CBK Roundup: Kentucky tops AP preseason poll

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Kentucky starts off the season ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press for the first time since 1996.

The Wildcats, who ended last season with a loss in the first round of the NIT, received 27 of 65 first-place votes in the poll, which was released Thursday.

No. 2 Michigan State received 22 first-place votes, No. 3 Louisville had 14 and No. 4 Duke got the remaining two. Kansas rounded out the top five.

The last time a team began the season No. 1 after not finishing the previous season in the top 25 was Indiana in 1979. The Hoosiers reached an NCAA Tournament regional semifinals in 1980.

It is just the third time Kentucky has started the season ranked No. 1 by AP.

The ACC has the most teams in the top 25 with five. The Big Ten includes four ranked teams, and the Big 12, Pac-12 and American Athletic Conference each have three.

More than 130 games kick off the season on Nov. 8.

---Coach Tom Izzo smiles and shrugs about preseason polls, and his reaction to Michigan State as the unanimous pick to win the Big Ten in the preseason conference media poll was much the same.

Izzo did appreciate the nod from the poll to sophomore guard Gary Harris, who was named the preseason Player of the Year on Thursday.

"(Harris) could be one of the best guards I've ever coached," Izzo said Thursday.

Michigan and Ohio State followed the Spartans. The Big Ten releases only the top three finishers in the poll.

---Florida coach Billy Donovan announced Thursday that transfers Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris, and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were suspended for violating undisclosed team rules.

ESPN reported that Wilbekin will be benched the first three games of the season while Finney-Smith and Harris will miss two games.

Wilbekin started 29 games last season but is expected to compete with freshman Kasey Hill for playing time. Hill likely will start while Wilbekin is out.

The 6-foot-7 Finney-Smith, a former Virginia Tech forward, is considered the most impressive Gator in practice so far, according to several NBA scouts, and could start once he is reinstated. Harris, a South Carolina, transfer, is expected to provide shot-blocking coming off the bench.

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