Duke earns top rank­ing in AP pre­sea­son poll

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Jim O’con­nell

Duke is in a fa­mil­iar place to open the col­lege bas­ket­ball sea­son. The Blue Devils are No. 1 in The As­so­ci­ated Press pre­sea­son Top 25 poll. It is the eighth time Duke has held the pre­sea­son No. 1 rank­ing.

Duke is in a fa­mil­iar place to open the col­lege bas­ket­ball sea­son.

The Blue Devils are the run­away choice for No. 1 in The As­so­ci­ated Press pre­sea­son Top 25 on Mon­day. It is the eighth time Duke has held the pre­sea­son No. 1 rank­ing. North Carolina has the most pre­sea­son No. 1s with nine and UCLA also has eight.

The Blue Devils, who re­turn three starters from last sea­son’s team and have what is con­sid­ered one of the top re­cruit­ing classes in the na­tion, re­ceived 58 of the 65 first-place votes from the na­tional me­dia panel.

Ken­tucky, which had two No. 1 votes, is sec­ond, while Kansas is third. De­fend­ing na­tional cham­pion Vil­lanova had four first­place votes and was fourth while Ore­gon, which had the other No. 1 vote, is fifth.

North Carolina, Xavier, Vir­ginia, Wis­con­sin and Ari­zona round out the top 10.

In­di­ana is 11th fol­lowed by Michi­gan State, Louisville, Gon­zaga, Pur­due, UCLA, Saint Mary’s, Con­necti­cut, Syra­cuse and West Vir­ginia.

The last five ranked teams are Texas, Creighton, Rhode Is­land, Iowa State and Mary­land.

The first time Duke was a pre­sea­son No. 1 was 197879 and the most re­cent was 2010-11.

“It is al­ways an honor to be ranked No. 1,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We un­der­stand that no teams have played a reg­u­lar sea­son game at this point, so many things can and of­ten do change through­out the course of a col­lege bas­ket­ball sea­son. Cer­tainly, we’re ex­cited that peo­ple think highly of our team, and the ACC as a whole.”

The At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence and Big Ten are tied with five ranked teams each while the Big 12 has four. Nine con­fer­ences have at least one team ranked in the pre­sea­son poll.

Duke, which was 19th in last sea­son’s fi­nal poll, lost to Ore­gon in the re­gional semi­fi­nals of the NCAA Tour­na­ment. The No. 1 rank­ing is Duke’s 128th, six be­hind all-time leader UCLA.

North Carolina was No. 1 in last sea­son’s pre­sea­son Top 25 and the Tar Heels reached the na­tional championship game, los­ing to Vil­lanova on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Kansas ex­tended the na­tion’s long­est con­sec­u­tive poll streak with its 143rd straight Top 25, a run that started on Feb. 3, 2009. Ari­zona is next with 79 fol­lowed by Iowa State with 57 and Vil­lanova with 55.

The first reg­u­lar-sea­son poll will be Mon­day, Nov. 14. The first of the top early sea­son matchups will be the fol­low­ing day when Duke faces Kansas and Michi­gan State plays Ken­tucky in the State Farm Cham­pi­ons Clas­sic at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

BOB LEVERONE — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Syra­cuse NCAA col­lege bas­ket­ball player Tyler Rober­son an­swers a ques­tion dur­ing the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence me­dia day in Char­lotte, N.C., Wed­nes­day.

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