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Seven Big Ten teams make the cut as the Bulldogs edge out Baylor for the top spot.
The 2020-21 NCAA Basketball season gets underway in just over two weeks, and there’s finally an AP Poll. Gonzaga takes the top spot in the preseason rankings, followed by No. 2 Baylor, and No. 3 Villanova. The Bulldogs finished 31-2 in 2020’s pandemic-shortened season and return Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert. Gonzaga is not holding back with its shortened non-conference schedule as they’re slated to face No. 6 Kansas, Auburn, No. 2 Baylor, and No. 5 Iowa before starting play in the West Coast Conference.
The still-reigning 2019 NCAA Champion Virginia Cavaliers start the season at No. 4, and Iowa checks in at No. 5. The Big Ten leads all conferences with seven ranked teams, followed by the Big 12 with five and the ACC with four.
Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Duke, and Kentucky take spots No. 6-10, respectively.
Houston is the lone representative of the AAC, and No. 18 Arizona State leads a trio of Pac-12 teams — No. 20 Oregon and No. 22 UCLA are the others — in the initial rankings. Despite an abysmal 26-11 in 2019-20, the North Carolina Tar Heels are poised for a rebound at No. 16.
Here is the full poll: