AP men’s basketball Top 25: Kansas opens over Duke at No. 1 in preseason poll

Kansas earned 46 of 63 first place votes to open at No. 1 for just the third time in Bill Self's tenure in Lawrence

Kanas earned 46 of 63 first place votes to open at No. 1 for just the third time in Bill Self's tenure in Lawrence
Kansas earned 46 of 63 first place votes to open at No. 1 for just the third time in Bill Self's tenure in Lawrence. (Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

The men's college basketball season is almost here.

The Associated Press released this season's first version of the Top 25 rankings on Monday, just three weeks before the season officially kicks off.

While a lot will change between now and Nov. 6, one thing was abundantly clear in the first edition of the poll. Kansas and Duke, like they always seem to be, are again on top of the sport.

Here’s everything you need to know with just a few weeks to go before the college basketball season gets underway.

Kansas tops Duke in preseason poll

Kansas was always going to be in the mix this season to win a second national title in three years. The addition of Hunter Dickinson, however, solidified that to start the fall.

Kansas opened the season as the clear No. 1 pick in the preseason poll Monday. The Jayhawks earned 46 of 63 first-place votes, which easily put them ahead of Duke at No. 2. It marks the third time that Kansas has opened the season No. 1 under Self, and the first since the 2018-19 season.

Head coach Bill Self landed Dickinson as a transfer from Michigan this past summer, adding one of the best big men in the sport and the most sought-after transfer to his roster in the offseason. Dickinson averaged 18.5 points and nine rebounds per game last season with the Wolverines, and should fit nicely inside with K.J. Adams, who is coming off of a breakout season. Self is returning Kevin McCullar Jr. and DaJuan Harris Jr., too, and bringing in four-star recruit Elmarko Jackson. The point guard was the No. 25-ranked player in his class.

While it’s going to take a lot to get out of the Big 12 conference unscathed — the league has six programs either ranked or receiving votes in the first poll — Kansas is more than capable of making it back to the title game again.

“You know you’ll have a target on your back playing at Kansas,” McCullar said, via the Associated Press. “We’ll have that chip on our shoulder, you know, prove everybody wrong, and state why you should be the No. 1 team in the nation. You go out there and use that. You use that as fuel every day.”

Can Purdue finally pull off a title?

Purdue has been in a great position to win a national championship in recent years, something that the Big Ten conference hasn’t seen since 2000.

Yet the Boilermakers have slipped considerably in the NCAA tournament. They’ve been upset by double-digit seeds in the tournament for the past three seasons, most recently by No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson last March, which made Purdue the second team in tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed as a top seed.

“I don’t think [the FDU] loss will stay with me through the year, I think it will stay with me forever,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said at the Big Ten media days last week, via “I wish it didn’t. I think that’s part of being a competitor, I think that’s part of coaching.”

“For us it’s part of a process, it’s part of getting out there and putting yourself in a great position … We’ve had a lot of pushback and some of that pushback is true. You have to embrace that.”

Purdue is the favorite to win the Big Ten regular-season title for a second straight year, thanks largely to the return of 7-foot-4 center and reigning National Player of the Year Zach Edey. The Boilermakers, who are bringing back all five starters from last season, are ranked No. 3 in the first preseason poll.

Michigan State was right behind at No. 4. Illinois was the only other Big Ten team in the rankings at No. 25.

Duke was No. 2 in the opening poll with 11 first-place votes in what is head coach Jon Scheyer’s second season at the helm. He led the Blue Devils to the second round of the NCAA tournament last spring after replacing longtime coach Mike Krzyzewski. Marquette rounded out the top five in what is the program’s highest ranking since 1978.

Defending champion UConn will start at No. 6; it earned two first-place votes despite losing Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins.

Full AP preseason Top 25

The full AP preseason Top 25 poll from Oct. 16, 2023:

1. Kansas

2. Duke

3. Purdue

4. Michigan State

5. Marquette

6. UConn

7. Houston

8. Creighton

9. Tennessee

10. Florida Atlantic

11. Gonzaga

12. Arizona

13. Miami

14. Arkansas

15. Texas A&M

16. Kentucky

17. San Diego State

18. Texas

19. North Carolina

20. Baylor

21. USC

22. Villanova

23. Saint Mary’s

24. Alabama

25. Illinois

Others receiving votes: Wisconsin 53, Colorado 49, UCLA 47, St. John's 47, Maryland 34, Virginia 27, Auburn 27, TCU 24, Mississippi St. 20, Kansas St 13, Xavier 8, Memphis 7, Missouri 6, Boise St. 4, Indiana 3, Florida 2, Coll of Charleston 2, New Mexico 1, Drake 1