BOZICH | Will Ole Miss scare shift No. 1 votes from Kentucky to Duke?
Kentucky needed overtime to put away Mississippi in Rupp Arena Tuesday. Will the close call translate in any first-place votes in the AP college basketball poll shifting to Duke?
Wednesday, January 7th 2015, 11:37 am EST by
Wednesday, January 7th 2015, 12:13 pm EST
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Somebody is going to ask this question and create a poll. It might as well be me, asking and polling you:
Will Kentucky's dangerous dance with Ole Miss Tuesday night in Rupp Arena translate into first-place votes being transferred to Duke in the next Associated Press college basketball poll?
Kentucky 89, Mississippi 86 in overtime.
Should there be blowback for needing 45 minutes to beat a team that Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky and Dayton beat in the regulation 40 earlier this season.
None of those teams are ranked in the Top 25 – and three beat the mighty Rebels in Oxford.
I'm just asking.
The Wildcats have been the unanimous pick as the best team in the AP Top 25 over the last five polls.
The Blue Devils play their first conference road game Wednesday night at Wake Forest, the same spot where Louisville gave Rick Pitino a bit of heartburn before putting away the Demon Deacons Sunday night.
The story could change by 11 p.m. Duke lost in Winston-Salem last season. You've heard the cries about the drama of life on the road. Maybe Wake makes Duke look beatable, too. Somebody will.
But Duke hasn't been taken to overtime in 13 games this season.
Duke has won every game by at least 10.
That includes a 10-point win on the court of a team that figures to cruise to the Big Ten title – Wisconsin.
Duke has Jahlil Okafor, the most consistently unstoppable inside player in the college game.
Okafor has played nearly 29 minutes per game so efficiently that he trails only Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin in Ken Pomeroy's player of the year list – and his numbers are considerably better than anything Russ Smith (Louisville), Shabazz Napier (UConn) or Doug McDermott (Creighton) earned from Pomeroy last season.
If you believe that seniors matter, Duke has one – point guard Quinn Cook.
Duke has as many McDonald's all-Americans as the Wildcats – nine. Actually, the Blue Devils have more who are healthy with UK junior Alex Poythress starting his recovery from knee surgery.
Duke and Kentucky have the same number of projected first-round picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, according to
Duke ranks first in Ken Pomeroy's offensive efficiency ratings, six spots ahead of Kentucky.
Understand that Kentucky still has plenty of credentials. On Wednesday morning the Wildcats were still first in Pomeroy's team rankings, still first in Jeff Sagarin's computer formula and still first in the Ratings Percentage Index.
Duke? Mike Krzyzewski's team sat third (KenPom), fourth (Sagarin predictor) and fifth (RPI). The Blue Devils have issues, too.
Duke has wins over seven teams that Pomeroy's computer formula ranks in the Top 100 – Kentucky has nine.
The Wildcats embarrassed Kansas and UCLA in ways those programs have rarely been embarrassed.
Duke is beating teams by an average of 24.7 points per game. Kentucky is finishing the job by an average of 25.7 points per game.
Kentucky ranks first in Pomeroy's defensive efficiency ratings, 14 spots ahead of the Blue Devils.
Kentucky has beaten four teams ranked in the current AP Top 25. That includes an eight-point win on the homecourt of a Louisville team no other team has beaten.
Kentucky has taller, longer, leaner bodies that it can use to surround Okafor – and 15 fouls to burn while doing it.
Somebody is going to ask the question. It might as well be me, asking and polling you.
Will Kentucky's dangerous dance with Ole Miss translate into first-place votes for Duke in the next AP college basketball poll?
I'm just asking.
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