Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina Continue Dominance of AP Poll

    Four schools – Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina – collectively have had a nearly exclusive ownership of the preseason No. 1 ranking in college

    October 23, 2018

    Four schools – Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina – collectively have had a nearly exclusive ownership of the preseason No. 1 ranking in college basketball’s AP Top 25 poll.

    The preseason AP poll for the 2018-19 season was released Monday and for the 11th time in the last 12 years, one of those four blue bloods earned the No. 1 ranking. This year it’s the Jayhawks, after the Blue Devils’ two-year run as the preseason team to beat. Kentucky is ranked No. 2, followed by Duke at No. 4 and North Carolina at No. 8.

    Like a vacation rental property traded among siblings every August, the quartet takes turns holding the No. 1 spot, seemingly alternating between each other every year or two.

    The four schools have won six of the last 11 national championships (with three runner-up finishes), so recent history says, more times than not, you’d be right to pick those four schools against the field to cut down the nets in April.

    Here’s a closer look at the dominance those four blue bloods have had in the preseason AP poll and why it’s largely deserved.

    Season Duke Kansas Kentucky North Carolina Final AP Rankings National Championship?
    2018-19 4 1 2 8 N/A N/A
    2017-18 1 4 5 9 4, 9, 10, 18 No
    2016-17 1 3 2 6 3, 5, 6, 7 Yes (North Carolina)
    2015-16 5 4 2 1 1, 3, 10, 19 No
    2014-15 4 5 1 6 1, 4, 10, 15 Yes (Duke)
    2013-14 4 5 1 12 8, 10, 19, NR No
    2012-13 8 7 3 11 3, 6, NR, NR No
    2011-12 6 13 2 1 1, 4, 6, 8 Yes (Kentucky)
    2010-11 1 7 11 8 2, 3, 7, 11 No
    2009-10 9 1 4 6 1, 2, 3, NR Yes (Duke)
    2008-09 8 24 NR 1 2, 6, 14, NR Yes (North Carolina)
    2007-08 13 4 20 1 1, 4, 9, NR Yes (Kansas)

     

    Since the start of the 2007-08 season, the four schools have been left out of the preseason AP Top 25 poll just once, when Kentucky wasn’t ranked in the 2009 preseason poll.

    All four have been ranked in the preseason top 10 in six of the 12 seasons listed above. The average AP ranking of the lowest-ranked of the four schools during that stretch is 11.8.

    The rankings are justified – at least three of the schools were featured in the top 10 of the final AP poll in eight of the last 11 years.

    If it feels like deja vu seeing Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina among the first teams listed in the latest AP Top 25 poll, there’s a reason for it and the four schools have usually collectively and individually backed up the preseason hype with their play on the court.

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