College basketball countdown: No. 6 North Carolina

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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Basketball must help heal Michigan athletics

Drew Sharp sees attention pivot from football follies

      
 

 

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Winners and Losers from 2014-15 Preseason AP College Basketball Top 25 Rankings

At long last, the first Associated Press Top 25 poll of the 2014-15 college basketball season has arrived, and there was no shortage of winners and losers.

After nearly seven months of reading varying opinions on who will be the best teams in the country, we finally have a consensus ranking to reference for what remains of the offseason.

As was the case with the coaches poll released two weeks ago, there were no surprises in the top two spots. We more or less agreed all summer that Kentucky would be the best team and that Arizona would be its primary challenger. All hail the year of the Wildcats.

But it certainly didn’t take long for some dissension to arise between the two polls. The coaches had Duke at No. 3 and Wisconsin at No. 4, but the AP had those two reversed.

That’s nothing compared to some of the winners and losers, though.

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Drew Sharp: Basketball must help heal Michigan athletics

Drew Sharp sees attention pivot from football follies

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

2014 AP Preseason Basketball Poll Released

The Associated Press has released its first Top 25 college basketball poll, and, predictably, the Kentucky Wildcats are the No. 1 team in the nation.

Armed with another exceptional freshman class—highlighted by five-star recruits Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyler Ulis—and a distinguished group of holdovers from last season’s national runner-up squad led by Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein, head coach John Calipari‘s squad is loaded again.

The Wildcats received 52 of the 65 first-place votes among pollsters.

Just behind Kentucky are the Arizona Wildcats at No. 2 and the Wisconsin Badgers at No. 3. Despite being ranked a slot lower than Arizona, Wisconsin received eight first-place votes to the Wildcats’ five. 

The Duke Blue Devils (No. 4) and the Kansas Jayhawks round out the Top Five. 

Taking a look at how the power conferences are represented, the ACC and the Big Ten each have five teams in the poll (including four from the ACC in the Top 10). The Big 12 has four and the Pac-12 has two, as does the AAC, which includes the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies.

Kevin Ollie’s team lost stars Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels, but is still ranked No. 17 in the opening poll. The SMU Mustangs are another notable inclusion. They come in ranked No. 22 in the nation and have legendary head coach Larry Brown at the helm.

The season tips off on Friday, Nov. 14. The opening-night slate will feature several of the nation’s ranked teams, including all of the Top Five teams in the country.

 

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Kentucky Basketball: 5 Things Wildcats Must Prove Early in 2014-15

Heading into the 2014-15 season, there aren’t too many questions about Kentucky basketball. Returning a majority of the players that made the national title game and getting four McDonald’s All-Americans joining them on a roster makes Kentucky a clear favorite to win the national championship this season.

However, every question has at least one that has to be answered during the season. For this season, a deep, loaded roster is arguably the biggest question mark on the roster. How will head coach John Calipari handle the minutes? Will the platoon system work?

This slideshow will take a look at the five things the Wildcats must prove early in the 2014-15 season to hold on to their No. 1 ranking. 

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College basketball countdown: No. 7 Texas

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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North Carolina Basketball: 5 Things Tar Heels Must Prove Early in 2014-15

The North Carolina basketball team is No. 6 in the country and has visions of a national championship at the end of the year, but there are things it must take care of early in the season.

In fact, the Tar Heels only have three games before the Battle 4 Atlantis, where they play Butler, either UCLA or Oklahoma and then likely Florida or Wisconsin. That is a quick turnaround for a rather young team with only a few warm-up contests to iron things out.

With that in mind, here is a look at five things North Carolina must do early in the 2014-15 season.

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Southwest Mississippi Basketball Player Throws Down 360, Between-the-Legs Dunk

Please find a way to get Southwest Mississippi Community College’s C.J. Polite in this year’s NCAA dunk contest. The Bears forward can throw down nasty dunks, as this video shows.

During his team’s “Midnight Madness” event, Polite completed a 360, between-the-legs dunk that sent the gym into a frenzy. 

To see more of Polite’s dunks, check out his YouTube page.

[YouTube, h/t College Basketball Talk]

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Fordham Basketball: Top 5 Nonconference Games in 2014

Fordham basketball once again enters a season in rebuilding mode—this time, however, with a young team that could finally end the Rams’ two-decade struggle in the Atlantic 10.

Much has been made of how difficult Fordham’s schedule is, given the fact that the Rams will have to play 18 games against Atlantic 10 opponents. After all, this is a conference that’s never been better, one coming off a season in which it sent six teams to the NCAA tournament.

But before jumping ahead to Jan. 4 when Fordham will open A-10 play against VCU, the Rams will first play 11 games against nonconference opponents.

Factoring in timing, strength of opponent and venue, here are Fordham’s top five nonconference games.

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