Without much surprise, the North Carolina Tar Heels received the top ranking in the nation in the AP Men's Basketball Preseason poll, released on Friday morning. UNC returns all five starters, including sophomore star in the making Harrison Barnes, and received 62 first-place votes in the poll.
"It shows that North Carolina basketball has had a tremendous level of success over a long, long period of time," coach Roy Williams said (via ESPN). "We are very proud of that and this is another indication of the program's great history."
UNC was 26-7 and 14-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference a season ago. This is the eighth time that the Tar Heels received the No. 1 ranking to start the season since the poll began in 1961-62.
Locally, the Boston College Eagles find themselves unranked heading into a new season and head coach Steve Donahue's second with the program. BC finished 20-12 with a 9-7 mark in the ACC last season.
Kentucky, which received two first-place votes, is ranked second in the poll and Ohio State, which had one first-place vote, was ranked fourth in the season-opening poll.
UConn, the defending national champion, opens the season as the No. 4 ranked team in the AP poll. The Huskies are coming off a 26-9 season and posted a 9-9 mark in Big East play. The Huskies won five games in five days to claim the Big East Tournament title before rolling through the NCAA Tournament for the championship title.
Syracuse, which will make the jump to the ACC whenever the Big East lets them, is ranked No. 5 to start the year. Duke, Vanderbilt, Florida, Louisville and Pittsburgh round out the top ten. After that, Memphis is ranked No. 11 while Baylor, Kansas, Xavier, Wisconsin, Arizona, UCLO, Michigan, Alabama and Texas A&M round out the top 20.
Cincinnati, Marquette, Gonzaga, California and Missouri rond out the bottom five.