The first Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll was released Friday and the team sitting on top of the preseason rankings is not the defending national champion.
Indiana received 43 of 55 possible first place votes to claim the top spot in the poll. Louisville was ranked No. 2, receiving 20 first place votes and all the way back in third place was the other team from the Bluegrass State, the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats, with three first place votes.
Sports Illustrated reports that it is Indiana’s first No. 1 ranking since before the 1979-80 season under legendary coach Bob Knight. The Hoosiers ranking comes as the team will return all five starters from last season including standout 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller.
Louisville, the Courier-Journal reports, also returns several players from its Final Four run last season, led by defensive force Gorgui Dieng. Louisville was also picked as the preseason favorite to win the Big East conference title.
Kentucky has the most rebuilding to do of the top three after last season’s national championship run saw all five starters leave for the NBA.
The top three schools in the poll are from an area Sports Illustrated dubbed ‘Kentuckiana,’ and all are within an easy drive from one another. In fact, the Midwestern part of the US may be in for a basketball resurgence. The next two teams in the top five were the Ohio State Buckeyes and their arch rival from Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines.
The Buckeyes, Hoosiers, and Wolverines all hail from the Big Ten. Michigan State ranked No. 14 and Wisconsin ranked No. 23 giving the Big Ten the most teams in the poll with five.
The remainder of the top 25 in the AP poll are listed below.
1. Indiana (43)
2. Louisville (20)
3. Kentucky (2)
4. Ohio State
6. North Carolina State
11. North Carolina
14. Michigan State
20. San Diego State
22. Notre Dame
25. Florida State