Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
For the third time in poll history Kansas men’s basketball enters the season No. 1 by Associated Press (AP), as the AP released its poll Monday. Kansas received 37 of a possible 65 first-place votes from the AP panel. Kentucky is ranked second and had 19 first-place votes, while Gonzaga, Duke and Virginia round out the top five of the AP preseason poll.
All three times KU has been No. 1 in the preseason have been in the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks were tops entering the 2004-05 season and also in 2009-10. Additionally, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 180 AP polls dating back to Feb. 3, 2009, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
“Obviously, we lost a lot off last year’s team with Devonte’ (Graham), Svi (Mykhailiuk) and Malik (Newman), so I’m a little surprised that the writers put us there this preseason,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “It’s definitely a spot we welcome and certainly know the goal is to be playing to that ranking by when it counts the most. With young players, we know it’s going to take some time before we are anywhere close to where we are going to be, but I do like this team and I do think we have a chance to be very good.”
The AP ranking marks the sixth-consecutive year the Jayhawks have been preseason ranked fifth or higher and the fourth straight at No. 4 or higher. KU was No. 4 in last season’s AP preseason poll, No. 3 in 2016-17, No. 4 in 2015-16 and No. 5 in 2014-15 and 2013-14. It is also the ninth time in the last 10 seasons that the Jayhawks have entered the season No. 7 or higher by the AP.
Under 16th-year and Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self, this is the 13th time that Kansas enters the season ranked seventh or higher in the Associated Press preseason poll and historically, the No. 1 ranking marks the 21st time since the 1992-93 season that Kansas will enter the season seventh or higher.
Last season, KU entered the year No. 4 nationally in the Associated Press poll and ended at No. 4. The AP’s final poll is released prior to the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks have been ranked No. 8 or higher in each of the last 49 AP polls over the past three seasons.
Kansas will potentially play 10 regular-season games against teams ranked in the AP preseason poll, including four in the top 10: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 6 Tennessee (potential NIT), No. 9 Villanova, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 12 Kansas State (twice), No. 13 West Virginia (twice) and No. 20 TCU (twice).
Kansas opens exhibition play when it hosts Emporia State, Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. (Central) in Allen Fieldhouse. The game can be seen on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN+.
2018-19 Associated Press Preseason Poll (Oct. 22, 2018)Rank. School (first place votes) – points 1. KANSAS (37) – 1581
2. Kentucky (19) – 1529
3. Gonzaga (1) – 1461
4. Duke (4) – 1452
5. Virginia (2) – 1286
6. Tennessee (1) – 1,268
7. Nevada – 1,230
8. North Carolina – 1,221
9. Villanova (1) – 1,085
10. Michigan State – 1,024
11. Auburn – 974
12. Kansas State – 922
13. West Virginia – 678
14. Oregon – 638
15. Virginia Tech – 630
16. Syracuse – 620
17. Florida State – 530
18. Mississippi State – 451
19. Michigan – 437
20. TCU – 311
21. UCLA – 297
22. Clemson – 268
23. LSU – 187
24. Purdue – 170
25. Washington – 165
Others receiving votes: Loyola (Chi) 162, Marquette 124, Indiana 98, Florida 71, Nebraska 35, Maryland 28, Wisconsin 24, Notre Dame 22, Cincinnati 21, Alabama 15, UCF 15, Buffalo 14, Arizona 14, Louisville 11, Miami 10, San Diego State 9, USC 6, Butler 6, Texas Tech 6, Texas 5, Arizona State 3, St. John’s 3, Providence 2, Xavier 2, Missouri 1, NC State 1, Marshall 1, Davidson 1
(Release via Kansas Athletics)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.