College basketball rankings: Kentucky opens vs. Duke with early chance to move up in the Top 25 And 1


USATSI

NEW YORK — It’s been seven months since Baylor demolished Gonzaga in the title game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament to win its first national championship. That’s a long offseason. But in a matter of hours, it’ll be over. Because the 2021-22 college basketball season is about to get underway.

The Champions Classic is Tuesday’s biggest event.

It’s a doubleheader that’ll give us Kansas vs. Michigan State and Duke vs. Kentucky here inside Madison Square Garden, where Mike Krzyzewski’s so-called Farewell Tour will begin. This is the Duke icon’s 47th year as a Division I coach, his 42nd with the Blue Devils. And though last season was undeniably disappointing relative to the standard Krzyzewski has set, there’s no reason to think the Blue Devils will be average again thanks largely to the enrollment of Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin. Both are five-star prospects and projected lottery picks. They’ll be two of what could be at least five or six future first-round picks competing in the nightcap of the Champions Classic.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monday that he hopes this isn’t the last time he coaches against the retiring Krzyzewski, who will turn 75 in February, and there’s obviously a chance it might not be considering both the Wildcats and Blue Devils are talented enough on paper to collide somewhere in the bracket of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, perhaps even at the Final Four. So these two blue-blood programs opening the season against each other is a perfect way to spend Opening Day.

Bottom line, buckle up.

Tuesday is going to be a blast — as will every day between now and the night we crown another national champion. Per usual, the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 will update every morning between now and Selection Sunday. Gonzaga is starting the season at No. 1.

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Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

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1

Gonzaga

The Zags are loaded once again thanks to the return of CBS Sports Preseason National Player of the Year Drew Timme and enrollment of five-star freshman Chet Holmgren. Gonzaga opens the season Tuesday against Dixie State.

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2

UCLA

Every player who helped the Bruins make the 2021 Final Four is back – among the Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez, both of who are CBS Sports Preseason All-Americans. UCLA opens the season Tuesday against Cal St. Bakersfield.

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3

Texas

Chris Beard used the transfer portal to overhaul the Longhorns’ roster and add five players who averaged double-figures in points last season – most notably Marcus Carr and Timmy Allen. Texas opens the season Tuesday against Houston Baptist.

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4

Kansas

The Jayhawks are returning four of the top five scorers from a team that finished second in the Big 12 – and they’re adding Arizona State transfer Remy Martin, who was recently voted th e Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. Kansas opens the season Tuesday against Michigan State.

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5

Villanova

The Wildcats are returning four of the top five scorers from a team that won the Big East by multiple games – among them Collin Gillespie, who is a reigning Big East Player of the Year. Villanova opens the season Tuesday against Mount St. Mary’s.

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6

Michigan

The return of Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks provides Juwan Howard with high-level experienced pieces to pair with the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class that features five-star prospect Caleb Houstan, five-star prospect Moussa Diabate and reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year DeVante’ Jones. Michigan opens the season Wednesday against Buffalo.

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7

Memphis

Penny Hardaway enrolled the the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class for the second time in three years thanks to late commitments from five-star prospects Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren. Memphis opens the season Tuesday against Tennessee Tech.

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8

Duke

Duke is the only program that enrolled three five-star prospects from the Class of 2021 – most notably Paolo Banchero, the 6-10 forward most expect to be the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. Duke opens the season Tuesday against Kentucky.

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9

Baylor

The Bears lost four starters from their team that won the national championship but should remain near the top of the Big 12 thanks to the return of Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and the enrollment of five-star wing Kendall Brown and Arizona transfer James Akinjo. Baylor opens the season Friday against Incarnate Word.

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10

Arkansas

Eric Musselman added four double-digit scorers via the transfer market – among them Chris Lykes (Miami), Au’Diese Toney (Pitt) and Stanley Umude (South Dakota). Arkansas opens the season Tuesday against Mercer.

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11

Purdue

The Boilermakers are returning the top eight scorers from a team that received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament – most notably Trevion Williams, a preseason All-American who averaged 15.5 points and 9.1 rebounds as a junior. Purdue opens the season Tuesday against Bellermine.

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12

Alabama

The Crimson Tide lost three of the top five scorers from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and SEC Tournament, but the enrollment of a top-15 recruiting class highlighted by five-star point guard JD Davison should give Nate Oats a chance to compete for back-to-back conference championships. Alabama opens the season Tuesday against Louisiana Tech.

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13

Houston

Texas Tech transfer Kyler Edwards is joining a core of Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark that should allow the Cougars to compete for a third straight trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Houston opens the season Tuesday against Hofstra.

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14

Kentucky

John Calipari is set for a bounce-back season in part because solved last season’s backcourt problems by enrolling five-star prospect TyTy Washington, Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler and Davidson transfer Kellan Grady. Kentucky opens the season Tuesday against Duke.

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15

N. Carolina

The return of Armando Bacot and Caleb Love will give Hubert Davis a chance to keep the Tar Heels nationally relevant in his first season after replacing Roy Williams. North Carolina opens the season Tuesday against Loyola Maryland.

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16

Oregon

The additions of Oklahoma transfer De’Vion Harmon, Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier and Rutgers transfer Jacob Young should make the Ducks the biggest threat to UCLA in the Pac-12. Oregons opens the season Tuesday against Texas Southern.

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17

Illinois

The Illini are returning four of its top six scorers from a team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament – most notably Kofi Cochburn, a 7-foot preseason All-American. Illinois opens the season Tuesday against Jackson State.

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18

Ohio St.

Chris Holtmann is returning six of the top eight scorers from a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament – among them E.J. Liddell and Kyle Young. Ohio State opens the season Tuesday against Akron.

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19

Florida St.

The Seminoles’ veteran core of Anthony Polite and Malik Osborne will be joined by a top-10 recruiting class highlighted by former Houston standout Caleb Mills and five-star wing Matthew Cleveland. Florida State opens the season Wednesday against Penn.

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20

Tennessee

The Vols are bringing back five of the top eight scorers from a team that earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament – and adding five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler. Tennessee opens the season Tuesday against UT Martin.

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21

Maryland

Mark Turgeon used the transfer market to add a quality guard (Fatts Russell) and big (Qudus Wahab) to a core that should have the Terrapins back in the NCAA Tournament. Maryland opens the season Tuesday against Quinnipiac.

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22

Auburn

The Tigers’ frontcourt of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler might end up being the best frontcourt in the SEC considering both are former five-star prospects. Auburn opens the season Tuesday against Morehead State.

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23

Connecticut

The Huskies should be good enough to challenge Villanova in the Big East despite the early loss of James Bouknight. UConn opens the season Tuesday against Central Connecticut.

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24

Michigan St.

The arrival of five-star guard Max Christie and Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker should have Tom Izzo in his 24th straight NCAA Tournament. Michigan State opens the season Tuesday against Kansas.

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25

St. Bona.

All five starters from a team that won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title and Atlantic 10 Tournament are back – most notably Kyle Lofton, who averaged 14.4 points and 5.5 assists as a junior. St. Bonaventure opens the season Tuesday against Siena.

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26

Virginia

Kihei Clark will provide Tony Bennett with an experienced point guard capable of keeping the Cavaliers near the top of the ACC. Virginia opens the season Tuesday against Navy.

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