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UW Huskies open men’s basketball season ranked in AP top 25 for first time in eight years

The last time the Huskies were ranked in the AP poll was Dec. 29, 2014.

The eight-year drought is over.

At long last, the Washington men’s basketball team returns to The Associated Press preseason poll. The Huskies will begin the season 25th in the rankings, which were released Monday.

Washington received 165 points, just five fewer than 24th-place Purdue and three more than Loyola-Chicago, which just missed the Top 25.

Kansas was voted No. 1 in the poll followed by Kentucky, Gonzaga, Duke, Virginia and Tennessee, which all received first-place votes.

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For the Zags, this is their highest preseason ranking. It marks the 18th consecutive season the Spokane school has been ranked in the poll. The Bulldogs’ previous best showing in the preseason poll was No. 8 at the beginning of the 2005-06 season.

Nevada, which lost 91-73 to Washington in an exhibition game Sunday, came in at No. 7.

Rounding out the top 10, in order, are North Carolina, Virginia, which also collected a first-place vote, and Michigan State.

Washington is one of three Pac-12 teams in the Top 25 with Oregon at No. 14 and UCLA at No. 21.

The last time the Huskies were ranked in the AP preseason poll was at the start of the 2010-11 season when they finished 24-11 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

It’s been 31/2 years since Washington last appeared in the AP poll on Dec. 29, 2014.

Expectations are high at Montlake after the Huskies finished 21-13 overall and 10-8 in the Pac-12 last season under their first-year coach, Mike Hopkins.

Looking ahead, Washington is slated to face three ranked teams in nonconference road games — No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 11 Auburn and No. 15 Virginia Tech.

The Huskies return to the floor Nov. 1 for a home exhibition against Seattle Pacific.

Washington’s regular-season opener is Nov. 6 against Western Kentucky at home.

Associated Press Preseason Poll

1. Kansas (37 first-place votes)
2. Kentucky (19)
3. Gonzaga (1)
4. Duke (4)
5. Virginia (2)
6. Tennessee (1)
7. Nevada
8. North Carolina
9. Villanova (1)
10. Michigan State
11. Auburn
12. Kansas State
13. West Virginia
14. Oregon
15. Virginia Tech
16. Syracuse
17. Florida State
18. Mississippi State
19. Michigan
20. TCU
21. UCLA
22. Clemson
23. LSU
24. Purdue
25. Washington

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