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Gonzaga stays at No. 3 in AP poll, Duke climbs into top spot

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 12, 2018, 7:06 p.m.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few directs his team and wing Corey Kispert (left) in Saturday’s Texas Southern game. (YOUNG KWAK / AP)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few directs his team and wing Corey Kispert (left) in Saturday’s Texas Southern game. (YOUNG KWAK / AP)

The top 11 ranked teams – other than Gonzaga – reshuffled in the first AP men’s basketball poll of the regular season.

The Zags (2-0) remained at No. 3, same as their preseason position. Duke’s convincing 118-84 romp over former No. 2 Kentucky vaulted the Blue Devils from fourth to the top spot.

The Blue Devils received 48 first-place votes – they received four in the preseason poll – and 1,606 points. Kansas led by as many as 17 points and handled No. 10 Michigan State 92-87 on a neutral court but still dropped from first to second. The Jayhawks earned 14 first-place votes and 1,571 points.

It’s believed to be the first time since 1984 and just the fourth time overall that the preseason No. 1 dropped from the top spot in the ensuing poll without losing a game.

Duke is No. 1 for a record 135th time, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most in AP poll history.

The Zags received 1,478 points. Gonzaga lost its lone first-place vote but picked up 17 points after drubbing Idaho State and Texas Southern.

Gonzaga was followed by Virginia, Tennessee, Nevada, North Carolina and Villanova. Those five squads all went 2-0 and each moved up one spot from their preseason ranking.

Auburn, which roughed up Washington 88-66, jumped from 11th to ninth. Kentucky slid from No. 2 to No. 10; the 19 voters who picked the Wildcats first in the preseason poll opted for Duke this time around.

Michigan State dropped one spot to No. 11. Kansas State stayed put at 12, followed by Oregon.

Washington dropped from No. 25 to the receiving votes category.

There’s a path for Gonzaga to reach the top spot, but it probably requires winning the Maui Invitational. The Zags open against Illinois and then face Arizona or Iowa State. The Wildcats and Cyclones received votes in this week’s poll.

If Gonzaga reaches the Maui championship game, possible opponents include Duke or Auburn. Kansas would have a case for regaining the top spot with games in Brooklyn against No. 24 Marquette on Nov. 21 and No. 5 Tennessee or Louisville, which also received votes, on Nov. 23.

The Zags, who entertain Texas A&M on Thursday, have December games against Creighton, Washington, Tennessee and No. 7 North Carolina.

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