UK Men's Basketball

High expectations for Kentucky in college basketball coaches’ poll

The excitement of Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena

Rupp Arena was filled with UK basketball fans as the men’s and women’s basketball teams held their first open practice of the season at the Big Blue Madness event in Rupp Arena on October 13.
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Rupp Arena was filled with UK basketball fans as the men’s and women’s basketball teams held their first open practice of the season at the Big Blue Madness event in Rupp Arena on October 13.

If college basketball’s coaches know what they’re talking about, the Kentucky Wildcats will be playing in their fifth Final Four of the John Calipari era this season.

UK was ranked fourth in the nation Thursday when USA Today released the first Top 25 men’s basketball coaches’ poll of the 2017-18 season.

Kentucky received 678 points in the polling but did not receive a first-place vote. Joining the Wildcats in the top five were No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Kansas and No. 5 Arizona.

The remainder of the top 10 were Villanova, Florida, Wichita State, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Duke received 20 first-place votes, Michigan State nine, Arizona two and Florida one. The coaches ranked Duke No. 1 in the preseason for the second year in a row.

Florida, Kentucky and No. 25 Alabama were the only Southeastern Conference teams to make the Top 25.

Duke led five teams in the poll from the Atlantic Coast Conference, including No. 16 Louisville. The others were No. 9 North Carolina — the defending national champions — No. 12 Miami and No. 14 Notre Dame. The five from the ACC was the most of any conference.

Top 25 teams on Kentucky’s schedule this season included No. 3 Kansas, No. 7 Florida, No. 10 West Virginia, No. 16 Louisville, No. 18 UCLA and No. 25 Alabama.

USA Today coaches’ poll

Rank

Team

Record

Points

First-place votes

1

Duke

28-9

774

20

2

Michigan State.

20-15

747

9

3

Kansas

31-5

723

0

4

Kentucky

32-6

678

0

5

Arizona

32-5

654

2

6

Villanova

32-4

623

0

7

Florida

27-9

549

1

8

Wichita State

31-5

543

0

9

North Carolina

33-7

515

0

10

West Virginia

28-9

458

0

11

Southern California

26-10

396

0

12

Miami

21-12

383

0

13

Cincinnati

30-6

349

0

14

Notre Dame

26-10

305

0

15

Minnesota

24-10

303

0

16

Louisville

25-9

295

0

17

Xavier

24-14

284

0

18

UCLA

31-5

275

0

19

Gonzaga

37-2

242

0

20

Northwestern

24-12

208

0

21

Purdue

27-8

167

0

22

St. Mary’s

29-5

152

0

23

Seton Hall

21-12

139

0

24

Baylor

27-8

107

0

25

Alabama

19-15

82

0

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M 76, Virginia 57, Butler 43, Missouri 35, TCU 32, Rhode Island 31, Providence 21, Wisconsin 21, Maryland 20, Oakland 19, Oklahoma 19, Michigan 13, Texas 13, Virginia Tech 12, Oregon 12, Southern Methodist 6, Creighton 6, Georgia 3, Georgia Tech 3, Harvard 2, Arkansas 2, Florida State 1, South Carolina 1, Nevada 1.

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