The annual Associated Press rankings are out, giving us a glimpse at expected NCAAM basketball finishes.
This ranking is comprised of votes from prominent sports writers across the country. The writers fill in which teams they expect to finish where once the NCAA basketball season is said and done. The poll has proven to be a fairly accurate predictor of NCAA tournament contenders, if not always Final Four predictions.
The voting showed an expectation for a clear top-tier. The first four teams on the list were pretty consistent before more variation in the lower rankings. Kansas received 37 first place votes, making the Jayhawks an early favorite by a fair margin. Kansas has not always lived up to the hype when expectations are high, but this is a new season with a new crop of players. Anything can happen.
Kentucky is picked to finish second and received 19 first place votes. No other team received more than 4 first place votes in the poll. John Calipari’s squad is always unpredictable as it is filled with new faces every year. Those faces are always prominent ones however, and the squad should win a lot of games once again.
Gonzaga (3) and Duke (4) round out the top four selections. This is the highest Gonzaga has been ranked coming into a season. Duke had one of the best recruiting summers it has ever had, and will be looking to go all the way with its young core. Outside shooting may be an issue, but one that Mike Krzyzewski will probably find a way to work around.
Below is the list of the AP top 25 per ESPN:
AP preseason Top 25 poll
First-place votes in parentheses
1. Kansas (37)
2. Kentucky (19)
3. Gonzaga (1)
4. Duke (4)
5. Virginia (2)
6. Tennessee (1)
8. North Carolina
9. Villanova (1)
10. Michigan State
12. Kansas State
13. West Virginia
15. Virginia Tech
17. Florida State
18. Mississippi State
Though they won the championship last season, Villanova lost some of its top talent and was picked to finish ninth. Loyola (Chicago) picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference only just missed the top 25, finishing a few votes behind Washington.
Other teams receiving votes are listed here, also per ESPN: Loyola (Chi) 162, Marquette 124, Indiana 98, Florida 71, Nebraska 35, Maryland 28, Wisconsin 24, Notre Dame 22, Cincinnati 21, Alabama 15, UCF 15, Buffalo 14, Arizona 14, Louisville 11, Miami 10, San Diego St 9, USC 6, Butler 6, Texas Tech 6, Texas 5, Arizona St 3, St. John's 3, Providence 2, Xavier 2, Missouri 1, NC State 1, Marshall 1, Davidson 1
Of course these rankings do little more than give us something to talk about as we anxiously await the start of the college basketball season. The first games begin November 6th, so we will start seeing how good these teams really are soon.
Good luck to everyone’s favorite team this season! For more college hoops, NBA basketball, and local stuff, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement and follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement