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Villanova ranked 6th in AP preseason basketball poll

Villanova is sixth in The Associated Press preseason basketball poll, which was released Wednesday.

The Wildcats sit behind, from five to one, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State and Duke, which is No. 1 for the second straight season and ninth time as a program, matching rival North Carolina for most all-time.

Villanova lost Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds but still has Jalen Brunson, named the conference's preseason player of the year, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo.

Plus, Phil Booth, one of the title game heroes from two seasons ago, should be returning, as will big man Omari Spellman, who was selected preseason freshman of the year (much more on him here). Spellman missed last season after being ruled ineligible right before the season.

Villanova opens its regular season next Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats have an exhibition Wednesday against Drexel in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. The game is being held to benefit hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Duke received 33 of 65 first-place votes in the poll, Michigan State received 13, Arizona had 18 and Kansas received one.

Wichita State is seventh, Florida eighth, defending national champion North Carolina nine and Southern California rounds out the top 10.

Northwestern (No. 19) is ranked in the preseason poll for the first time in school history.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.