OPINION: AP Top 25 basketball poll review

Highest ranked teams play tonight; Memphis should be higher up



Then-sophomore forward Marvin Cannon takes a shot on Feb. 23 in Beasley Coliseum.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

The Associated Press released its preseason Top 25 poll on Oct. 28. A lot of transactions happened this offseason, after March Madness, that included players leaving for the draft, bringing in 5-star recruits or having athletes transfer to other colleges. Before basketball tips off, here is what is right and what is wrong with the AP Top 25 preseason poll.

What is right with the poll:

Michigan State is number one overall. I expected that. After retaining most of that final four team, especially candidate for player of the year senior guard Cassius Winston. This is the first time Michigan State has been ranked number one overall in the preseason in school history. Hopefully, the Spartans live up to that ranking when they play number two overall, Kentucky, in their first game of the season at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Florida and Louisville are both in the top six, and it is an interesting move. Florida was a 10 seed last year and Louisville was a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament. Even though both teams did not make it to the Sweet 16 both teams did have great offseasons and recruited top talent.

Gonzaga University, St. Mary’s College of California, Utah State University and Virginia Commonwealth University are all ranked at the beginning. Now, I do like it when the non-major conferences get some representation in the Top 25. All the teams stated were in the tournament last year, Gonzaga was a one-seed, St. Mary’s was an 11-seed, and both Utah State and VCU were eight-seeds. I expect them to be better this season.

What is wrong with the poll:

Memphis needs to be higher. Yes, they are in a non-major conference, but Memphis should be in the top 10. Memphis had one of the best recruiting classes with five five-star recruits coming in. With their new coach, Penny Hardaway, most of their starting lineup consists of future first-round draft picks. Last year, the hype was all around Duke, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. This year, Memphis has the same hype. So, why are they ranked No. 14 when Duke was number two in the preseason last year.

Oregon is in the top 25 again. Be hesitant to have them doing well. Now, the Ducks did have postseason success upsetting Wisconsin and beating UC Irvine to reach the Sweet 16. However, at the beginning of the season, they had the same high ranking and fell very quickly. To Oregon’s credit, the team did lose their star center Bol Bol for the year last season, but to go from a potential five-seed in the tournament and fall all the way to an auto-bid 12-seed shows the inconsistencies of Oregon.

The two teams who played in the national championship game should earn a little more respect. Virginia is all the way down at 11 and Texas Tech is down at 13. The defending champion Virginia Cavaliers had an impressive season, and even though most of their talent left for the NBA draft, head coach Tony Bennett still knows how to coach this team to a national championship, especially after 16-seed UMBC upset them in the first round.

Notable matchups for the first week of the season (11/5-11/10):

No. 1 Michigan State plays No. 2 Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN

No. 3 Kansas faces No. 4 Duke at 4 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN

No. 5 Louisville plays Miami at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on ACC Network

Florida State travels to Gainesville to face No. 6 Florida at 10 a.m. Sunday on ESPN

Notre Dame faces No. 9 North Carolina at 4 p.m. Wednesday on ACC Network

No. 11 Virginia travels to the Carrier Dome in New York to face Syracuse at 6 p.m. on ACC Network

No. 16 Baylor plays Washington at 6:30 Friday on ESPN

No. 20 Saint Mary’s plays Wisconsin at Sioux Falls, S.D. in a non-conference, neutral site game at 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPNU

Texas faces No. 23 Purdue at 4 p.m. on Saturday on FS1