Monday afternoon brought about the first NCAA men’s basketball preseason AP Poll and, unsurprisingly, Duke took the top spot with 58 of a possible 65 first-place votes after landing what is widely seen as the best recruiting class in the country.
Last year’s National Champion, Villanova, will enter the season ranked fourth in the country. The Wildcats received four first-place votes while Kentucky is ranked second after receiving two first-place votes of their own. Oregon comes in at No. 5 as they picked up a single first-place vote. Kansas is ranked third despite receiving no first-place votes. Last year’s runner-up to Villanova, North Carolina, shows up at No. 6 in the preseason poll.
Nine teams that were unranked at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season appear on the preseason list of the nation’s top 25 teams including Wisconsin at No. 9, Gonzaga at No. 14, UCLA at No. 16, Saint Mary’s at No. 17, Connecticut at No. 18, Syracuse at No. 19, Texas at No. 21, Creighton at No. 22 and Rhode Island at No. 23.
Teams from nine difference conferences appear in the polls with the ACC and Big Ten leading the way with five teams representing each conference. Kentucky is the only SEC school represented in the poll. Connecticut is the lone representative from the American Athletic Conference and Rhode Island is the sole representative of the Atlantic 10. Gonzaga could face a challenge in the West Coast Conference with Saint Mary’s debuting just three spots below the traditional powerhouse.
The complete poll results are as follows:
- Duke (58)
- Kentucky (2)
- Villanova (4)
- Oregon (1)
- North Carolina
- Michigan State
- Saint Mary’s
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- Iowa State