The Associated Press preseason Top 25 men's basketball poll was released Wednesday, and the Kansas Jayhawks took the No. 4 spot in the poll. The Jayhawks were joined by the Duke Blue Devils, Michigan State Spartans, Arizona Wildcats and Kentucky Wildcats in the top five.
The preseason poll is not a prerequisite for a title, but a top-five team at the beginning is a leading indicator of March success.
This is the fifth straight season that Kansas ranks in the preseason top five, tied for the second-longest active streak. This is the ninth time since Bill Self became KU's coach in 2003-04 that Kansas has been a preseason AP top-five team, most in the nation in that span.
Overall, this is the 162nd straight week that Kansas is in the AP Top 25, the longest active streak in the nation.
Even with the loss of Frank Mason III, the Wildcats have a solid roster, with the only potential concern being up front, where they are thin. Devonte Graham and Billy Preston will be huge factors in determining how far the Wildcats can go in the NCAA tournament. And hey, it doesn't hurt having Self at the helm.
The top five teams in the preseason AP poll are also the five favorites to win the national championship, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
It's a long road in college basketball, but it's a good bet that the teams at the top to start will be factors come March.
-- Courtney Schellin