College Basketball

UNC and Kentucky top the USA Today Coaches Poll

UNC's Marcus Paige (5) and Joel Berry II (2) practice at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Oct. 12, 2015.
UNC's Marcus Paige (5) and Joel Berry II (2) practice at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Familiar shades of blue topped the first USA Today basketball coaches poll of the 2015-16 season, which was released Thursday.

Kentucky and North Carolina tied for the top spot, each receiving 749 points. It’s the first time there have been co-No. 1 teams in the initial poll since the coaches poll was instituted in 1991.

It is the third straight year coaches have voted the Wildcats No. 1, and the honor comes despite losing their top seven scorers from last year’s 38-1 Final Four team. Kentucky received 11 first-place votes.

The Tar Heels, meanwhile, received the most first-place votes (12) and return every significant player expect J.P Tokoto. It’s the fourth time the Tar Heels have started the season at the top of the poll.

Maryland came in at No. 3, with five first-place votes (723 points). The defending national champions, Duke, ranked fourth (686 points) with three first-place votes despite losing its top four scorers from last season. Kansas rounded out the top five (675 points) and also received a single first-place vote.

The five teams that received first-place votes are the most since eight teams received first-place votes at the start of the 2004-05 season.

The ACC has four ranked teams, with Virginia (No. 6) and defending league champions Notre Dame (No. 18) joining Duke and UNC. N.C. State (36 points), Florida State (25) and Miami (11) were among the other teams to receive votes.

USA Today Top 25 Preseason Poll

The top 25 teams in the USA Today men’s preseason college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final 2014-15 records, points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and final 2014-15 ranking:

Record

Pts

Pvs

1. North Carolina (12)

26-12

749

12

1. Kentucky (11)

38-1

749

3

3. Maryland (5)

28-7

723

16

4. Duke (3)

35-4

686

1

5. Kansas (1)

27-9

675

17

6. Virginia

30-4

667

8

7. Iowa State

25-9

541

19

8. Oklahoma

24-11

520

13

9. Villanova

33-3

498

9

10. Arizona

34-4

477

4

11. Gonzaga

35-3

468

6

12. Wichita State

30-5

461

11

13. Michigan State

27-12

386

7

14. California

18-15

350

-

15. Indiana

20-14

312

-

16. Utah

26-9

250

15

17. Wisconsin

36-4

181

2

18. Notre Dame

32-6

172

5

19. LSU

22-11

163

-

20. Vanderbilt

21-14

153

-

21. Baylor

24-10

145

21

22. Butler

23-11

132

23

23. West Virginia

25-10

125

18

24. Connecticut

20-15

110

-

24. Purdue

21-13

110

-

Others receiving votes: Michigan 108, Louisville 93, Texas A&M 58, UCLA 48, Georgetown 45, Cincinnati 43, N.C. State 36, Oregon 33, Texas 29, Florida State 25, Xavier 25, Miami 11, San Diego State 10, Iowa 8, Boise State 5, Davidson 5, Providence 5, Belmont 2, Ohio State 2, Stephen F. Austin 2, Dayton 1, Marquette 1, Old Dominion 1, Tulsa 1.

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