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Where Purdue landed on first preseason men’s basketball poll

Purdue's Zach Edey (15) grabs a rebound against Rutgers' Caleb McConnell (22) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten men's tournament on March 10, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Purdue Boilermakers will start the college basketball season with a number in front of their name.

Last year’s No. 1 team in the country is the third-ranked team heading into the 2023-24 season, according to the Associated Press’s preseason men’s basketball poll released Monday. This is the seventh time in the last nine years (second in the last three in the top 10) that Purdue as opened the season ranked. It’s also the highest preseason ranking during that timespan.

The Boilers have been ranked in the top 5 for 17 straight weeks, which is the longest streak in the nation.

Kansas and Duke come in at No. 1 and 2 respectively, with Michigan State, Marquette, UConn, Houston, Creighton, Tennessee and Florida Atlantic in the rest of this year’s preseason top 10.

Purdue returns a majority of last year’s roster, most notably, defending National Player of the Year Zach Edey. Along with the 7-foot-4 big man, point guard Braden Smith, guard Fletcher Loyer and forwards Mason Gillis and Caleb Furst come back for another season. Four of last season’s top five scorers remain on the roster.

A former Westfield High School standout, Smith was a consistent leader during his freshman season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.2 rebounds a game with 153 total assists. Loyer’s sharpshooting from deep led Purdue with 181 threes, making 32.6 percent of his attempts. The Clarkston High School alum was the Boilers second best scorer with 11 points a game.

Edey finished the season topping all major categories for Purdue — 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds a game. The Big Ten Conference named Edey Preseason Player of the Year as he returns for another season instead of entering the NBA Draft.

The Boilers also added hotshot recruit Myles Colvin from Indianapolis’ Heritage Christian for this year’s team. Colvin averaged 19.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a senior with the Eagles, while shooting 45.0 percent from the field with 45, 3-pointers.

Purdue’s promise of a deep playoff run came to an abrupt and early end last season as No. 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson upset then No. 1-seed Purdue in Columbus, Ohio during the First Round back in March. The Boilers hit a breaking point — literally — going viral after shattering a hole in the locker room white board following the 63-58 loss.

Prior to their March Madness exit, the Boilers swept the Big Ten Championship titles — both for the regular season and defeating Penn State 67-65.

Purdue will play six teams ranked in the preseason poll — No. 4 Michigan State, No. 11 Gonzaga, No. 12 Arizona, No. 24 Alabama in Toronto, and No. 25 Illinois. There’s also a possibility of facing three others in Maui — No.1 Kansas, No. 5 Marquette and No. 9 Tennessee. The Boilers battle with No. 14 Arkansas for a charity scrimmage Oct. 28 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

AP preseason men’s basketball rankings

  1. Kansas (46)
  2. Duke (11)
  3. Purdue (3)
  4. Michigan State (1)
  5. Marquette
  6. UConn (2)
  7. Houston
  8. Creighton
  9. Tennessee
  10. FAU
  11. Gonzaga
  12. Arizona
  13. Miami
  14. Arkansas
  15. Texas A&M
  16. Kentucky
  17. San Diego State
  18. Texas
  19. North Carolina
  20. Baylor
  21. USC
  22. Villanova
  23. Saint Mary’s
  24. Alabama
  25. Illinois