UK No. 2 in AP’s preseason Top 25


By Jim O’Connell - AP Basketball Writer



North Carolina is by itself when it comes to being on top of The Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll.

This is the Tar Heels’ ninth time atop the preseason rankings, breaking a tie with UCLA. Duke is next with seven preseason No. 1s.

Kentucky was the preseason No. 1 in 2014-15 and the Wildcats didn’t lose until Wisconsin beat them in the national semifinals.

The last time North Carolina was the preseason No. 1 was in 2011-12 and the Tar Heels reached the Elite Eight that season.

North Carolina has twice turned a preseason No. 1 ranking into a national championship: 1982 and 2009. Every time the Tar Heels have been a preseason No. 1 they have at least reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

TOP RANKINGS: This is North Carolina’s 112th week as a No. 1 team in the AP poll, fourth on the all-time list.

UCLA is No. 1 among No. 1s with 134 weeks atop the poll. Duke is second with 127 and Kentucky is third with 113, one more than the Tar Heels.

STREAKING ALONG: Duke’s No. 5 ranking extends the Blue Devils’ streak of consecutive polls to 156, the longest current run. The Blue Devils started their streak with the preseason poll of 2007-08.

No. 4 Kansas has the second-longest current streak of 124 weeks. Louisville had been third at 60 weeks but the Cardinals weren’t in the preseason poll.

No. 12 Arizona moves into third with 60 straight appearances.

Eighteen schools kept their streak from last season going with No. 14 California the highest ranked team to start a new streak.

The record for consecutive poll appearances is 221 by UCLA, a run that went from 1966 until 1980.

AIM HIGH: Twelve teams have run the table as a No. 1-ranked team since the AP poll started in the 1948-49 season. The last to do it was Duke in 1991-92.

GOOD PICKS: Seventeen of the 26 teams in last year’s preseason poll (there was a tie for 25th) were in the final rankings, which are released on Selection Sunday.

The highest ranked team from the preseason poll to not make the final Top 25 was Florida, which was seventh in the early voting and lasted just two weeks into the regular season before it was out of the rankings for good.

The only other preseason Top Ten not to be in the final, poll was No. 10 Texas.

NEW GUYS: There are seven teams in the preseason Top 25 that weren’t ranked in 2014-15’s final poll: No. 14 California, No. 15 Indiana, No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 20 Connecticut, No. 21 LSU, No. 23 Purdue and No. 25 Michigan.

CONFERENCE CALL: The Big Ten leads the conferences in preseason ranked teams with six. Third-ranked Maryland is the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team followed by No. 13 Michigan State, No. 15 Indiana, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 23 Purdue and No. 25 Michigan.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 have four teams each in the poll and both have three schools in the Top Ten. The ACC has No. 1 North Carolina, No. 5 Duke and No. 6 Virginia. The Big 12’s Top Tens are No. 4 Kansas, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 8 Oklahoma.

The Southeastern Conference and the Pac-12 have three teams each while the Big East has two.

The West Coast Conference, the Missouri Valley Conference and the American Athletic Conference have one team each.

FIRST TESTS: Fans won’t have to wait long to see ranked teams face each other this season.

On Nov. 17, just four days after the season gets underway, the State Farm Champions Classic will be held at Chicago’s United Center with No. 4 Kansas meeting No. 13 Michigan State and No. 2 Kentucky facing No. 5 Duke.

AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/poll

By Jim O’Connell

AP Basketball Writer

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