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Top 45 countdown

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There they are, the Dookies, at No. 1 on this and many other ballots.

Are the Blue Devils really the nation’s best team? That’s highly debatable, with pretty much any of the six teams immediately behind them in contention for such consideration.

Are they the best defensive team in the country? The Pomeroy Ratings say Duke is second nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, behind only Louisville.

Those same metrics spit out Duke as the nation’s sixth-most efficient offense, which is interesting since the Blue Devils didn’t look all the great offensively in the first half Saturday. Yes, they had 40 points, but that was mainly because the Maryland Lilliputians couldn’t snag any rebounds.

The end-game prediction for Duke – a few more losses during the regular season, and a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils’ defense will keep them in every game, but there’s always a Louisiana State ‘06 out there with depth, size and athleticism that could create some serious headaches for Coach K’s crew a round or two early.

They’re good, and they’re a treat to see in person because of the relentless D. But they’re not at No. 1 to stay – even if they very much warrant the spot right now.

1. Duke (18-1)
2. Pittsburgh (18-1)
3. Connecticut (18-1)
4. Wake Forest (16-1)
5. North Carolina (17-2)
6. Oklahoma (19-1)
7. Louisville (15-3)
8. Michigan State (16-3)
9. Xavier (17-2)
10. Clemson (17-2)
11. Marquette (17-2)
12. Texas (14-4)
13. Butler (18-1)
14. Arizona State (16-3)
15. Gonzaga (14-4)
16. Syracuse (17-4)
17. Washington (15-4)
18. UCLA (15-4)
19. Saint Mary’s (18-1)
20. Memphis (16-3)
21. Purdue (15-4)
22. Kentucky (16-4)
23. Illinois (17-3)
24. Davidson (16-3)
25. Georgetown (12-6)

26. Kansas (15-4)
27. Notre Dame (12-6)
28. Virginia Tech (14-5)
29. West Virginia (14-5)
30. Miami (14-5)
31. Missouri (17-3)
32. Florida (17-3)
33. Utah State (19-1)
35. California (16-4)
36. Villanova (15-4)
37. Minnesota (17-3)
38. Baylor (15-4)
39. Florida State (16-4)
40. Ohio State (13-5)
41. Dayton (18-2)
42. Siena (15-5)
43. UNLV (16-4)
44. Tennessee (12-6)
45. Oklahoma State (13-5)

Patrick Stevens

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