When Butler walk-on Alex Barlow's shot went in with 2.5 seconds remaining in overtime, sinking top-ranked Indiana on a neutral court in Indianapolis, the outcome was felt as far away as Durham, N.C. As any semi-attentive follower of college basketball realized, the result meant Duke, then ranked No. 2, would make a familiar ascent - to the top spot in the polls.
Which is exactly what happened. Again.
This has been going on periodically under Mike Krzyzewski since the mid-eighties - starting on February 25, 1986, to be exact. That was the first of 105 weeks, including this one, when a Krzyzewski squad ranked No. 1.
In all, under Vic Bubas, Bill Foster, and Krzyzewski Duke has had teams atop the weekly polls 123 times. That's more than any ACC program. Eight came under Bubas in 1966. Ten were achieved by Foster's 1979 and 1980 teams.
Krzyzewski's Blue Devils have been No. 1 in the Associated Press poll during a record 16 seasons. All but one of the 15 previous squads (1993) advanced at least to the Sweet 16.
The 1992 Devils, ultimately repeat national champions, were the last team, and the only one in ACC history, to go through an entire season atop every poll.
Conventional wisdom says a No. 1 ranking places a bulls-eye on a team. By now, of course, Duke plays with the burden of being perpetually targeted, regardless of ranking, so the current state of affairs won't produce a measurable change in the challenge level.
Certainly being top dog won't be a new experience for this year's upperclassmen-- they were part of a team that spent 11 weeks at No. 1 in the AP rankings in 2011.
Otherwise, the Blue Devils spent a single week at No. 1 in four of the past five seasons.
Duke Teams Ranked Number One In
Associated Press Polls, All Time
|Season||Weeks At No. 1||NCAA|
|1999||8*||NCAA title game|
|1994||1||NCAA title game|
|1986||3*||NCAA title game|
|* Finished season No. 1.|