Instant Reactions to the College Basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

    The AP Top 25 poll is out, and it's the preseason not just for college basketball players, but for the poll website itself. No, the rankings don't stop at

    October 23, 2018

    The AP Top 25 poll is out, and it’s the preseason not just for college basketball players, but for the poll website itself. No, the rankings don’t stop at No. 22 and sorry, Wichita State and Minnesota fans, your teams aren’t ranked in the top 15 like the website initially showed. You can view the accurate, updated poll here.

    Here are the biggest takeaways from the preseason AP Top 25 poll.

     

    Contention for the No. 1 spot

    Seven (!) teams received at least one first-place vote, led by No. 1 Kansas (37 first-place votes), No. 2 Kentucky (19), No. 4 Duke (4), No. 5 Virginia (2), No. 3 Gonzaga (1), No. 6 Tennessee (1) and No. 9 Villanova (1). That’s a higher number of teams receiving a vote for the No. 1 spot than any preseason AP Top 25 poll in at least the last decade.

    As the AP Top 25 Twitter account noted, there’s a general four-team consensus at the top that includes Kansas, Kentucky, Gonzaga and Duke. Almost half of the AP Top 25 voters had those four schools ranked No. 1 through No. 4, in some order.

     

    Get ready for top-five matchups

    The variety of teams that earned first-place votes sets up two exciting conference championship races in the ACC and SEC with two teams in each conference that earned consideration for the best team in the country entering the season. Plus, those seven teams will play each other at least seven times, with the potential for nine matchups, in the regular season alone.

    Kentucky and Duke meet at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis on Nov. 6.

    Duke and Gonzaga could meet in the Maui Invitational championship game later that month, while Kansas and Tennessee could be on a collision course in the NIT Season Tip-Off Final in Brooklyn.

    Gonzaga and Tennessee will face off in the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix on Dec. 9.

    Villanova travels to Allen Fieldhouse the following weekend.

    The Wildcats host the Jayhawks in Lexington as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Kentucky and Tennessee play twice late in the season – in Rupp Arena on Feb. 16 and at Thompson-Boling Arena on March 2. Duke and Virginia will play twice during ACC play.

     

    The ACC will be strong, again

    Seven ACC teams are ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 poll: No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Virginia, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Florida State and No. 22 Clemson. That’s at least two more teams than every other conference.

    The SEC has five teams ranked in the poll, the Big 12 has four, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have three and the Big East has one.

     

    Get ready to stay up late this season, hoop heads

    Only two teams from outside of a power conference are ranked, but they’re both in the top 10: No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 7 Nevada.

    The Bulldogs return five of their top seven players from a 32-win team, while the Wolf Pack return their core of twins Caleb and Cody Martin, and Jordan Caroline, plus they add McDonald’s All-American forward Jordan Brown and several transfers, to the reigning Mountain West champion that made the Sweet 16 last season.

    You might have to stay up later than usual to watch some of the best teams in the country, but you’ll thank us when you’re filling out your bracket in March.

     

    Respect for Villanova

    You don’t need us to tell you that Villanova is one of the premier programs in the country over the last five years. But coach Jay Wright has taken ‘Nova to another level. You can expect the Wildcats to be contend for a conference championship, if not a national championship, and a top-two seed in the NCAA tournament on an annual basis.

    Despite losing their top four scorers from their national title-winning team to the NBA, the Wildcats still cracked the top 10. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall are back for their final season of eligibility and expect significant increases in production from the sophomore trio of Collin Gillespie, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Jermaine Samuels.

    Learn the names Jahvon Quinerly, Cole Swider and Joe Cremo – a pair of freshmen and a transfer, respectively – who should be immediate contributors.

     

    If you’re looking for a sleeper, you don’t have to look far

    The first three teams among “Others receiving votes” could easily crack, if not cement themselves in the AP Top 25. Loyola Chicago returns its top two scorers, Clayton Custer and Marques Townes, and five of its top eight players from its Final Four team. Marquette guard Markus Howard could have an All-American campaign as a junior after averaging 20.4 points with a 46/40/93 shooting split last season. Indiana might have two of the five best players in the Big Ten in senior forward Juwan Morgan and freshman guard Romeo Langford.

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