The first installment of the USA Today Coaches Poll was released on Thursday afternoon, and it shouldn’t come as a shock to many of you that Kentucky was named the Preseason No. 1 team in the country. Believe it or not, that’s only the second time in program history that Kentucky has been named Preseason No. 1 in the coaches poll. The last time was in 1995-96, the year that Rick Pitino led the wildcats to a national title.
Back to this year’s poll, it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Michigan State was slotted at No. 2 or that reigning champions Louisville checked in at No. 3.
Duke and Arizona round out the top five, while Kansas, Syracuse, Florida, Michigan and Ohio State make up the rest of the top ten.
None of those rankings are out of the ordinary.
In fact, I’d say the most shocking thing about the poll is that there’s really nothing all that shocking about it.
Sure, Oregon is probably slotted a bit too high at No. 18, especially when you consider that Cal checks in at 34th, Arizona State only got two votes for the top 25 poll and Stanford was no where to be found in the rankings of any of the 32 coaches who voted.
Four teams from outside the seven power conferences (I’m including the Big East and the AAC in that conversation) made the top 25: Gonzaga, Wichita State, VCU and New Mexico. Ironically enough, that’s the same as the number of former Big East teams currently ranked: Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame and UConn. Marquette is the only current Big East member in the top 25.