Friday October 31st, 2014

John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats top the Associated Press' preseason Top 25 Poll, followed by the Arizona Wildcats and Wisconsin Badgers.

Kentucky, which is also first in the preseason Coaches Poll, lost the the national championship game last season to UConn. Several key players return from last season's team, including Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Dakari Johnson. 

Despite losing Julius Randle and James Young to the NBA, Calipari's team should be even deeper than last season thanks to a recruiting class ranked No. 2 in the country by Rivals. Calipari has said he plans to use two five-man platoons to manage minutes. The Wildcats open the regular season on Nov. 14 against Grand Canyon.

• HANNER & WINN: Ranking every D-1 team: 351-151

Coming off a run to the Elite Eight last season, Sean Miller's Arizona Wildcats are ranked No. 2. While Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson left for the NBA, Miller hauled in the nation's No. 4 recruiting class, highlighted by No. 3 recruit Stanley Johnson.

Wisconsin, which lost to Kentucky in the Final Four on Aaron Harrison's game-winning three pointer, enters the season as the No. 3 team. Coach Bo Ryan returns most of his roster, including breakout star Frank Kaminsky, who was named the most-coveted player in college basketball earlier this year.

Duke and Kansas, which have the No. 1 and No. 3 recruiting classes, respectively, round out the top five. Here's the complete poll (first place votes in parentheses):

1. Kentucky (52)
2. Arizona (5)
3. Wisconsin (8)
4. Duke
5. Kansas
6. North Carolina
7. Florida
8. Louisville
9. Virginia
10. Texas
11. Wichita State
12. Villanova
13. Gonzaga
14. Iowa State
15. VCU
16. San Diego State
17. Connecticut
18. Michigan State
19. Oklahoma
20. Ohio State
21. Nebraska
22. SMU
23. Syracuse
24. Michigan
25. Utah

RICKMAN: New ACC coaches face challenges

- Paul Palladino

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