is undefeated in the ACC and is currently ranked #8 but will move up after another 2-0 week including the 26 point thrashing of North Carolina. How can a team that has lost twice in the ACC be ranked over a team that is undefeated in the ACC and the undefeated team beat the two-loss team by 27?

Need more evidence that Duke definitely shouldn’t be the number-one team in the country?

Last week both Miami and Duke played Boston College. On Tuesday, Miami destroyed Boston College in a 22 point victory. On Sunday, Duke beat Boston College by one and Duke was down by five with two minutes left. Also, they were up by one and Boston College had the last possession. With five seconds remaining, Oliver Hanlan of Boston College missed a pretty easy shot from the free throw line that would’ve sent shock waves around the college basketball world. Instead, Duke held on…barely.

If this hasn’t been enough to tell you that Duke isn’t even the best team in its own conference, then here comes the knockout punch.

Over their past eight games, Duke is 6-2 and Miami is 8-0. Duke’s margin of victory (and this is only counting victories) is 12.3. Miami’s, on the other hand, is 14.6. How can a team that has won two more games in the past eight games and wins by an average of two more points not be ranked higher?

Home court advantage is also a crucial factor that number-one teams use more often than others. Miami has taken advantage of its home court, winning all of its last four home games by at least twenty points. The last time Miami beat a team at home by less than twenty was January 13, almost a month ago. The last time Duke beat a team at home by less than twenty was Thursday, like four days ago. Miami has Duke beat by 25 days in that category.

So, who should be #1?

For Miami to be ranked number-one, it would have to jump seven spots in the rankings, which doesn’t happen often. So, Indiana should stay at number one. Its only loss last week was to Illinois on a buzzer-beater layup. And, the loss came on the road, so it isn’t as bad. Also, Indiana beat #10 Ohio State in Columbus on Sunday, so it deserves to be number-one again despite a loss.

Even after the top three teams fell last week, the #4 Blue Devils should not move up to #1. How can a team be number-one in the nation if it isn’t even number-one in its conference? Also, with a weak win over the weekend against a meager Boston College team, Duke doesn’t deserve to be called “the number-one team in the country.” If Duke does become the number-one team in the country, do not tell me that I’m wrong because I have plenty of evidence to the contrary.


About The Author


Jim O'Shea attends Syracuse University and is in the Newhouse School. He made his first ever eagle by holing out from 150 yards...and his eyes may or may not have been closed.

Number of Entries : 28

Comments (4)

  • avatar

    You're an idiot

    Wow you are an idiot, both teams lost at BC by 1. I bet you’ll change your argument after Miami goes to Durham

  • avatar

    Jim O'Shea

    Where did I say that either team lost to BC? I said that Duke beat BC by one and Miami killed BC last week.

  • avatar


    Not sure where the first guy got his comment, looks pretty stupid now…but I tend to disagree. The only reason Duke shouldn’t be number one is because Big Ten teams play a ridiculously hard schedule. Miami is nowhere near Duke, and they will probably get bounced out of the tourney early because the ACC is a bunch of cupcakes.

    Miami fans will talk about who they what Duke at home, but that happens, and Ryan Kelly has been hurt. Look for Duke or Florida to hold these high rankings due to lack of competition, but the Big Ten to prevail in the tourney.


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