The Associate Press (AP) poll has been a staple of college basketball since the 1948-49 season. These rankings serve as a scorecard to judge how well teams are doing.
They help fans, coaches, and players know what to expect and spark discussions about which teams might have a shot at winning the national championship.
Each week, a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from around the country cast their votes to determine the rankings. It has a huge influence on public perception and media coverage.
On the other hand, pre-season rankings can be compared to the trailer of a movie. They give us a sneak peek into what we can predict from college basketball's elite teams in the upcoming season.
This article explores the details of the pre-season rankings for the 2023-24 top 25 basketball teams in college, based on how teams performed in the previous season.
2022-23 Season Record: 28-8 (13-5 Big 12)
Big 12 regular season champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost in 2nd round to Arkansas
Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team is ranked at the top on the AP top 25 basketball rankings ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The Jayhawks dominated the regular season with 13 wins and 5 losses in the Big 12 conference claiming the top spot in the table. Under the leadership of head coach Bill Self, Kansas easily waved past West Virginia and Iowa State to reach the Big 12 Finals but lost to Texas.
With the addition of seniors like Nicolas Timberlake and Hunter Dickinson, Kansas is the favorite of the NCAA tournament this season.
2022-23 Season Record: 27-9 (14-6 ACC)
ACC Tournament champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost in 2nd round to Tennessee
Head Coach Jon Scheyer will lead the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team for the second season in the 2023-24 campaign.
With a 14-6 record, Duke finished the regular season in third place in the 2022-23 ACC standing. As the No.4 seed, they eventually won their 22nd championship by beating Pittsburgh, Miami, and Virginia.
Besides, former Standford's RS Senior Neal Begovich has joined the Blue Devils ahead of the new season.
2022-23 Season Record: 29-6 (15-5 Big Ten)
Big Ten regular season and tournament champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the First Round
Purdue Boilermakers men's basketball team dominated the Big Ten last season winning the regular season and conference championship.
In his 19th season, the Boilermakers' head coach, Matt Painter, is determined to make this season memorable by clinching victory in the NCAA tournament.
The team will benefit significantly in 2024 from the addition of Lance Jones, a guard standing at 6 feet 1 inch, from Southern Illinois.
4. Michigan State
2022-23 Season Record: 21-13 (11-8 Big Ten)
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost in Sweet Sixteen to Kansas State
After Purdue, Michigan State Spartans men's basketball is another Big Ten team to make the top 5 of AP college basketball rankings.
In the 2023-24 season, head coach Tom Izzo aims to secure the program's third national NCAA tournament title. The Spartans reached the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament and hope to improve their performance this season.
Senior guard Tyson Walker and forward Malik Hall have returned to play for the MSU.
2022-23 Season Record: 29-7 (17-3 Big East)
Big East regular season and tournament champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, defeat against Michigan State in Second Round
Marquette Golden Eagles basketball team led the Big East in the regular season with a 29-7 record in the 2022-23 season.
The Golden Eagles also went all the way to the Big East championship game and secured a win against Xavier to claim the trophy. However, their NCAA tournament run was halted by Michigan State in the second round.
For 2023-24, Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones, and Stevie Mitchell are set to be crucial players for Marquette. Meanwhile, junior forward David Joplin is expected to step up and take on the role left vacant by Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks.
2022-23 Season Record: 31-8 (13-7 Big East)
NCAA National Tournament champions
Phil Knight Invitational Champions
UConn Huskies men's basketball team goes to the 2023-24 college basketball season as the defending national champions.
Though their regular season and conference tournament did not go as expected, the Huskies were unstoppable during the NCAA Tournament, ultimately winning the championship. They defeated San Diego State in the Final by 76-59.
However, the departures of Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr. could hurt their shot to win back-to-back March Madness titles.
2022-23 Season Record: 33-4 (17-1 AAC)
AAC regular season champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost in Sweet Sixteen to Miami
Houston Cougars men's basketball team clinched the ACC regular season securing a top spot with 17 wins and just a single loss.
in the ACC Conference tournament, they were the favorite to win but were humbled by Memphis in the championship game. Similarly, their NCAA Tournament run was not worth praising either as they were outsed by Miami in Sweet 16.
New additions, LJ Cryer and Damian Dunn along with veteran guard Jamal Shead will be the main players for the Cougars in the 2023-24 season.
2022-23 Season Record: 24-13 (14-6 Big East)
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, defeat against San Diego State in Elite Eight
Creighton Bluejays men's basketball team of Creighton University reached the Elite Eight of the last season's NCAA Tournament.
