One year after returning to the top of the college basketball landscape, Duke will have a hard time getting back to the peak of the mountain in the 2010-11 college basketball season.
That's because the Blue Devils start on top this time around.
The defending national champions lead the preseason AP Poll, snagging 55 of 65 first-place votes, and appear as stacked as they have ever been under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Though Duke loses graduated senior Jon Scheyer and big man Brian Zoubek, the Blue Devils brought in touted recruit Kyrie Irving and stud transfer Seth Curry — brother of former Davidson star Stephen Curry — and return an excellent core in guard Nolan Smith, versatile perimeter player Kyle Singler, and interior stalwarts Mason and Miles Plumlee.
Duke will be looking to become the first team to win consecutive national championships since Florida did so in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
Behind the Blue Devils, Michigan State and Kansas State also received first-place votes. The Spartans have a strong group of upperclassmen, and should be tough as ever under Tom Izzo despite some off-season turmoil, such as the DUI arrest of Korie Lucious. The Wildcats earned their highest ranking since 1962 largely on the strength of the talented senior tandem of Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly.
Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, and Syracuse round out the top ten. Last year's runner-up, Butler, comes in at 17th.
The full preseason AP Poll:
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Ohio State
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- San Diego State