USA Today College Basketball Coaches Poll 2018: Preseason Rankings Released

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2018

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 30: head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on during practice before the 2018 Men's NCAA Final Four at the Alamodome on March 30, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Writers already thought Kansas was the best men's basketball team in the nation.

The Division I coaches apparently agree.

The Jayhawks received 14 first-place votes to earn the No. 1 spot ahead of second-ranked Kentucky in the USA Today Coaches Poll released Thursday. Duke, Gonzaga and Virginia round out the Top Five.

Here's how the Top 25 played out:

1. Kansas (14 first-place votes)
2. Kentucky (12)
3. Duke (4)
4. Gonzaga (1)
5. Virginia (1)
6. Tennessee
7. North Carolina
8. Villanova
9. Nevada 
10. Michigan State
11. Kansas State
12. Auburn 
13. West Virginia
14. Syracuse
15. Florida State
16. Oregon
17. Virginia Tech
18. Michigan
19. Mississippi State
20. UCLA 
21. TCU 
22. Purdue
23. Clemson
24. Washington 
25. Nebraska

There's not really much surprise here. These are the usual elite names at the top, with a few new ones in the next tier.

Kansas will have to overcome the loss of veterans Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman but have a strong group of returning talent and a pair of new guards that should shine early. Quentin Grimes is the scorer to watch early in the season, and Devon Dotson was one of the top point guard recruits in the nation.

Charlie Moore should slide in the lineup after transferring from Cal, and Bill Self has veterans all over the roster that make the Jayhawks an early title contender. In his 16th season at KU, Self told reporters: 

"Obviously, we lost a lot off last year's team with Devonte', Svi and Malik, so I'm a little surprised that the writers put us there this preseason. It's definitely a spot we welcome and certainly know the goal is to be playing to that ranking by when it counts the most. With young players, we know it's going to take some time before we are anywhere close to where we are going to be, but I do like this team and I do think we have a chance to be very good."

Duke and Kentucky lost a bunch of young players and brought in several more. Duke got high billing with the nation's best recruiting class after bringing in RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, widely viewed as the top two incoming freshmen. The Blue Devils also signed forward Zion Williamson, the most famous name in the 2018 class, and Tre Jones, the brother of former Duke guard Tyus Jones.

Kentucky scooped up four 5-star recruits, according to 247Sports, led by forward EJ Montgomery and guard Ashton Hagans. The Wildcats also brought in Stanford transfer Reid Travis, who should add some vital senior leadership in the middle of the defense. Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley should also add some dynamism to the lineup.

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