Head Coach Greg McDermott is aiming for his first-ever national title in the 2023-24 season. With a talented squad and strategic game plan, he is confident in his team's ability to achieve silverware this season.
McDermott brought in three players to the roster namely, Steven Ashworth from Utah State, Jonathan Lawson from Memphis and Issac Traud from Virginia.
2022-23 Season Record: 25-11 (11-7 SEC)
Battle 4 Atlantis champions
Postseason: Reached Sweet Sixteen, lost to Florida Atlantic
Tennessee Volunteers basketball team was ranked 9 in the top 25 college basketball rankings by AP Poll. The Volunteers won the 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis.
For the new season, they had nine departures. Among them, Julian Phillips left for the NBA Draft and was picked by the Boston Celtics. Likewise, Uroš Plavšić graduated and joined the Serbian club Mega MIS.
Among the arrivals, the 6-foot-6 guard from North Colorado, Dalton Knecht is a promising one.
10. Florida Atlantic
2022-23 Season Record: 35-4 (18-2 C-USA)
Conference USA regular season and tournament champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, Final Four loss to San Diego State
Florida Atlantic Owls men's basketball team was a force to be reckoned with in the 2022-23 college basketball season.
The Owls only suffered four defeats in the entire year and won the Conference USA tournament along with the Paradise Invitational title.
Head Coach Dusty May led Florida to the Final Four but was eliminated by San Diego State. With a team largely unchanged from the previous season, the Owls are determined to clinch the championship in the 2023-24 season.
2022-23 Season Record: 31-6 (14-2 WCC)
WCC regular season co-champions and WCC tournament champions
Postseason: Defeat against UConn in Elite Eight
Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team were the champions of the 2022-23 West Coast Conference Tournament.
The Bulldogs finished 2nd in the WCC standing but defeated rival Saint Mary's in the conference championship game to secure the title. Similarly in the NCAA Tournament Gonzaga did really well reaching the Elite Eight.
Though they suffered a defeat at the hand of champion UConn, the rune to the last eight was very fruitful. Gonzaga intends to repeat the form this campaign as well.
2022-23 Season Record: 28-7 (14-6 Pac-12)
Pac-12 Tournament champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, First round loss to Princeton
Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team emerged as the champions of the 2023 Pac-12 Tournament by defeating their league rival UCLA in the title match.
Placed 12th in the NCAA top 25 basketball teams ahead of the new season, Arizona also won the 2022 Maui Invitational tournament.
Three senior players Courtney Ramey, Cedric Henderson Jr. and Matthew Lang joined the Wildcats in compensation for players like Kerr Kriisa, Ąžuolas Tubelis and Courtney Ramey who departed from the college.
2022-23 Season Record: 29-8 (15-5 ACC)
ACC regular season co-champions
Postseason: Reached Final Four, lost to UConn
Miami Hurricanes men's basketball team was the co-winner of the 2022-23 ACC regular season as they tied with a 15-5 record with Virginia for the top spot.
The Hurricanes crushed teams like Indiana, Houston and Texas to advance to the Final Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, they lost to UConn and exited the competition.
For The 2023-24 season, Miami already lost two of their gems Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller, both entered the NBA Draft. Besides, they added Florida State junior Matthew Cleveland to the roster.
2022-23 Season Record: 22-14 (8-10 SEC)
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost in Sweet Sixteen to UConn
Arkansas was able to stretch themselves to the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA tournament only to lose against the champion UConn.
The Razorbacks men's basketball team of the University of Arkansas did not have a good regular season as well. They finished 10th in the SEC standings.
Arkansas welcomed seven new players to its team for the 2023-24 season after four key players Anthony Black, Ricky Council, Nick Smith Jr. and Jordan Walsh, left college to pursue careers in the NBA.
15. Texas A&M
2022-23 Season Record: 25-10 (15-3 SEC)
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, First Round loss to Penn State
Texas A&M Aggies men's basketball team had a forgettable in the previous college basketball season.
The Aggies came in second place in the league, just behind Alabama, with a record of 15-3. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when they lost the championship match in the SEC tournament to their rival, Alabama.
To make matters even tougher, Penn State dealt a final blow by knocking Texas A&M out of the 2023 NCAA tournament in the First Round.
Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford will be crucial players for the Aggies this campaign.
2022-23 Season Record: 22-12 (12-6 SEC)
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, lost in 2nd round to Kansas State
Though Kentucky is among the 16th favorite in the AP top 25 basketball rankings for the 2023-24 season, they did not crack the top 25 preseason list of Fox Sports.
