Log in Fall Special

Marquee doubleheader in Chicago headlines the week in AP Top 25 hoops


The opening week of the college basketball season had one marquee game, No. 3 Arizona's win at No. 9 Duke.

Week 2 will have two on the same night at the same place.

The opening game of the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago Tuesday night will feature Duke against No. 18 Michigan State. The nightcap at United Center will pit top-ranked Kansas against No. 17 Kentucky.

That's some night of hoops.

Duke opened the season No. 2 the AP Top 25 preseason poll, but dropped seven spots in this week's poll after a 78-73 loss to Arizona, which moved up nine spots to No. 3.

The Blue Devils (1-1) went back and forth with the Wildcats all night at Cameron Indoor Stadium until Arizona hit six straight free throws in the final 20 seconds to win it.

Michigan State (1-1) entered the season with high expectations for a team loaded with talent and experience. The Spartans took a big fall in this week's poll, dropping 14 places after losing in overtime at home to No. 24 James Madison, which is ranked for the first time in program history.

Tyson Walker was superb for Michigan State, scoring 35 points, but he had the ball poked away from behind in the closing seconds.

“We’re in the process of growth, we’re learning a lot about ourselves, the things we need to correct,” Michigan State forward Malik Hall said. “I think it’s better now than in March.”

Kansas opened the season as the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 and stayed there in the first regular-season poll after a pair easy wins. The Jayhawks (2-0) beat North Carolina Central by 44 points in their opener and followed with a 38-point win over Manhattan.

Kansas will face a much stiffer test against Kentucky.

The Wildcats entered the season with plenty of questions, but coach John Calipari brought in one of his best freshmen classes in recent years. Kentucky looked good in its first two games, beating New Mexico State and Texas A&M Commerce by a combined 60 points.

“It’ll be a totally different animal than what we’ve experienced so far,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We’ll be very excited about it. I know that both programs will and both sets of players and should be a lot of fun.”


No. 4 Marquette will face its first big challenge of the season at No. 23 Illinois on Tuesday.

The health of All-American point guard Tyler Kolek will be a key for the Golden Eagles (2-0).

Kolek turned his ankle in the second half of Marquette's 95-65 win over Rider on Friday and didn't return.

“We’ll see how it responds. He’ll get treatment," Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. "Knowing Tyler, he’s a guy that he’ll find a way to be on the floor when he needs to be on the floor.”

The Golden Eagles are going to have their hands full either way.

The Illini (2-0) have one of the nation's most experience teams, led by Terrence Shannon Jr. and Coleman Hawkins. Illinois beat Eastern Illinois by 28 points and Oakland by 11 to open the season.


James Madison will play its first game as a ranked team Friday against Radford.

The Dukes won 22 games and just missed the NCAA Tournament last season, but could be on course to play in March Madness for the first time since 2013.

James Madison pulled off the biggest upset of the early season, knocking off then-No. 4 Michigan State in overtime in East Lansing behind Terrence Edwards' 24 points.

The Dukes' football team is ranked No. 18 in this week's poll, so it's been a good start to the school year for James Madison athletics.


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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball