Kansas Tops AP Preseason Men’s Top 25 – Expectations run high on Kansas as they top the preseason men’s basketball poll tabulated by The Associated Press. The Jayhawks were given the top ranking thanks to the strong combination of returnees and recruits. Kevin McCullar Jr, DaJuan Harris Jr and KJ Adams will return for Bill Self in the 2023-24 season and they will be reinforced by Top-50 recruit Elmarko Jackson and Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson. They earned 46 of 63 first-place votes from AP experts covering the basketball beat. Kansas are in front by a mile over Duke while Purdue, Michigan State and Marquette rounded out the top five. The AP preseason Top 25 serves as a basis for NCAA Basketball betting aficionados who look for an early advantage in choosing the right team to bet on in the new NCAA men’s basketball season.
Kansas Tops AP Preseason Men’s Top 25 Poll for the Third Time Under Bill Self
The Jayhawks are ranked the top preseaon favorites for the 2023-24 NCAA season. It is the third time under coach Bill Self that Kansas was named as the top seeds going into the tournament. The potential of the team to rule the whole tournament was on the minds of the press that voted in the poll. The presence of McCullar, Harris, Adams, Jackson and Dickinson and a group of determined players looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022-23 season would give Kansas the “top favorite” tag going into the tournament opener on November 6. More importantly, they will have a healthy coach in Bill Self, who will be back on the sideline after undergoing a surgery to have a valve in his heart replaced last year.
Duke Second, Purdue Third in Preseason Poll
Duke landed in second place as they picked up 11 first-place votes. This is amazing considering that Jon Scheyer is just on his second season with the Blue Devils. Scheyer helped Duke finish the 2022-23 season with a 27-9 win-loss record and reached the Round of 32, a season after he replaced the legendary Mike Krzyzewski as head coach. On November 6, Scheyer will be more motivated to help Duke win the title as he was extended for six more years that will last through the 2028-29 season. The 36-year-old originally had a five-year deal as the Blue Devils mentor and the deal supersedes the initial contract and adds two more years.
Another team making an impression with the AP scribes are the Purdue Boilermakers. Last season’s top seed gained three first-place nods and they will be top contenders once more as AP player of the year Zach Edey is back to lead the Boilermakers to a bounce-back 2023-24 season, months after they were unceremoniously booted out by No16 seed Farleigh Dickinson in the NCAA Tournament. Edey, who is considered as a first-round pick in the 2023-24 NBA Draft, decided to stay with Purdue for another season and he hopes the decision will work for his favor.
Michigan State, Marquette Round out the Top 5
Michigan State and Marquette secured the fourth and fifth spots in the preseason poll respectively. The Spartans will have four blue-chip recruits on their lineup in the 2023-24 season – Xavier Booker, Coen Carr, Jeremy Fears Jr and Gehrig Normand. Among the four, Booker is the most hyped prospect with five-star recruitment ratings from Scout, Rivals and 247 Sports. The 6-foot-10 cager has an ESPN grade of 94, which is considered high by all standards. Fears, Carr and Normand are also tabbed as Spartans to watch in the 2023-24 season. Together with returning players Tyson Walkers, Malik Hall, Jaden Akins and AJ Hoggard, they form a formidable team that could contend in the Big Ten Conference alongside Purdue and in the tournament as well.
Marquette is the fifth seed in the preseason poll, which is a testament for the brilliance of AP coach of the year Shaka Smart. The sophomore coach guided the Golden Eagles to a 29-7 win-loss mark in the 2022-23 season. Marquette will rely on third-team All-American Tyler Kolek and a bunch of returning players, forming a loaded squad that aim to surpass their second-round finish last season. The No5 ranking is the highest rank for the Golden Eagles since they were No3 in March 1978, when they were known as the Warriors.
The Rest of the Field
Defending national champion UConn was sixth with two first-place votes despite losing standouts Adam Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins. The Huskies were followed by Big 12 newcomer Houston, Creighton, Tennessee and Florida Atlantic, which made a surprising Final Four run last season. Gonzaga were ranked 11th followed by Arizona, Miami, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Kentucky came in at No16 with national runner-up San Diego State next, while Texas, North Carolina and Baylor rounded out the top 20. The final five were Southern California, Villanova, Saint Mary’s, Alabama and Illinois.
The new NCAA Basketball season is just weeks away and getting an early look at the AP preseason Top 25 will guide you in betting the best choices for the opener and the rest of the season. Fans also have the luxury of playing out the excellent choices for sports picks and parlays as this guide will definitely provide the best options on which teams will move at the top of the NCAA men’s basketball rankings and which teams have failed to live up with the hype.