Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kentucky Ranked No. 1 to Start Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kentucky Ranked No. 1 to Start Season

Article excerpt

The story seems to be the same every season at Kentucky: Lose star players to the NBA, replace them with another group of one- and-doners, compete for a national championship.

The Wildcats changed the script this season: This year, the fabulous freshmen will be surrounded by other former McDonald's All- Americans who played for the NCAA title just seven months ago - a team so deep and talented that coach John Calipari is considering a platoon system.

Kentucky was the runaway No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 released today, becoming the fourth program to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.

"It's something for our kids to live up to," Calipari said. "At the end of the day, you've got to play the games and figure it out."

Kentucky earned 52 first-place votes from the 65-member panel in landing its fourth preseason No. 1. The Wildcats also were No. 1 in 1995-96, when they won the national championship, and in 1980-81.

Kentucky joins UCLA (1966-60, 1971-74), UNLV (1990-91) and North Carolina (2008-09) to be named preseason No. 1 consecutive seasons since the AP poll started in 1961-62.

Arizona is ranked No. 2 and received five first-place votes after adding a strong recruiting class to a team that came within seconds of reaching the Final Four last season.

Wisconsin, which returns most of last season's Final Four team, has its highest preseason ranking ever at No. 3. The Badgers received eight first-place votes, but are 35 points behind Arizona in the poll.

No. 4 Duke added a strong recruiting class headed by Jahlil Okafor. Reloaded Kansas is No. 5, with North Carolina, Florida, Louisville, Virginia and Texas rounding out the top 10. Virginia is in the preseason top 10 for the first time since Ralph Sampson's senior season in 1982-83, when it was No. 1.

Wichita State, a Final Four team two seasons ago, is No. 11, followed by Villanova, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Virginia Commonwealth, San Diego State, defending national champion Connecticut, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

Rounding out the Top 25 are Nebraska, SMU, Syracuse, Michigan, Harvard and Utah.

MORE NCAA: MICHIGAN AD RESIGNS

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has resigned, setting the stage for new leadership at the top of one of the nation's most prominent athletic departments.

Brandon's resignation comes amid a dismal football season and concerns over the school's handling of everything from its concussions protocol to student seating at games.

Football coach Brady Hoke's future has been in doubt for months thanks to his team's lack of progress, but Brandon also became a target of disgruntled fans and students.

University President Mark Schlissel, who officially took over in September, said at a mid-October regents' meeting that he wanted to do an in-depth review of Michigan athletics.

Displeasure with Brandon and Hoke was already mounting at that point, with the football team struggling and the department still being criticized for its handling of quarterback Shane Morris' head injury in a Sept. …

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