The Duke Blue Devils reminded college basketball fans why they are the current kings of the sport with a convincing 87-68 win over Clemson on Saturday in their first action since Dec. 20.
While they maintained their spot atop the rankings, a number of challengers flexed their muscles in marquee games. Michigan handled a conference test against Indiana with ease and remained undefeated, Virginia defeated Florida State in a Top 10 showdown, and Michigan State earned a notable road victory over Ohio State in a Top 15 matchup.
There were also some poll-altering upsets, with Iowa State beating Kansas, New Mexico crushing Nevada and Alabama edging Kentucky.
The result was a shakeup in the Monday rankings when the Associated Press revealed its latest Top 25.
6. Michigan State
8. Texas Tech
9. Virginia Tech
12. North Carolina
13. Florida State
14. Mississippi State
15. North Carolina State
16. Ohio State
20. Iowa State
24. St. John's
A number of games jump out this coming week, including an in-state clash between North Carolina and North Carolina State.
The ACC isn't all about Duke, and early positioning in the conference race will be on the line between these rivals. The Tar Heels are in the middle of an up-and-down season, with a win over Gonzaga but losses to Michigan, Kentucky and Texas. The fact that they missed multiple opportunities in nonconference play puts more pressure on getting off to a quick start during the ACC slate with Selection Sunday looming.
They will have to go through a North Carolina State team that has lost just one time all season in a nail-biter at Wisconsin. Part of the Wolfpack's great record is thanks to a relatively light nonconference schedule outside of Auburn, so this is a chance to make a statement as ACC contenders who will make noise in March.
Elsewhere, Kansas' grip on the Big 12 appears somewhat tenuous after it lost to Iowa State and announced big man Udoka Azubuike will miss the rest of the season with ligament damage in his right hand.
The Jayhawks have won 14 straight regular-season conference crowns, and games like Tuesday's battle between Oklahoma and Texas Tech will go a long way toward determining which teams, if any, will emerge as challengers to the throne.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, will face a new test this week—true road games.
Mike Krzyzewski's team has yet to play a true road game this season, but that will change with matchups at Wake Forest and at Florida State. The Seminoles lost on the road to Virginia by double digits but have already defeated the likes of Florida, LSU and Purdue and will look to bolster their resume versus mighty Duke.
Duke receives the opponent's best shot on a nightly basis given its history and NBA talent in Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, among others, but the young core will play in front of raucous opposing crowds at the collegiate level for the first time with ACC positioning and the top spot in next week's Top 25 on the line.
How they handle it should give college basketball fans a preview of what is to come in the pressure-packed moments of late February and March.