The Wildcats rose one spot after winning a 1-versus-2 matchup with Michigan Stateto open the season in the Champions Classic, followed by an easy win against Eastern Kentucky. They earned 64 of 65 first-place votes in Monday's poll to finish ahead of No. 2 Duke.
It marks the first time the Wildcats (2-0) have reached No. 1 since spending two weeks there early in the 2016-17 season.
Yet it's the seventh of Calipari's 11 seasons that the Wildcats have spent at least one week atop the AP Top 25. That includes 10 weeks during the 2011-12 season on the way to the national championship and a start-to-finish stay in 2014-15 as the Wildcats carried an unbeaten record to the Final Four, where they lost to Wisconsin.
"We've grown very close over this time we've spent together, and I feel like the closer we are, the better we are going into the postseason, throughout the year," freshman forward Keion Brooks Jr. said after Friday's victory over the Colonels.
THE TOP TIER
The same five teams were at the top of the poll, just in reshuffled order.
Duke climbed two spots to No. 2 after winning a top-4 matchup against Kansasat the Classic. The Blue Devils were ranked second on 48 ballots, third on 13 more and no lower than fifth on any ballot.
The Spartans were No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the first time in program history entering the Kentucky game but fell to third, followed by Louisville-- which claimed the remaining first-place vote -- and Kansas.
North Carolina, Maryland, Gonzaga, reigning national champion Virginiaand Villanovarounded out the top 10.
It was a week of modest climbs for poll risers, with the Tar Heels (2-0) moving up three spots for the biggest gain.
Twelve teams moved up in the poll, with Duke, Virginia, No. 11 Texas Tech, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 18 Saint Mary's, No. 19 Arizonaand No. 22 Auburnall moving up two spots.
The list of risers included No. 13 Memphis, which moved up one spot after two wins despite concerns -- and even a court order -- involving the eligibility of star freshman James Wiseman.
Floridaand Baylortook big tumbles after opening-week losses.
The Gators had the biggest fall, sliding nine spots to No. 15 after Sunday's loss to Florida State. The Bears fell eight spots to No. 24 after losing to now-No. 20 Washingtonin Friday's Armed Forces Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.
Six ranked teams fell in the poll, though two -- No. 21 Xavier(two spots) and No. 23 LSU(one spot) fell despite emerging from the week unscathed.
Maryland, Gonzaga, Villanova, No. 12 Seton Halland No. 17 Utah Statestayed in the same spot from last week.
Washington and No. 25 Coloradowere the new additions to the poll, with the Buffaloes earning the Pac-12 program's first appearance since being ranked for six weeks during the 2013-14 season.
FAREWELL FOR NOW
Purdue(previously No. 23) and VCU (No. 25) fell out of the poll, though the Rams won both their games last week and trailed Colorado by just 14 points in the voting.
The Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences each had four teams in the poll, with the ACC's all inside the top 10.
The Big 12 had three ranked teams, followed by two for the Big East, two for the West Coast and one each for the American Athletic and Mountain West conferences.
Maxey leads Kentucky past Michigan State
Freshman Tyrese Maxey drops 26 points to lead No. 2 Kentucky to a 69-62 win over No. 1 Michigan State.