Kentucky is No. 1 in AP preseason poll

New York, NY ( - Kentucky will start the season as the nation's top-ranked men's college basketball team in the Associated Press poll.

Kentucky, which finished last season unranked and lost in the opening round of the NIT, received 27 first-place votes and a total of 1,546 points from a nationwide media panel.

The Wildcats were a narrow choice over Michigan State for the No. 1 spot. The Spartans, who lost to Duke in the Sweet 16, earned 22 first-place votes and 1,543 points.

This marks the third time Kentucky is a preseason No. 1 and first since 1995-96. The Wildcats enter the season with six freshmen who were selected McDonalds All-Americans last season.

Defending national champion Louisville is third after collecting 14 first- place votes and 1,501 points, while the Blue Devils picked up the remaining two No. 1 tallies and are fourth.

Kansas is fifth and followed by Arizona and Michigan, which lost to Louisville in the title game. Oklahoma State and Syracuse are tied for eighth, and Florida rounds out the preseason top 10.

The second 10 consists of Ohio State, North Carolina, Memphis, VCU, Gonzaga, Wichita State, Marquette, UConn, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Notre Dame, UCLA, New Mexico, Virginia and Baylor are the last five teams ranked.