After an undefeated regular season in 2020–21, Gonzaga will open the 2021–22 season in familiar territory as the No. 1 team in the men's preseason AP poll, which was released Monday.
The Bulldogs received 55 of 63 first-place votes, with No. 2 UCLA earning the remaining eight. The Bruins return all five starters from last year’s team that went on a miraculous run to the Final Four before losing to Gonzaga on Jalen Suggs’s banked-in buzzer beater. Meanwhile, Gonzaga brought back likely preseason National Player of the Year Drew Timme and added No. 1 recruit Chet Holmgren to the mix.
Kansas, Villanova and Texas, the latter of which is under new head coach Chris Beard, round out the top five.
Defending national champion Baylor enters this season as the No. 8 team in the poll after the departure of stars Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague. No men's program has repeated as national champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007 under Billy Donovan.
Perennial powers Duke and Kentucky enter the season as the No. 9 and No. 10 teams in the country, respectively, after disappointing 2020–21 campaigns. Neither team reached the NCAA tournament and Kentucky had its worst season by record since the 1920s.
The Big Ten and the SEC are the most-represented conferences in the preseason poll, with five teams from each league ranked.
The 2021–22 college basketball season opens on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
Full men's preseason AP Top 25:
17. Ohio State
19. North Carolina
20. Florida State
23. St. Bonaventure
Others receiving votes: Michigan State 87, Indiana 41, USC 30, Arizona 26, Virginia Tech 25, Oklahoma State 25, Xavier 22, Texas Tech 17, Richmond 13, Rutgers 11, Colorado State 11, LSU 7, Belmont 7, San Diego State 5, St. John's 5, Mississippi State 5, Syracuse 5, Drake 4, Colorado 4, BYU 3, Notre Dame 3, Louisville 3
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