Kentucky displaces Michigan State Spartans atop men's college basketball poll
By AARON BEARD
AP Basketball Writer
Kentucky is back in a familiar position under John Calipari: No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.
The Wildcats rose one spot after winning a 1-vs-2 matchup with Michigan State to open the season in the Champions Classic, followed by an easy win against Eastern Kentucky. They earned 64 of 65 first-place votes in Monday’s poll to finish ahead of No. 2 Duke.
“I think we’ll have a good mindset,” sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley said. “Coach does a good job of keeping us humble. We know we’re No. 1, but we’re not where we need to be yet. By the end of the year we want to be that No. 1 team, and we know what we’re looking for from each other.”
It marks the first time the Wildcats (2-0) have reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 since spending two weeks there early in the 2016-17 season.
THE TOP TIER
The same five teams were at the top of the poll, just in reshuffled order.
Duke climbed two spots to No. 2 after winning a top-4 matchup against Kansas at the Classic. The Blue Devils were ranked second on 48 ballots, third on 13 more and no lower than fifth on any ballot.
The Spartans were No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the first time in program history entering the Kentucky game but fell to third, followed by Louisville — which claimed the remaining first-place vote — and Kansas.
North Carolina, Maryland, Gonzaga, reigning national champion Virginia and Villanova rounded out the top 10.
Florida and Baylor took big tumbles after opening-week losses.
The Gators had the biggest fall, sliding nine spots to No. 15 after Sunday’s loss to Florida State. The Bears fell eight spots to No. 24 after losing to now-No. 20 Washington in Friday’s Armed Forces Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.