For the third time in poll history Kansas men's basketball enters the season No. 1 by Associated Press (AP), as the AP released its poll Monday. Kansas received 37 of a possible 65 first-place votes from the AP panel. Kentucky is ranked second and had 19 first-place votes, while Gonzaga, Duke and Virginia round out the top five of the AP preseason poll.
All three times KU has been No. 1 in the preseason have been in the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks were tops entering the 2004-05 season and also in 2009-10. Additionally, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 180 AP polls dating back to Feb. 3, 2009, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
"Obviously, we lost a lot off last year's team with Devonte' (Graham), Svi (Mykhailiuk) and Malik (Newman), so I'm a little surprised that the writers put us there this preseason," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "It's definitely a spot we welcome and certainly know the goal is to be playing to that ranking by when it counts the most. With young players, we know it's going to take some time before we are anywhere close to where we are going to be, but I do like this team and I do think we have a chance to be very good."
The AP ranking marks the sixth-consecutive year the Jayhawks have been preseason ranked fifth or higher and the fourth straight at No. 4 or higher. KU was No. 4 in last season's AP preseason poll, No. 3 in 2016-17, No. 4 in 2015-16 and No. 5 in 2014-15 and 2013-14. It is also the ninth time in the last 10 seasons that the Jayhawks have entered the season No. 7 or higher by the AP.
Under 16th-year and Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self, this is the 13th time that Kansas enters the season ranked seventh or higher in the Associated Press preseason poll and historically, the No. 1 ranking marks the 21st time since the 1992-93 season that Kansas will enter the season seventh or higher.
Last season, KU entered the year No. 4 nationally in the Associated Press poll and ended at No. 4. The AP's final poll is released prior to the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks have been ranked No. 8 or higher in each of the last 49 AP polls over the past three seasons.
Kansas will potentially play 10 regular-season games against teams ranked in the AP preseason poll, including four in the top 10: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 6 Tennessee (potential NIT), No. 9 Villanova, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 12 Kansas State (twice), No. 13 West Virginia (twice) and No. 20 TCU (twice).