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Monday, January 26, 2009

Duke Rises to No. 1

Posted by on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 5:06 PM

click to enlarge Brian Zoubek
  • Brian Zoubek

Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils rose to the top spot in the AP and Coaches Polls this week after soundly whooping Maryland 85-44 Saturday.

Duke marks the third ACC team to claim the top spot in the polls this season after Wake Forest and preseason favorite North Carolina.

"You don’t get anything from it except a big headline when you lose," Krzyzewski said about the rankings after the victory over the Terrapins.

It's the first time the Blue Devils have been ranked number one since J.J. Redick led the Blue Devils into the 2006 NCAA tournament, ending with an upset loss to a talented LSU squad.

But what's most important for the Blue Devils is a 5-0 ACC start, including a 69-44 win over Virginia Tech -- the current second placed team.

The Blue Devils were an afterthought in the ACC to start the season as expectations rose for the Tar Heels after a beatdown of Michigan State and Notre Dame early in the season.

“I said before the season started that I thought this was going to be the best Duke team since I’ve returned, " UNC head coach Roy Williams said Monday in a teleconference.

That's lofty praise considering in Williams' first season the Blue Devils made it to the Final Four only to lose to UConn, who was carried to the NCAA title by Emeka Okafor.

The upset of North Carolina by Boston College and then Wake Forest opened the door for the Blue Devils, who will travel to play the Demon Deacons Wednesday in a crucial ACC game.

The Blue Devils are facing the brutal part of their schedule with trips to Winston-Salem and Clemson over the next three games -- both teams are ranked in the top 15.

Coach K's squad then hosts Miami and UNC.

The rankings will be much more significant if Duke is stil No. 1 after these next five games.

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