LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- What's a sports writer supposed to do when the University of Louisville football team has its first off weekend of the season?
Project the likely Top 25 in the first Associated Press college basketball poll.
Not that I need extra motivation or an excuse. The ball racks have been rolled out for the opening of practice. I have checked the forecasts from seven sources:
*Street & Smith's season preview magazine
*Lindy's preview magazine
*BartTorvik.com analytics site.
*Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook
*NBC Sports website
*Three-Man Weave Blog
Which team will be ranked higher in the AP college basketball preseason poll?
After looking at those forecasts, this is how I forecast the first AP poll will look when it arrives next month:
1. Michigan State -- The Spartans were the pick by everybody but Bart Torvik. They have Cassius Winston, the consensus Player of the Year. They have Tom Izzo. They have a softer than I can remember Big Ten. Enjoy the bullseye.
2. Kansas -- The NCAA might be picking on the Jayhawks, but I'm not.
3. Kentucky -- I'm picking E.J. Montgomery as the Guy To Watch this season because John Calipari has the perimeter covered.
4. Duke -- Mike Krzyzewski has another flood of one-and-doners. How'd that work out last March?
5. Louisville -- The Cards are ranked as high as second -- and as low as seventh. People have faith in transfer point guard Fresh Kimble. Lots of faith.
6. Florida -- Who got the sole No. 1 vote that did not go to Michigan State? BartTorvik gave it to the Gators.
7. Maryland -- Mark Turgeon has talent. He also had Diamond Stone, Kevin Huerter, Bruno Fernando, Jake Layman, Melo Trimble, Alex Len …
8. North Carolina -- Point guard Cole Anthony is a trendy pick for freshman of the year. He is also mine.
9. Gonzaga -- Can't start a season without the Zags in the Top 10 -- or jokes about the Zags being in the Top 10.
10. Virginia -- You thought I was going to snub Tony Bennett?
11. Villanova -- Still the best in the Big East -- although Kevin Willard might not agree.
12. Texas Tech -- Red Raiders coach Chris Beard has become the Flavor of the Month because this team lost its three best players and will depend on a string of transfers.
13. Baylor -- The Bears are getting a newer, smaller, arena in three years.
14. Seton Hall -- Myles Powell is the best player people are not giving enough love and Willard is a very underrated coach.
15. Memphis -- Tubby Smith and I can't wait to see how well Penny Hardaway can coach.
16. Utah State -- The Aggies made six of the seven polls. Trust me, I checked.
17. St. Mary's -- Another program that never has an off year.
18. Ohio State -- Chris Holtmann has a solid blend of veterans and top freshman, which should play in the sagging Big Ten.
19. Purdue -- Seems a bit high for a team that lost all of its backcourt firepower, but Matt Painter has earned the benefit of the doubt, especially in a sagging Big Ten.
20. Louisiana State -- Seems a bit high for a team that lost a ton of firepower, but Will Wade has not earned the benefit of the doubt.
21.VCU -- I cannot confirm the Rams will actually be this good but BartTorvik has them ranked ninth.
22. Arizona -- Another year of dealing with distractions.
23. Washington -- Give more of the credit to freshman Isaiah Stewart than former UK point guard Quade Green.
24. Auburn -- Bruce Pearl is amazing -- in so many ways.
25. Marquette -- Markus Howard. Markus Howard. Markus Howard.
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