by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
After bringing in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats are the No. 1 team in the country in the inaugural Associated Press poll.
Kentucky is one of three teams to receive first place votes to kick off the season. The Wildcats received 27, the Michigan State Spartans received 22, the defending champion Louisville Cardinals received 14, and the Duke Blue Devils received two.
Kentucky narrowly got the top spot over Michigan State. The Wildcats accumulated 1,546 ponts in the poll, while Tom Izzo’s Spartans received 1,543. The two teams will face off on Nov. 12 at the Champions Classic in Chicago.
That isn’t the only matchup between top three teams in the preseason poll: Kentucky and Louisville will play their annual game on Dec. 28 in Lexington.
This is the first time that Kentucky was named the preseason #1 since 1995-96. That season, Rick Pitino led the Wildcats to a 34-2 record and a national title.
“It’s a nice honor, but it’s way too early to figure out who’s the best team in the country,” Calipari said. “We may be very talented, but I can’t imagine us being the best team in the country at this point.”
The rest of the poll can be found below.
t-8) Oklahoma State
11) Ohio State
12) North Carolina
14) Virginia Commonwealth
16) Wichita State
21) Notre Dame
23) New Mexico