Virginia stays at No. 1 in AP Top 25; Duke jumps to 5th

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Virginia strengthened its hold on No. 1 in the AP Top 25 as it coasts to an Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title, while Duke made a big jump after a pair of impressive wins without its top freshman.

The Cavaliers earned 42 of 65 first-place votes in the poll released Monday. That's 12 more than last week, when they reached No. 1 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era.

The top four remained unchanged, with No. 2 Michigan State earning 19 first-place votes after rallying from 27 down to beat Northwestern.

Third-ranked Villanova got the other four first-place votes after winning at No. 4 Xavier. And Duke jumped seven spots to No. 5 after beating Virginia Tech and Clemson despite playing without Marvin Bagley, the ACC's scoring and rebounding leader who is recovering from a knee sprain.

Virginia (24-2, 13-1 ACC) long ago took the drama out of the ACC race with a 12-0 start and hasn't played since winning at Miami last Tuesday.

The Cavaliers lead second-place Duke by three games in the loss column and own the head-to-head tiebreaker from their win at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 27 , so they can clinch at least a share of the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed for the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn by beating Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Win that one, and they travel to Pittsburgh — now 0-15 in the league — to claim the regular-season race outright.

"You always start the year and you're trying to obviously be about the moment, but you want to have a chance to try to win and be a part of ACC regular-season championships," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said Monday. "With this league and the depth and the amount of games, that would be a tremendous thing to do, so to have that opportunity at this stage with some games left is really good."