Tennessee Remains No. 1 Over Duke in New AP Poll Top 25

The Vols received 40 of 64 first-place votes to stay ahead of Duke for the fourth straight week.
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NEW YORK — The NCAA Division I Basketball Committee slated Duke as the No. 1 overall seed in its initial tournament rankings over the weekend. Voters in the AP Top 25 stuck with Tennessee as their top team.

The Vols received 40 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday, remaining ahead of Duke for fourth straight week. The No. 2 Blue Devils had 24 first-place votes.

No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Virginia, the other top seeds in the NCAA's initial rankings on Saturday, rounded out the top five with Kentucky.

Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) moved to the No. 1 spot in the AP poll after Duke (21-2, 9-1 ACC) lost to Syracuse on Jan. 14.

The Vols continued winning, stretching their school-record streak to 18 games with wins over Missouri and Florida last week.

Committee chair Bernard Muir said the decision for the top overall seed was close, but Blue Devils edged the Vols based on strength of schedule.

Tennessee was No. 1 in the South Region.

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"I want these guys to enjoy what they're doing and I'm probably not the easiest guy to let that happen because I'm always thinking of ways we can get better, and I want to do it right now," Vols coach Rick Barnes said. "I appreciate how hard they're competed and the fact that they want to get better."

Duke won both of its games last week, rolling over Boston College by 25 before winning a rematch with Virginia 81–71 on Saturday. The Blue Devils needed overtime to beat the Cavaliers the first meeting and shot them out of the gym in the second, making 13 of 21 from the three-point arc.

"We were just in our zone and it's great to see when our team is like that," said Duke's R.J. Barrett, who had 26 points and was 6 for 10 on threes.

Virginia dropped one spot from No. 3 after losing to the Blue Devils.

The full poll is below:

1. Tennesssee (40)
2. Duke (24)
3. Gonzaga
4. Virginia
5. Kentucky
6. Michigan
7. Nevada
8. North Carolina
9. Houston
10. Marquette
11. Michigan State
12. Purdue
13. Villanova
14. Kansas
15. Texas Tech
16. Louisville
17. Florida State
18. Kansas State
19. LSU
20. Wisconsin
21. Iowa
22. Virginia Tech
23. Iowa State
24. Maryland
25. Buffalo

Others Receiving Votes: Cincinnati 76, Auburn 35, Wofford 22, Washington 17, Lipscomb 6, TCU 5, Texas 3, Clemson 1.