After losing all five starters and its five leading scorers, Kansas and Bill Self have reloaded around one of the top freshman classes in the country.
But there’s still plenty of competition at the top of the polls in what appears to be a loaded year for college basketball. The evidence: Kansas came in at No. 5 in the preseason Associated Press basketball poll released Thursday.
The Jayhawks, ranked No. 6 in the preseason USA Today coaches’ poll, were slotted behind an AP top four that features No. 1 Kentucky, Michigan State, defending national champion Louisville and Duke.
Kansas will open its season next Friday against Louisiana-Monroe at Allen Fieldhouse before facing off against No. 4 Duke at the Champions Classic on Nov. 12 in Chicago. The doubleheader will also feature No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Michigan State.
Kentucky, which has a record six McDonald’s All-Americans in its freshman class, was the narrow choice over Michigan State for No. 1
The Wildcats, who finished last season with an NIT opening-round loss at Robert Morris, received 27 first-place votes and 1,546 points from the 65-member national media panel.
The Spartans, who return four starters from the team that lost to Duke in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16, snared 22 first-place votes and 1,543 points. The last preseason No. 1 not to be ranked in the final poll of the previous season was Indiana in 1979-80.
Oklahoma State, which was picked as a co-favorite with Kansas by the Big 12 coaches, was tied with Syracuse for No. 8. Wichita State, coming off a run to the Final Four, was ranked 16th. Baylor was the only other Big 12 team in the rankings, coming in at No. 25. The SEC had two teams in the rankings, with No. 10 Florida joining top-ranked Kentucky. Missouri received three points in the voting.Preseason AP poll
|Team (first-place votes)||Rec.||Points||Prv.|
|1. Kentucky (27)||21-12||1,546||—|
|2. Michigan State (22)||27-9||1,543||9|
|3. Louisville (14)||35-5||1,501||2|
|4. Duke (2)||30-6||1,435||6|
|8. Oklahoma State||24-9||1,093||17|
|11. Ohio State||29-8||1,036||7|
|12. North Carolina||25-11||954||—|
|16. Wichita State||30-9||512||—|
|21. Notre Dame||25-10||332||23|
|23. New Mexico||29-6||213||10|
Others receiving votes: Tennessee 176, Creighton 145, Indiana 111, Colorado 83, Iowa 83, Harvard 46, Boise State 22, Villanova 14, Arizona State 11, Georgetown 11, UNLV 8, Washington 8, LSU 6, Pittsburgh 6, Stanford 6, Boston College 5, La Salle 4, Missouri 3, Saint Louis 3, St. John’s 3, Cincinnati 1.