The North Carolina Tar Heels claimed 30 of 31 first-place votes to earn the top spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches preseason poll. The Kentucky Wildcats received the other first place vote and start the college basketball season ranked second with Ohio State Buckeyes, Connecticut and Syracuse rounding out the top five. The Duke Blue Devils are sixth, followed by Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis and Florida.
Duke has been ranked in 75 consecutive ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Polls, dating back to the final poll of the 2006-07 season.
Pittsburgh is ranked 11th overall with Baylor, Kansas, Wisconsin Badgers, Xavier, Arizona, Alabama, Michigan Wolverines, Texas A&M and UCLA sitting inside the top 20. Marquette, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, California and Missouri round out the preseason top 25.
So the Big Ten has three teams ranked in the top 20, the Big East has five in the Top 25
The Blue Devils’ 2011-12 schedule features three games against teams ranked in the top 5 of the preseason poll. Duke faces No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus on Nov. 29 and also has matchups against No. 1 North Carolina on Feb. 8 in Chapel Hill and March 3 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke’s schedule also includes potential matchups against No. 13 Kansas, No. 9 Memphis, No. 18 Michigan and No. 20 UCLA during the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational (Nov. 21-23). The Blue Devils also play Florida State, which finished two points outside the top 25, twice this season.
Midnight madness was held on numerous college campuses last Friday. Big 10 media day is a week from today. And preseason scrimmages will be here in less than 10 days. In other words, the season is right around the corner.
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