College basketball rankings: Like last year, Duke is No. 1 in preseason AP Top 25 poll

The preseason edition of the AP Top 25 poll was released on Wednesday, and the Duke Blue Devils are ranked No. 1 – the same position they were slotted in the preseason coaches' poll – for a second consecutive season. It's the ninth time Duke has been the top team in the preseason rankings.

Of a possible 65 first-place votes, Duke received more than half (33), despite what appears to be a strong possibility that Hall-of-Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski is likely to start four true freshmen. Krzyzewski has to replace his leading scorer from last season in Luke Kennard, as well as valued veteran big man Amile Jefferson, among others. But he's got plenty of tools to reload in 2017-18, headlined by senior Grayson Allen as well a quartet of heralded freshmen and former five-star recruits, including the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Marvin Bagley III.

Coming in at No. 2 in the AP poll is the Tom Izzo-led Michigan State Spartans, the overwhelming favorite in the Big Ten thanks to the return of super sophomore Miles Bridges. Sparty has a young core led by Bridges, Nick Ward and Cassius Winston – all of which were freshmen last season. With a year's worth of experience under their belts, they appear to have the makings of a team ready to take a major leap behind the play of the top player in college basketball.

Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

Top 25 teams in The Associated Press' men's college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses

RANK SCHOOL 2016-17 RECORD POINTS
1 Duke (33) 28-9 1572
2 Michigan State (13) 20-15 1520
3 Arizona (18) 32-5 1506
4 Kansas (1) 31-5 1439
5 Kentucky 32-6 1340
6 Villanova 32-4 1284
7 Wichita State 31-5 1270
8 Florida 27-9 1100
9 North Carolina 33-7 1047
10 Southern California 26-10 995
11 West Virginia 28-9 840
12 Cincinnati 30-6 837
13 Miami 21-12 836
14 Notre Dame 26-10 814
15 Minnesota 24-10 642
16 Louisville 25-9 570
17 Xavier 24-14 544
18 Gonzaga 37-2 500
19 Northwestern 24-12 473
20 Purdue 27-8 362
21 UCLA 31-5 340
22 Saint Mary's 29-5 333
23 Seton Hall 21-12 274
24 Baylor 27-8 163
25 Texas A&M 16-15 130

Others receiving votes: Alabama 86, Virginia 57, Rhode Island 49, TCU 46, Providence 34, Missouri 19, Virginia Tech 16, Wisconsin 14, Butler 13, Texas 10, Maryland 7, Oklahoma 7, Nevada 7, Michigan 6, Dayton 5, Middle Tennessee 4, Ball State 4, SMU 3, Oakland 2, Oregon 2, South Carolina 1, Harvard 1, UCF 1.

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