Kentucky replaces North Carolina at No. 1 in men's AP Top 25; Maryland 2nd, Michigan State 3rd

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky — Kentucky is back in a very familiar spot — on top of The Associated Press college basketball poll.

It only took a couple of weeks.

The Wildcats, who were No. 1 every week last season, moved up one spot Monday following North Carolina's loss to Northern Iowa. Kentucky (4-0) beat then-No. 5 Duke in the Champions Classic last week and received 59 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

Though the ranking speaks volumes about the early success of Kentucky's latest talented freshman class, junior forward Marcus Lee said the team still has a lot to learn about themselves. Coach John Calipari even criticized his team for uneven play after Friday's 78-63 win over Wright State.

The Wildcats can't afford many more shaky efforts now that the target is on their backs — again.

"We know we're not where we're meant to be right now," Lee said. "We have a really far way to go to be the best team in the country."

And as Kentucky assistant coach John Robic noted, the goal remains being on top in April. Not that this Wildcats squad will dismiss any recognition after replacing seven players that entered the NBA draft.

"It's kind of a neat thing to be honest with you, for each team that we've had here to have a grasp of it (No. 1)," Robic said. "But knowing it's November, it doesn't mean a whole lot. I'm proud of it and I think our team will be proud of it. ... It's what you shoot for."

Maryland (3-0) moved up one spot to second and received the other six first-place votes.

Michigan State, which beat then-No. 4 Kansas in the Champions Classic, jumped from 13th to third. The Spartans were followed in the top 10 by Iowa State, Kansas, Duke, Oklahoma, Villanova, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

Miami entered the poll at No. 15 after wins over Utah and Butler in taking the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The other four newcomers are No. 23 Xavier, No. 24 Cincinnati and co-No. 25 Texas A&M and SMU. Utah, Baylor, Butler and Michigan dropped out.

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