With 12 wins and 6 losses, the Wildcats were third on the SEC regular season standings. Head Coach John Calipari guided the team to round two of the NCAA tourney last season.
Ahead of the 2023-24 season, over a dozen first-team players left the team. Four of them declared for the NBA draft, while others were transferred.
17. San Diego State
2022-23 Season Record: 32-7 (15-3 Mountain West)
Mountain West regular season and tournament champions
NCAA National Tournament Runner-up
San Diego State totally dominated the Mountain West conference in 2022-23. The Aztecs only lost 3 games to become the regular season and tournament champions.
Moreover, San Diego State went all the way to the final of the 2023 NCAA tournament but it was not enough to win the national championship. UConn won the match by 76-59.
Coach Brian Dutcher is confident that his team will resemble last season's performance.
2022-23 Season Record: 29-9 (12-6 Big 12)
Big 12 Tournament champions
Postseason: Reached Elite Eight, lost to Miami
Squashed in between two Kansas teams in the 2nd place in league standings, the Texas Longhorns men's basketball team was crowned the Big 12 conference winner.
The Longhorns also reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament only to get knocked out by Miami (FL).
Following the start of the new college basketball season, Texas has its sights set on greater achievements, boasting the return of seven players and the addition of five new ones.
19. North Carolina
2022-23 Season Record: 20-13 (11-9 ACC)
Postseason: Did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament
North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball team is No. 19 on the NCAA basketball rankings top 25 poll.
The Tar Heels head toward the 2023-24 campaign as head coach Hubert Davis's third year. Unfortunately, they are the only teams on the list to have not qualified for the 2023 NCAA tournament.
But NC has recruited some serious talent for the new season. Jae'Lyn Withers from Louisville and Harrison Ingram from Stanford to name a few.
2022-23 Season Record: 23-11 (11-7 Big 12)
Postseason: Qualified for the NCAA Tournament, 2nd round loss to Creighton
2021 NCAA National Champions
Baylor Bears men's basketball team finished the 2022–23 season with an 11-7 record in third place.
In the NCAA tournament, they were upset by Creighton in the second round after defeating UC Santa Barbara in the first round.
Into the squad for 2023-24, Baylor added senior guard RayJ Dennis from Toledo to play alongside one of the best freshmen in the country Ja'Kobe Walter.
2022-23 Season Record: 22-11 (14-6 Pac-12)
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, First round defeat to Michigan State
USC Trojans men's basketball team competes in the Pac-12 conference and has been included in the AP Top 25 NCAA basketball list.
Head Coach Andy Enfield is in his 11th season with the University of Southern California program. Though they had some departures, the Trojans got a hand to a senior forward DJ Rodman from Washington State.
Rodman is 6-foot-5 and could be a great addition to USC.
2022-23 Season Record: 17-17 (10-10 Big East)
Philadelphia Big 5 co-champions
Postseason: First round loss in NIT Tournament to Liberty
Villanova Wildcats men's basketball team did not make it to the NCAA Tournament last year after 11 years of consistently being in it.
Hence, they decided to make some changes and went all out to get really good players from the transfer portal to compete this season. All four of their additions are experienced seniors.
Tyler Burton and Lance Ware will be the new faces of the Wildcats in the coming seasons.
23. Saint Mary's
2022-23 Season Record: 27-8 (14-2 WCC)
WCC regular season co-champions
Postseason: Reached NCAA Tournament, 2nd round loss to UConn
Saint Mary's suffered consecutive WCC championship losses to Gonzaga in 2022 and 2023.
The Gaels might go further to the higher rounds in the 2023 NCAA Tournament if they did not face the reigning champions UConn in the second round.
The duo of point guard Aidan Mahaney and Alex Ducas has the potential to be a lethal presence for Saint Mary.
2022-23 Season Record: 31-6 (16-2 SEC)
SEC regular season and tournament champions
Postseason: Reached Sweet Sixteen, lost to San Diego State
Could Alabama Crimson Tide men's basketball team repeat the SEC success of last season? They finished first in the regular season and went on to win the SEC conference title as well.
However, with almost a dozen players leaving the program ahead of the new season including some crucial members Charles Bediako, Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney, it is not sure whether they will be able to preserve their previous level of success.
2022-23 Season Record: 20-13 (11-9 Big Ten)
Postseason: Qualified for the NCAA Tournament, lost to Arkansas in First Round
Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball head coach Brad Underwood has assembled a squad full of spirit that can go against any team in the world.
Terrence Shannon Jr., Coleman Hawkins, Marcus Domask and new arrival Quincy Guerrier, all boast the potential to impact and title the game in their favor.