The NCAAB season has commenced and already we have the first Associated Press poll to pore over and a welcome chance to celebrate if you are a UConn Huskies supporter.
Connecticut needed just one game to convince the voters in the poll that they can still be a basketball force to be reckoned with despite the setbacks they have faced before the start of this season.
Those setbacks included losing a Hall of Fame coach (Jim Calhoun) and five underclassmen. But despite those hindrances UConn (1-0) moved into the Top 25 on Monday on the strength of its 66-62 win over Michigan State in Friday's Armed Services Classic played at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
The team hadn’t actually been ranked since earlier in the year (Jan 23rd) and they had not received a single vote in the pre-season poll, that one win soon put paid to their near ten-month exclusion. The Huskies had already lost their two best players, Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, to the NBA draft and three other players transferred after the NCAA declared the Huskies academically ineligible for the 2013 postseason.
That NCAA ban does not disqualify a team from the AP poll and that’s the yardstick by which the Huskies will be measured this year.
Apart from the reappearance of the Huskies there wasn’t an awful lot of movement in the poll after the opening weekend of NCAAB results.
The first seven teams in the initial regular-season poll, led by Indiana and Louisville, were the same as the preseason Top 25; with the Hoosiers a very solid No 1 choice, gaining 46 first-place votes from the 65-member strong Electoral College.
The rest of that top seven saw Kentucky take third place, and they were followed by Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina State and Kansas. Syracuse and Duke swapped places in eighth and ninth and Florida completed the top 10.
That left UConn as the only newcomer in the top-25 after this weekend, although not everyone was impressed by them and they have an awful lot of work to do yet to maintain a run of positive NCAAB scores and progress up the rankings. Although after their recent trials and tribulations just returning to one of the top slots is an achievement.