Wildcats, Spartans 1-2 as showdown looms
Kentucky and Michigan State held the top sports in The Associated Press' first regular-season college basketball poll, setting up the first No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchup in five years.
The Wildcats held the same three-point advantage over the Spartans from the preseason poll, and the teams will meet Tuesday night in Chicago. The last 1-2 matchup was No. 2 Tennessee's 66-62 victory over Memphis on Feb. 24, 2008.
This will be the earliest 1-2 matchup in a season, with the previous being No. 1 Indiana's 84-64 victory over UCLA in St. Louis on Nov. 29, 1975.
No. 1 seeds hold a 21-17 advantage in the meetings of top teams with the No. 2 teams having won three of the last four. The Wildcats have a 5-2 record in these games with the most recent being an 81-74 victory over John Calipari's top-ranked UMass team in the 1996 Final Four.
Kentucky received 28 first-place votes and 1,552 points from the 65-member national media panel. Michigan State had 22 No. 1 votes. Defending champion Louisville remained third and was No. 1 on 12 ballots.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this doubleheader will be the first time in the past 30 years there will be two regular-season games between four of the top five teams in the AP poll playing on the same day in the same building. Four teams ranked in the top five were in the same building for the 2008 Final Four, the only Final Four that had all four No. 1 seeds.
There may not have been any newcomers to the Top 25, but there was a change at No. 26. Creighton, which beat Alcorn State 107-61 in its opener, vaulted Tennessee, which hasn't played yet, for the first spot outside the rankings.
The first weekend of the regular season saw ranked teams go 26-0 -- Kentucky and No. 21 Notre Dame played two games, while No. 13 Memphis didn't play -- and their average margin of victory was 23.2 points.
Five teams won by single digits with No. 19 Connecticut's 78-77 win over Maryland the closest, and the Huskies dropped one spot as a result. The other single-digit wins were by No. 11 Florida, No. 17 Marquette, No. 18 Oregon and No. 24 UCLA.
The American Athletic Conference had three teams -- Louisville, Memphis and Connecticut -- in the preseason Top 25, and the new league got off to a perfect start. Over the first three days of the regular season, teams from the AAC went 9-0. The only other conferences to make it out of the first weekend undefeated were the Big Ten and West Coast.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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