Duke, Kentucky top initial Ken Pomeroy ratings

Associated Press
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Sunday afternoon we moved yet another step closer to the start of the college basketball season, as Ken Pomeroy “rebooted” his ratings website in advance of the upcoming campaign.

Atop his ratings for the 2015-16 season is defending national champion Duke, which has to account for the loss of four starters from last season’s team. Mike Krzyzewski returns some contributors from that team, including guards Grayson Allen and Matt Jones and forwards Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee, and they’re joined by one of the top recruiting classes in the country.

Following Duke in the ratings is Kentucky, another team that lost a lot from last season. Seven players from last year’s 38-1 squad turned pro, leaving some large holes to fill with a combination of returning role players (team leader and PG Tyler Ulis leads the way) and a highly regarded recruiting class that includes guards Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe and forward Skal Labissiere. Rounding out the top five are Virginia, Kansas and Villanova.

Arizona, which lost four starters from last year’s Elite Eight squad, is ranked sixth with North Carolina, Gonzaga, national runner-up Wisconsin and Baylor completing the top ten.

Michigan State has the lowest rating of the Final Four participants of a season ago, coming in 18th. As for the early favorite in the Spartans’ conference, Maryland is 24th in Pomeroy’s preseason ratings. The Big Ten and ACC each have six teams in the Top 25, which falls in line with the opinion of some that those two leagues will be the toughest in college basketball this season.

The Big 12 has four teams in the Top 25 of Pomeroy’s ratings, with Baylor (10th), Oklahoma (11th) and Iowa State (19th) joining regular season champion Kansas. These are good ratings to follow throughout the course of the season, as they do a better job of taking into consideration the impact of newcomers (including transfers, which aren’t factored into the calculations until the season begins).

The full list can be viewed here.