Kentucky men's basketball ranked in 2021-22 preseason AP poll

Hayes Gardner
Louisville Courier Journal

For the first time since March 2020, a massive crowd of Kentucky basketball fans returned to Rupp Arena for a 100% capacity event, as the Wildcats' basketball teams participated in Big Blue Madness on Friday.

And for the first time since Dec. 2020, the UK men's basketball team returned to the AP Top 25 on Monday. The Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll.

More:UK basketball schedule 2021-22: Wildcats' game times, TV info, streaming, final scores

UK had a forgettable 2020-21 campaign, going 9-16, missing the NCAA Tournament and posting single-digit wins for the first time since 1927. John Calipari's program appears to have reloaded, however, with transfers and freshmen.

The Wildcats will play in the Blue-White game on Friday at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena and have exhibitions on Oct. 29 (Kentucky Wesleyan) and Nov. 5 (Miles College) before squaring off with No. 9 Duke on Nov. 9 in Madison Square Garden in New York.

Per Tipico, Kentucky is +1300, meaning 13:1 odds, to win the 2022 NCAA men's basketball title — the 8th-best odds. Louisville's odds are 30:1.

UK:Kentucky's Big Blue Madness features rappelling coach and large Rupp Arena crowd

The Cardinals will not be ranked by the AP entering the season, but did receive three votes in the poll. Indiana received 41 votes, just outside the top 25.

UK is the highest ranked SEC team, above Alabama (No. 14), Arkansas (No. 16), Tennessee (No. 18) and Auburn (No. 22).

Gonzaga, last year's national runner-up, is ranked No. 1; the Zags host Bellarmine on Nov. 19.

The AP women's basketball preseason poll will be released Tuesday.

2021-22 Preseason men's basketball AP Top 25

  1. Gonzaga
  2. UCLA
  3. Kansas
  4. Villanova
  5. Texas
  6. Michigan
  7. Purdue
  8. Baylor
  9. Duke
  10. Kentucky
  11. Illinois
  12. Memphis
  13. Oregon
  14. Alabama
  15. Houston
  16. Arkansas
  17. Ohio State
  18. Tennessee
  19. North Carolina
  20. Florida State
  21. Maryland
  22. Auburn
  23. St. Bonaventure
  24. Connecticut
  25. Virginia

Hayes Gardner can be reached at hgardner@gannett.com; Twitter: @HayesGardner.