UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky among top 10 in Associated Press preseason basketball poll

UK freshman Kevin Knox soared for a dunk against Morehead State during the Kentucky Cares Classic exhibition basketball game in Rupp Arena on Monday night.
UK freshman Kevin Knox soared for a dunk against Morehead State during the Kentucky Cares Classic exhibition basketball game in Rupp Arena on Monday night.

Duke is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason poll for the second straight season and ninth time as a program, matching rival North Carolina for most all-time. Led by senior guard Grayson Allen and freshman phenom Marvin Bagley III, the Blue Devils received 33 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel in the AP Top 25. No. 2 Michigan State received 13 first-place votes, No. 3 Arizona had 18 and No. 4 Kansas had one.

Duke was in good position to be ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll before landing Marvin Bagley III. Once the nation’s top recruit decided to reclassify for this season, the Blue Devils became the voters’ clear choice.

Led by Bagley and senior guard Grayson Allen, Duke was the preseason No. 1 for the second straight season a ninth time overall, matching rival North Carolina for most all-time. The Blue Devils received 33 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel in the AP Top 25 released on Wednesday.

No. 2 Michigan State received 13 first-place votes, No. 3 Arizona had 18 and No. 4 Kansas got one.

Kentucky rounded out the top five, followed by Villanova, Wichita State and Florida. Defending national champion North Carolina is No. 9 and Southern California is 10th.

West Virginia was No. 11, followed by Cincinnati, Miami, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Louisville, Xavier, 2017 national runner-up Gonzaga and No. 19 Northwestern, which is ranked in the preseason poll for the first time.

Purdue was No. 20, with UCLA, Saint Mary’s, Seton Hall, Baylor and Texas A&M filling the final five spots.

North Carolina was ranked No. 6 in the 2016 preseason poll before going on to beat Gonzaga for its sixth national title.

After Kentucky’s 92-67 win over Morehead State, UK point guard Quade Green talks about his game and being tested.

Kentucky, No. 8 Florida and No. 25 Texas A&M were the only teams from the Southeastern Conference to make the top 25.

UK will face six opponents in the Top 25 this season: No. 4 Kansas, No. 8 Florida, No. 11 West Virginia, No. 16 Louisville, No. 21 UCLA and No. 25 Texas A&M. The Wildcats are ranked No. 4 in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll.

Kentucky opens its regular season Nov. 10 at home against Utah Valley.

Duke had three players leave school early, but coach Mike Krzyzewski restocked the Blue Devils with another stellar recruiting class. The class is led by Bagley, an athletic 6-foot-11 forward was widely considered the No. 1 recruit of the 2018 class before reclassifying.

Duke, which lost to Final Four-bound South Carolina in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, is ranked No. 1 for the 129th time, five behind all-time leader UCLA. The Blue Devils were first the preseason No. 1 in 1978-79 and finished seventh in last year’s final poll.

“It is an honor to be picked No. 1 in your sport,” Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “At this time of the year, it truly is a prediction, so you haven’t earned No. 1 yet. More than likely, past teams that have played at Duke have put this team in a position where people might say, ‘How is that team going to do?' or ‘They have a lot of talent' and all of the sudden, you’re No. 1. Certainly, it’s an honor and we'll look forward to trying to achieve and earn that ranking at some time during the season, hopefully at the end.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference had the most ranked teams with five, while the Big 12 and Big Ten had four each. The Big East and Pac-12 each had three.

Kansas extended the nation’s longest consecutive poll streak with its 162nd straight Top 25, a run that started on Feb. 3, 2009. Arizona is next with 98.

Arizona and USC enter the season clouded in uncertainty after assistant coaches from both schools — along with Auburn and Oklahoma State — were arrested in a federal investigation into bribing players. Louisville was also caught up in the investigation, which led to the firing of head coach Rick Pitino. Louisville will play under interim coach David Padgett.

The first regular-season poll will be Nov. 13. The season will have an early 1-2 matchup the next day, when Duke plays Michigan State in Chicago in the Champions Classic. No. 4 Kansas plays No. 5 Kentucky in the second half of the doubleheader.

Associated Press Top 25

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ preseason 2017-18 college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final 2016-17 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last year’s final ranking:

Record

Pts

Prv

1. Duke (33)

28-9

1572

7

2. Michigan State (13)

20-15

1520

NR

3. Arizona (18)

32-5

1506

4

4. Kansas (1)

31-5

1439

3

5. Kentucky

32-6

1340

6

6. Villanova

32-4

1284

1

7. Wichita State

31-5

1270

19

8. Florida

27-9

1100

20

9. North Carolina

33-7

1047

5

10. Southern Cal

26-10

995

NR

11. West Virginia

28-9

840

13

12. Cincinnati

30-6

837

18

13. Miami

21-12

836

NR

14. Notre Dame

26-10

814

14

15. Minnesota

24-10

642

NR

16. Louisville

25-9

570

10

17. Xavier

24-14

544

NR

18. Gonzaga

37-2

500

2

19. Northwestern

24-12

473

NR

20. Purdue

27-8

362

15

21. UCLA

31-5

340

8

22. Saint Mary’s (Calif.)

29-5

333

22

23. Seton Hall

21-12

274

NR

24. Baylor

27-8

163

12

25. Texas A&M

16-15

130

NR

Others receiving votes: Alabama 86, Virginia 57, Rhode Island 49, TCU 46, Providence 34, Missouri 19, Virginia Tech 16, Wisconsin 14, Butler 13, Texas 10, Maryland 7, Oklahoma 7, Nevada 7, Michigan 6, Dayton 5, Middle Tennessee 4, Ball St. 4, SMU 3, Oakland 2, Oregon 2, South Carolina 1, Harvard 1, UCF 1.

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