AP College Basketball Poll 2013: Complete Preseason Rankings Released

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AP College Basketball Poll 2013: Complete Preseason Rankings Released
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The first AP Top 25 college basketball poll of the 2013-14 season features Kentucky at the top, followed by a number of blue bloods close behind. 

The Wildcats narrowly earned the top spot in the poll thanks to an excellent recruiting class that was ranked No. 1 in the country by 247Sports, despite missing out on the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

John Calipari nabbed commitments from five of the top 10 players in the composite rankings, including forward Julius Randle, and twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison. The young squad will try to give the head coach his second national title in three years.

Here is a full look at the Top 25, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Full AP Poll
Rank Team
1 Kentucky
2 Michigan State
3 Louisville
4 Duke
5 Kansas
6 Arizona
7 Michigan
8 Oklahoma State
8 Syracuse
10 Florida
11 Ohio State
12 North Carolina
13 Memphis
14 VCU
15 Gonzaga
16 Wichita State
17 Marquette
18 Connecticut
19 Oregon
20 Wisconsin
21 Notre Dame
22 UCLA
23 New Mexico
24 Virginia
25 Baylor

via http://collegebasketball.ap.org/

Starting at No. 2 in the AP poll is Michigan State, as the Spartans return big-time NBA prospects Gary Harris and Adreian Payne. After getting to the Final Four six times since 1999, voters have learned never to count out head coach Tom Izzo. Izzo talked about the team's expectations this season, according to MLive.com's Diamond Leung:

Michigan State was unanimously named the Big Ten favorite after being ranked the No. 2 team in the nation in the USA Today coaches poll, and Izzo said the team deserved to be up there and continued to embrace expectations.

"It's going to be fun to live up to it," he said.

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Meanwhile, defending national champion Louisville comes into the year as the No. 3 team in the country. The Cardinals lost starting point guard Peyton Siva to graduation, but Russ Smith leads a large contingent of returning players who will look to win yet again.  Kevin Ware will also be returning for the defending champs after suffering a horrific broken leg in the Elite Eight vs. Duke.  It's not all great news for the Cardinals though as junior forward Chane Behanan has been suspended indefinitely and will not play this season.

Rounding out the Top Five are Duke and Kansas, two teams that will hope to get a lot of production out of elite freshmen this season.  

Andrew Wiggins is considered by many to be the likely first overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft, and he will try to lead a talented Jayhawks squad deep into the NCAA tournament. Kansas also remains the favorite to win at least a share of the Big 12 for the 10th year in a row.

Meanwhile, Duke will look for a major impact from Jabari Parker, the do-it-all freshman who will likely see significant minutes from day one.

The addition of Kansas is the only difference in the Top Five compared to the previously released coaches poll, which instead has Arizona as the No. 5 team in the nation.  

 

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