The Duke basketball program remains near the top of the Way-Too-Early rankings.
College football season is days from kickoff but the basketball season hype is near full throttle inside the walls of Cameron Indoor Stadium with the Duke basketball program.
The Blue Devils return four starters from a team that won the ACC Tournament last season and rattled off a massive winning streak at the end of the season to earn a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling in the Round of 32.
However, despite seeing Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell, Tyrese Proctor, and Jeremy Roach stick around in Durham for another season and the addition of four 5-star recruits to the roster, there is still one team that some experts see above the Blue Devils.
The Kansas Jayhawks.
The discussion for most of the offseason has been who will be ranked as the preseason No. 1 team in the country, Duke or Kansas?
Now, it’s a recognition that either program might not want considering that North Carolina became the first ever team to be ranked as the preseason No. 1 and miss the NCAA Tournament last season but its a discussion that has caused great debate among hoop junkies.
Debate continues between Duke basketball team and Kansas
Many pegged the Blue Devils as the top team entering the 2023-24 season until Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson announced he would be joining Kansas for this upcoming season.
Since then, the Jayhawks have been the top team among polls of experts and analysts and that remains the season in ESPN’s most recent Way-Too-Early poll.
Jeff Borzello, ESPN’s top college hoops reports, ranks Kansas ahead of Duke in his updated list.
“The Blue Devils rose to the top of the rankings with the return of Kyle Filipowski, who would have been a first-round pick had he entered the NBA draft,” the excerpt on the Blue Devils says.
Borzello lists two transfers, Nick Timberlake (Towson) and Dickinson, in the projected starting lineup for the Jayhawks this season along with Dajuan Harris Jr., Kevin McCullar Jr., and KJ Adams Jr. while freshman Jared McCain is the only newbie in the anticipated Duke starting lineup next to the four returnees.
“Jeremy Roach’s decision to head back to the Blue Devils and run the offense makes them the primary competition to Kansas for the No. 1 spot. Jon Scheyer will need one of the wings to step up offensively; Jared McCain could be that guy,” he concluded.
Time will only tell who gets the honor of having a No. 1 next to its name in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll to begin the season but, according to the ESPN ranking, Duke will have four non-conference games against Top-20 teams this season in Arizona (11), Michigan State (4), Arkansas (14), and Baylor (20).