AP College Basketball Poll 2017: Complete Week 5 Rankings Released

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2017

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 02: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils goes up for a dunk against the South Dakota Coyotes at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 96-80. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

The Associated Press released its weekly college basketball rankings, with the loaded Duke Blue Devils maintaining their spot atop the poll for the fifth straight week.

Below, we'll break down the rankings and the top storylines from the AP's latest poll.

                  

Rankings

1. Duke (10-0)

2. Kansas (7-0)

3. Michigan State (7-1)

4. Villanova (8-0)

5. Florida (5-1)

6. Wichita State (6-1)

7. Texas A&M (7-0)

8. Kentucky (7-1)

9. Notre Dame (7-1)

10. Miami (7-0)

11. North Carolina (8-1)

12. Gonzaga (7-1)

13. Xavier (7-1)

14. Minnesota (8-1)

15. Virginia (8-0)

16. Arizona State (7-0)

17. Cincinnati (7-1)

18. West Virginia (7-1)

19. Seton Hall (7-1)

20. TCU (8-0)

21. Purdue (8-2)

22. Nevada (8-0)

23. Baylor (5-2)

24. Tennessee (6-1)

25. USC (4-2)

          

Analysis

ALLENTOWN, PA - NOVEMBER 17: Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats passes the ball against the Lafayette Leopards during the first half at the PPL Center on November 17, 2017 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Villanova defeated Lafayette 104-57. (Photo by
Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Duke earned every first-place vote and for good reason: The Blue Devils have yet to lose, have knocked off very good Michigan State and Florida teams and are outscoring teams by an average of 16.6 points per game. 

What's even scarier? This team has plenty of room to grow.

"Look, we're 10-0, and with this schedule, it's been really good," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "Can it be better? Yeah. Can it be worse? Hell yes. It can be a lot worse, it can be a lot worse."

Think about this team's upside. Freshman superstar Marvin Bagley III is already averaging a double-double (22.0 PPG, 11.2 RPG) and is just scratching the surface of his potential. Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Trent Jr. are all freshman averaging double-digit points and playing 24 or more minutes per game. The Blue Devils regularly go nine-deep in their rotation. 

And to cap it all off, they have a senior in Grayson Allen (17.8 PPG) thriving by spending more time off the ball, given that the Blue Devils have a true point guard in Duval, something they lacked last year.

It's early in the season, but it's hard to find many faults with the Blue Devils. Yes, they'll have to run the ACC gauntlet, which will expose any weaknesses. But this team is as loaded as any in recent memory. 

Duke is rightfully atop the rankings, but Villanova is a team to keep an eye on. The Wildcats are 8-0, and while they don't have the signature win the Blue Devils possess, they do have an experienced roster (by college basketball standards) and play a perimeter-oriented, defensively stout style (61.6 PPG allowed, 20th in the nation) under head coach Jay Wright that gives opponents fits.

Mikal Bridges (17.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 50 percent from three) has three-and-D NBA potential on the wing. Jalen Brunson (17.9 PPG, 4.5 APG, 51.7 percent from three) has quietly been one of the best players in college basketball in the young season. Donte DiVincenzo, Phil Booth and Eric Paschall are all experienced players averaging double-digit points per game. Freshman Omari Spellman is already making a positive impact.

We'll learn more about Villanova when it faces Gonzaga on Tuesday night. But it appears Wright has another excellent Wildcats squad, one that is playing like a team that will make noise come March.

Michigan State had the win of the week, hammering Notre Dame 81-63 on Thursday night. So good are the Spartans that they easily dismissed a Top Five opponent despite the fact rookie star Jaren Jackson Jr. notched just five points and three rebounds in 14 minutes after getting into foul trouble.

Granted, Jackson made an impact in the lane, blocking three shots. But that performance highlighted just how disruptive Michigan State can be on the defensive end. Take away the 88 points they gave up to Duke and the Spartans allow an average of 58.5 points per game, which would be tied for fifth best in the nation.

Michigan State allows opponents to shoot just 34.2 percent from the field, the best mark in the country. They block 7.3 shots per game, fourth in the nation. They have a rebounding margin of plus-12.5, fifth overall.

Points don't come easy against the Spartans, and good luck driving to the basket against their length. If the Spartans win a title this season, they'll do so behind a suffocating defense.

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