USA Today College Basketball Coaches Poll 2014: Preseason Rankings Released

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats motions to his players during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship against the Connecticut Huskies at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After falling just short of winning their second national championship in three years last season, the Kentucky Wildcats top USA Today's preseason college basketball Coaches Poll for the 2014-15 campaign.   

As seen in this rundown of the Top 25, the SEC favorites garnered 24 out of a possible 32 first-place votes:

USA Today Preseason College Basketball Coaches Poll
RankTeamPointsFirst-Place Votes
1Kentucky78524
2Arizona7463
3Duke7152
4Wisconsin7063
5Kansas6540
6North Carolina5980
7Florida5680
8Virginia5190
9Louisville5070
10Texas4790
11Wichita State4710
12Villanova4390
13Gonzaga4230
14Iowa State3230
15Connecticut2920
16VCU2590
17San Diego State2510
18Michigan State2410
19Oklahoma2370
20Ohio State2230
21Nebraska1560
22SMU1490
23Michigan1390
24Syracuse1280
25Iowa560
USAToday.com

Despite losing Julius Randle and James Young to the NBA, Kentucky is in the catbird seat due largely to the return of twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

According to Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal, the Wildcats' occupation of the No. 1 spot isn't particularly unexpected:

Perennial contenders in Arizona, Duke, Wisconsin and Kansas round out the Top Five. The University of Connecticut, which won the national title last season, checks in at No. 15 in the wake of superstar guard Shabazz Napier making the jump to the NBA.

Wichita State, which went undefeated during the regular season in 2013-14, checks in at No. 11.

Although the poll certainly provides college basketball observers with a jumping-off point, the rankings shouldn't be taken as gospel. UConn was ranked just 19th in last year's preseason poll, while fellow Final Four team Wisconsin was No. 21.

Kentucky checks in at No. 1 for the second consecutive season, and there is no question that head coach John Calipari is hopeful that this campaign will end slightly better than the last.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter