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Coaches tab Kentucky preseason No. 1

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For months, Kentucky has been referred to as the potential preseason No. 1 team in the country. On Thursday, it finally became official.

UK comes in at No. 1 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll, receiving 16 of a possible 32 first-place votes to come in ahead of No. 2 Michigan State and No. 3 Louisville.

Though the ranking is hardly surprising, it's still historic. UK is the first team in the 22 years of the poll to go from unranked at the end of the previous season to ranked No. 1 at the start of the next. Coaches from around the country are clearly bullish on John Calipari's latest top-ranked recruiting class.

Also, this marks just the second time the Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 in the preseason. The only other time it happened was in 1995-96, when UK would go on to win its sixth national championship.

UK's ranking will be put to the test immediately, as the Cats will square off against the second-ranked Spartans on Nov. 12 in Chicago. Nonconference games at No. 11 North Carolina on Dec. 14 and in Rupp Arena against No. 3 Louisville on Dec. 28 also await UK. The only other ranked Southeastern Conference team is No. 8 Florida. UK will face the Gators twice in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Here's the complete top 25 with first-place votes in parentheses and UK regular-season opponents in italics:

1. Kentucky (16)
2. Michigan St. (3)
3. Louisville (10)
4. Duke (3)
5. Arizona
6. Kansas
7. Syracuse
8. Florida
9. Michigan
10. Ohio St.
11. North Carolina
12. Oklahoma St.
13. Memphis
14. Gonzaga
15. Virginia Commonwealth
16. Wichita St.
17. Marquette
18. Oregon
19. Connecticut
20. New Mexico
21. Wisconsin
22. Notre Dame
23. UCLA
24. Indiana
25. Virginia

Others Receiving Votes
Baylor 102; Colorado 93; Creighton 87; Iowa 86; Tennessee 73; Georgetown 38; Harvard 28; Pittsburgh 23; California 16; Boise State 11; Saint Louis 8; La Salle 7; Temple 4; Missouri 4; Villanova 4; Kansas State 3; LSU 2; Iowa State 2; Arizona State 2; Illinois 2; Georgia 1; UNLV 1.

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