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Monday, February 18, 2013
Poll Thoughts: Settling in (for now)

By Eamonn Brennan

College hoops polls might be inconsequential noise, but that doesn't make the arguments any less fun. In that spirit, I present the creatively named Poll Thoughts, which you can expect every Monday until the season is over.

Have the polls finally calmed down?

It certainly looks that way, particularly at the top. For the first time in months, since Duke was rounding the tail end of its nonconference schedule in late December, we've got a No. 1 team that has managed to maintain its grip on the spot for longer than a few days, or a solitary week. Indiana plays at Michigan State Tuesday — possibly without Victor Oladipo — so we'll revise accordingly. But you get the point: Despite its best attempts at Illinois, IU didn't relinquish its top spot after one week like so many other No. 1s had done this season. The Hoosiers kept it. I suppose that's something.

More interesting to me, though, is where we currently are with the top 10. Disagree on individual placement all you like -- as I wrote last week, at this point you can choose your own poll adventure, free from the conventions of the enterprise -- but would anyone disagree that those are essentially the best 10 teams in the country?

For most of the season you've heard that this year includes no "great" teams (a tricky proposition to quantify but probably true); it's likewise been said the sport has between eight and 10 very good squads, any of which could win the 2013 national title.

That much is true. Those teams: Indiana, Miami, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Florida, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, Kansas, Louisville. In the middle of February, after dozens of upsets and week after week of poll churn, we seem to have this thing mostly figured out. For now, anyway.

Some quick thoughts on the non-top-10 portions of the poll: