After most of the nation's best started their seasons with win-padding games against overmatched cupcakes, not many changes were expected in the Week 2 Associated Press poll.
Kentucky, Arizona and Wisconsin remain the three best teams in the land after each went 2-0 over the weekend. The Wildcats of Kentucky, who opened at No. 1 for the second straight season, were first on 49 of 65 ballots. That's down four from their preseason total of 52 first-place votes.
The Arizona Wildcats and Badgers were at the top of four and seven ballots, respectively, with Duke adding four first-place votes after receiving zero in the preseason.
Kansas rounds out the Top Five. Here is a look at how the second slate of rankings played out:
|Week 2 Associated Press College Basketball Rankings|
|Ranking||School (First-Place Votes)|
|16||San Diego State|
While the win now looks fine from the final scoreline, Kentucky received a scare Sunday from visiting Buffalo. The Bulls outscored their 5-star opponents 38-33 in the first half, which included a meme-ifying dunk from Justin Moss on UK's Willie Cauley-Stein. Kentucky righted the ship in a dominant second half, though, holding Buffalo to 14 points en route to a 71-52 victory.
Boasting perhaps the deepest team of this century, John Calipari has made hay keeping his players fresh. No Wildcat has played more than 26 minutes in either of the first two games, and the second half against Buffalo saw him go long stretches of high-priority minutes with all-bench units on the floor. Ten Kentucky players are averaging at least 16 minutes per game so far.
"They substitute a lot of guys,” Buffalo forward Moss said, per Rick Bozich of WDRB.com. “They get fresh, [but] they don't really get into a rhythm.
"I felt like us being on the court and our substitution scheme helped us get better rhythm. They got fresh legs so that allowed them to run up and down. Me personally, I wouldn't like that.”
Kentucky doesn't have any more time to waste getting into a rhythm. The Wildcats' real tests begin Tuesday when they face No. 5 Kansas as part of the State Farm Champions Classic.
Kansas will be well-rested having not played since its season-opening win over UC Santa Barbara. The underdog Gauchos kept themselves in the game throughout thanks to a 22-point, 13-rebound game from Alan Williams, but a strong 14-point outing from Devonte Graham off the bench helped the Jayhawks open their season with a win.
“It’s a great barometer,” Kansas coach Bill Self told Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star on the matchup with Kentucky. “But the thing that will be interesting for us: There’s a whole different level we’ve got to play.”
The State Farm Champions Classic, hosted in Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will also see fourth-ranked Duke take on No. 19 Michigan State.
The Blue Devils are off to a rip-roaring offensive start, averaging 111 points across two wins against Presbyterian and Fairfield. Freshman All-American Jahlil Okafor has proven himself worthy of the hype thus far, missing just three of his 20 shot attempts and averaging 18 points per game.
"One of our main things is sharing the ball," Okafor told reporters. "Everybody's eating right now."
Five Duke players are averaging double figures, four of whom are freshmen. Justise Winslow is second on the team at 15.5 points per game, Grayson Allen is nearly averaging a point per minute and Tyus Jones has been the unselfish leader of the offense.
Like his counterpart in Lexington, Mike Krzyzewski has been able to rely heavily on depth. Ten Blue Devils are averaging 15 minutes per game, though it's likely we'll see some major alterations to the rotation against Michigan State.
The Spartans, having lost a number of players from last year's Elite Eight outfit, are nowhere near Duke's level of depth. Their season-opening win against Navy saw six players receive 20-plus minutes of action as the Midshipmen surprisingly pushed them to the brink. Travis Trice scored 25 points, adding five rebounds and five assists, to be Tom Izzo's offensive savior.
"It's not about me right now. It's about the team," Trice told reporters after the game. "We've got to figure out what we're doing wrong. That's not how we want to play."
Another early tournament campaign gets underway at the Maui Invitational, which starts its campus-site opening games this week. No. 16 San Diego State and No. 25 Utah will get their first taste of Top 25 action against one another after opening with strong victories.
The Aztecs forced 17 turnovers and had four double-figure scorers in their 79-58 victory over Cal State Northridge. Brandon Taylor scored a team-high 19 points as one of four starters in double figures for the Utes, who took down Ball State 90-72 at home.
The only other game scheduled between Top 25 opponents will take place late Monday, when No. 13 Gonzaga and No. 22 SMU meet in Spokane. The Bulldogs are coming off a 104-58 blowout win over Sacramento State. Larry Brown's SMU team is coming off an equally impressive 93-54 win against Lamar.
For the most part, though, teams are still holding tight against cupcakes as they look to get into an early-season rhythm. More high-intensity games will start trickling onto the schedule next week, as the typical barrage of high-profile games around the Thanksgiving holiday start coming around.
For now, we'll have to settle for the handful of good scraps around a pretty dreary dinner table. Let's hope they're worth it.
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