New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Reigning national runner-up Kentucky was an
overwhelming choice for the No. 1 spot as the Associated Press revealed its
preseason Top 25 men’s basketball poll.
The Wildcats, who fell to Connecticut in the title game after reaching the
Final Four as a No. 8 seed, received 52 of a possible 65 first-place votes and
1,604 points to comfortably outdistance Arizona for the top spot.
Kentucky did lose standouts Julius Randle and James Young to the NBA, but
returns a number of key contributors from last season’s squad in sophomore
twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, juniors Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-
Stein as well as center Dakari Johnson and forward Marcus Lee.
The Wildcats are a preseason No. 1 by the AP for the second straight year and
fourth time in the history of the storied program.
Arizona earned five first-place votes and 1,518 points to hold off Wisconsin
for second in the rankings. The Badgers, who downed Arizona in last year’s
West Regional final, were listed first on eight ballots while garnering 1,483
The remainder of the top 10 features four teams from the ACC, with Duke coming
at No. 4 and rival North Carolina two spots back of the Blue Devils and one
behind Kansas in sixth. Conference newcomer Louisville is eighth, one place in
back of 2014 Final Four participant Florida, and Virginia ninth with Texas
rounding out the top 10.
Wichita State, which won its first 35 games before being dealt its only loss
by Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament’s Third Round, heads the second 10 and is
followed by Villanova, Gonzaga, Iowa State, VCU and San Diego State. Defending
national champion UConn is 17th, with Michigan State, Oklahoma and Ohio State
occupying spots 18-20.
The remainder of the rankings consists of Nebraska, SMU, Syracuse, Michigan
The ACC and Big Ten each have five representatives in the poll, with the Big
12 getting four ranked teams.