College basketball kicked off its season this week, and in turn, the Associated Press has released its first poll of the 2016-17 campaign.
Below, we'll break down the Week 1 poll and analyze the top teams and their starts to the season.
|Week 1: Associated Press Poll|
|Source: AP.org. First-place votes in parentheses.|
Most of the teams ranked in the AP preseason Top 25 opened their seasons with wins this past week. Perennial contenders Kansas, Michigan State and UConn weren't among them, however.
The Jayhawks came into the season as the No. 3 team in the nation. But they surely knew they may not stay there for long, opening the season against Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic. Indeed, the Hoosiers came away with the win, knocking off Kansas, 103-99, in an overtime shootout Friday night.
"I told someone before the game that this feels like March in here, and that's how it played out," Indiana head coach Tom Crean told the AP (h/t ESPN.com).
Kansas coach Bill Self didn't think his team was in March form, however.
"We played like it was our first game," he noted. "We put ourselves in a situation to have the game come down to the end and we made some plays to get it to overtime and in overtime we lost all our guys and certainly it was hard to overcome that."
Kansas can overcome an early drop in the rankings, but the slide could continue Tuesday, as the Jayhawks next face the top-ranked team in the nation: the Duke Blue Devils. But Duke will be without potential lottery picks Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Marques Bolden—all of whom are recovering from injury, according to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com—so Kansas may actually go into the game as the favorite.
The team's nonconference schedule will ease up somewhat after that, so Kansas fans need not wring their hands anxiously just yet. Losing to a depleted Duke side—even one that still has Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson available—would be some cause for concern, though.
Michigan State can sympathize. Like Kansas, the Spartans lost a tight game against an excellent team, falling 65-63 to Arizona on Friday at the Armed Forces Classic. And like Kansas, an 0-2 start is a real possibility with Kentucky on deck Tuesday evening.
And that's just this week, with Duke also looming on Nov. 29. If nothing else, the Spartans will be battle-tested.
UConn may be hard-pressed to take any positives away from its opening loss, meanwhile, as the Huskies were upset by Wagner at home, 67-58.
"I just think it was a lack of intensity, lack of effort on our part," UConn's Terry Larrier said, per the AP (h/t ESPN.com). "We gave those guys confidence early on, and a team like that, they're dangerous."
Certainly, Wagner was not to be taken lightly. The Seahawks returned eight players from last season's squad that upset St. Bonaventure in the first round of the NIT. But losing its home opener was nonetheless a disappointing start to the season for UConn.
Up next for the Huskies will be another winnable contest against Northeastern on Monday.
The upcoming week will feature plenty of intriguing matchups, highlighted by Kansas facing Duke and Michigan State taking on Kentucky. Meanwhile, No. 3 Villanova will travel to No. 15 Purdue on Monday evening, and No. 22 Creighton will host No. 9 Wisconsin on Tuesday in a slate full of fantastic confrontations.
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