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Kentucky tops AP preseason men's college basketball poll

Kentucky's John Calipari will try to win his second national championship this season. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Kentucky's John Calipari will try to win his second national championship this season. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Kentucky topped the preseason Associated Press men's basketball poll released Thursday, becoming the first team since the 1979-80 season to be ranked No. 1 after not appearing in the previous season's final poll.

Kentucky finished 21-12 last season, missed the NCAA tournament and lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. They have six freshman on this year's roster who were selected McDonald's All-Americans last season.

Michigan State, who returns four starters from last year's Sweet 16 team, is second, followed by defending national champion Louisville, Duke, and Kansas.

The second five is led by Pac-12 favorite Arizona. Michigan, who lost in the national championship to Louisville, is seventh. Oklahoma State and Syracuse are tied for eighth, and Florida completes the Top Ten.

Kentucky plays Michigan State at the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 12.

Freshman will take center stage for some of the top team's in the nation.

AP: Kentucky freshmen shine in preseason scrimmage

Duke lost three seniors from last year's squad, but will look to three freshman, including Jabari Parker who was the No. 2 ranked recruit in the class of 2013. Sports Illustrated called him "the best high school basketball player since LeBron James."

The No. 1 ranked player and perhaps the top prospect for the 2014 NBA Draft is Kansas freshman guard Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins, who scored 16 points in his debut this week, will try to lead the Jayhawks to another Big 12 title. They have won or shared the conference regular season title for nine straight seasons.

WINN: Wilt, Danny, Andrew: 22 thoughts on three dynamic Kansas freshmen

The Atlantic Coast Conference has five teams in the preseason Top 25. The Big Ten was next with four teams. The American Athletic Conference, the Big 12 and the Pac-12 all had three teams.

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