Duke No. 1 in college basketball poll; UNC unranked
New York, NY (Sports Network) – One storied program, Duke, tops the Associated
Press preseason college basketball poll, but North Carolina and Kansas are
nowhere to be found among the top 25.
The Blue Devils, who return All-American guard J.J. Redick and All-ACC center
Shelden Williams from a team that advanced to the Sweet 16 last season,
garnered 61 first-place votes and 1,785 points from the 72-member
national media panel. The Blue Devils have been ranked in 167 consecutive
polls, far ahead of second-place Kentucky’s 80 straight appearances.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the defending national champion Tar Heels
lost their top seven scorers from last season, including four lottery picks,
and will field a team composed of last season’s role players and a talented,
but yet unproven recruiting class.
North Carolina is the first defending national champion not ranked in the
preseason poll since Kansas in 1988-89.
The Jayhawks are also missing and are out of the rankings for the first time
dating to the 2000-01 preseason poll.
Texas, which returns a veteran team led by guard Daniel Gibson, was second
with six first-place votes and 1,652 points. The preseason ranking matches the
highest ranking in school history, as the Longhorns were No. 2 for one week in
The preseason’s top two teams will square off in East Rutherford, New Jersey
on December 10th.
Connecticut and Villanova represented the Big East in the top five, at third
and fifth respectively. UConn will play until January 3 without suspended
point guard Marcus Williams, and Villanova, which received one first-place
vote, will have to deal with the loss of forward Curtis Sumpter to a knee
Michigan State was sandwiched between the Big East foes at No. 4, gathering
four first-place votes.
Oklahoma was sixth, making this season’s Red River shootouts even more
intriguing. Louisville, a convert to the Big East from Conference USA, was
seventh, with yearly media darling Gonzaga, Kentucky and Arizona rounding out
the top 10.
The highest-ranked ACC member behind Duke is its newest, Boston College, which
came in at 11th. Memphis, the class of a decimated Conference USA, is 12th,
followed by Stanford and West Virginia.
Alabama, Syracuse, Illinois, Wake Forest, UCLA and Iowa round out the top 20.
The Orange are the fifth Big East team in the poll, the most out of all major
George Washington, Nevada, Indiana, Maryland and Iowa State are the last five
teams to be ranked.
The season kicks off Tuesday with Syracuse playing Bethune-Cookman in the 2K
Sports College Hoops Classic, while four top ten teams — Connecticut,
Michigan State, Gonzaga and Arizona — head to Hawaii to play in the Maui
Invitational starting November 21.