INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05: The Duke Blue Devils mascot celebrates the Blue Devils 61-59 win against the Butler Bulldogs during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

AP College Basketball Poll: Duke Tops Preseason Rankings

The defending national champion Duke Blue Devils lead the preseason AP College Basketball Poll, snagging 55 of 65 first-place votes.

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AP College Basketball Poll: Nine Teams Appear On Every AP Voter's Ballot

The release of the first AP Poll for college basketball produces a lot of data to analyze. Two trends in particular may be telling.

First, there are just nine teams that appear on every AP voter's ballot: Butler, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse. That's more or less a who's who of this year in college basketball, and includes seven of the top ten teams. Of those teams, the lowest-ranked squad is the one that lost in the NCAA Tournament final on a failed buzzer-beater: Butler comes in 17th.

Then there are the teams that the voters aren't so sure about. Baylor, Kansas, North Carolina, Purdue and Villanova all received at least one third-place vote and were left off at least one ballot.

There are also a couple of oddities in the poll. Wofford receives a single 25th-place vote. Also, West Virginia receives votes on just nine ballots, but shows up at fourth on Elton Alexander's ballot, which appears to have used last year's NCAA Tournament as a framework.

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AP College Basketball Poll: Duke Tops Preseason Rankings

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:

  1. Duke
  2. Michigan State
  3. Kansas State
  4. Ohio State
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Villanova
  7. Kansas
  8. North Carolina
  9. Florida
  10. Syracuse
  11. Kentucky
  12. Gonzaga
  13. Illinois
  14. Purdue
  15. Missouri
  16. Baylor
  17. Butler
  18. Washington
  19. Memphis
  20. Georgetown
  21. Virginia Tech
  22. Temple
  23. Tennessee
  24. BYU
  25. San Diego State
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