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Zags atop first AP poll; UCLA, KU next

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Gonzaga carried a No. 1 ranking all last season before falling a win short of becoming college basketball's first unbeaten national champion in 45 years.

Mark Few's Bulldogs start this season in the same position, hoping to complete that final step this time around.

The Zags were the runaway top choice in The Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball preseason poll released Monday. They earned 55 of 63 first-place votes to easily outdistance No. 2 UCLA, which earned the other eight. Kansas, Villanova and Texas rounded out the top five, while reigning national champion Baylor checked in at No. 8.

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No. 4 Villanova tabbed to win Big East

NEW YORK (AP) Villanova has dominated the Big East over the last decade under the guidance of coach Jay Wright.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats were the unanimous choice to win the conference in a preseason coaches poll released Tuesday. The team, which has won seven of the last eight regular-season titles, received all 10 first-place votes from the league's coaches. Coaches couldn't vote for their own team, and Wright picked No. 24 Connecticut, which was the second choice.

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ESPN's Vitale reveals lymphoma diagnosis

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time this year.

The Basketball Hall of Fame announcer said he has undergone tests that show he has lymphoma.

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UConn holds 1st 'First Night' in 2 years

STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn held its first "First Night" celebration in two years on Friday, filling Gampel Pavilion with students for the annual unofficial start to the basketball season after having to cancel the event last year because of the pandemic.

COVID-19 also prevented all but family and a few friends from attending home games in 2020-21, so it was first chance the Huskies' freshmen and sophomores got to play in front of a home crowd, even if was just an exhibition.

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KU, not Baylor, picked as Big 12's best

IRVING, Texas (AP) Kansas has been picked by Big 12 head coaches as the favorite to win the conference title after Baylor won the league title last season and went on to win its first national championship.

The Jayhawks got eight of 10 first-place votes and 80 of 81 potential points from the coaches, who couldn't vote for their own teams in the poll released Thursday. Texas got the remaining two first-place votes and 70 points to rank second.

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UCLA picked to win Pac-12 title

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) UCLA is an overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12 after reaching the Final Four last season.

The Bruins received 32 votes from 34 media members who cover the league in the preseason poll released Wednesday.

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Pac-12 hopes to build on 2021 NCAAs run

The Pac-12 had been an afterthought in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, the number of teams getting in dwindling, the deep runs into the bracket rare.

The conference took a big turn last season with three teams reaching the Elite Eight and UCLA playing in the Final Four, changing national perceptions while boosting confidence around the league.

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ACC considering relocating headquarters

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Commissioner Jim Phillips said the Atlantic Coast Conference is examining whether its conference headquarters should remain in Greensboro or consider relocating elsewhere.

Phillips, who took over for retiring John Swofford earlier this year, said the discussion is part of an overall assessment of the ACC's structure that includes staffing along with the responsibilities and roles of the office.

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Wisconsin seeks new start off tough year

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin heads into the upcoming season with a substantially different roster after nearly all of last year's seniors opted against returning.

The Badgers' roster features seven sophomores and five freshmen, which marks the program's largest collection of underclassmen in at least 20 years.

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Zags' Few to miss 3 games after arrest

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Gonzaga coach Mark Few will miss two exhibition games and the first game of the regular season after he was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The school made the announcement before the Bulldogs' kickoff event - "Kraziness in the Kennel" - on Saturday.

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