The Wildcats are joined in the top five by Wisconsin, Arizona, Duke and Louisville. UK received 62 out of 65 first-place votes with the Badgers claiming the remaining three.
Texas, which will visit Rupp Arena on Friday night for a marquee matchup, came in at No. 6 in the new poll. The Longhorns (6-0) defeated UConn 55-54 on Sunday. One-time UK recruiting target Myles Turner, a freshman center/forward, scored seven points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked five shots in Texas’ win over the Huskies.
Kentucky is 185-27 all-time and has won 25 of its last 27 games as the AP's top-ranked team. John Calipari is 69-9 when coaching a No. 1 team, having led three programs (UMass, Memphis and UK) to that distinction.
Previous Kentucky opponent Kansas (5-1) has bounced back well from its 32-point loss to the Cats. The Jayhawks come in at No. 11 after a 61-56 win over No. 20 Michigan State on Sunday.
Two other future UK opponents – North Carolina and Arkansas – came in at No. 12 and No. 18, respectively. Florida and Ole Miss also received votes in the poll.
CALIPARI ON SHUFFLED LINEUPS:
The Providence game marked the first time that UK has deviated significantly from its two-platoon system this season. Foul trouble and matchups dictated some of those adjustments against the Friars, but don't expect the UK boss to dump the system altogether just because the Cats were in a competitive game well into the second half.
"I made some substitutions, which I will make," Calipari said. "One guy wasn't playing well enough, you're out, you lose a few minutes. Be back and be ready next game."
Against the Friars, Calipari had a bigger role for freshman point guard Tyler Ulis, who both he and Providence coach Ed Cooley credited for changing the complexion of Sunday's game with his on-ball defensive pressure.
"Just his energy. That's all it was," Calipari said. "Came in with unbelievable energy and bothered their point guard. Took him out of all the stuff they wanted to run. They couldn't get in a rhythm.
"To start the game (the Friars) were in a rhythm. They came down threw it to the wing, they threw to the elbow, he dribbled around, he went off a pick and roll. Well, then it was like, 'Oh my gosh,' you're almost pushing off to keep this kid away from you, and then it makes us more confident defenders behind him."
The Cats have also found some success in recent games when playing both Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker -- the starting 2s for each unit -- together on the wings to combat the tightly-packed zone defenses they have encountered.
Calipari says he's still working toward finding his "finishing five" to close out tight games.
TOWNS EARNS SEC AWARD:
Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns was named SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 12 points, 8.5 rebounds and two steals in wins over UT Arlington and Providence. The New Jersey native posted those productive numbers despite playing only 18.5 minutes per game in UK’s two-platoon system.
Arkansas’ Michael Qualls was named the SEC Player of the Week after posting 18.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and three assists in wins over SMU, North Texas and Iona. The junior guard had a career-high 22 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds against North Texas.