NCAA Basketball Rankings: Preseason USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Has North Carolina No. 1

North Carolina is the overwhelming preseason choice to cut down the nets in New Orleans according to the first USA Today/ESPN poll.

As expected, North Carolina is the overwhelming choice for No. 1 in the just-released USA Today/ESPN preseason top 25 poll. The Tar Heels, who garnered 30 of 31 first-place votes, return every key member from last year's 29-8 ACC championship squad, including player of the year candidate Harrison Barnes.

The team that eliminated UNC in the Elite Eight last season, Kentucky, checks in at No. 2. The Wildcats return sophomore stars Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, and add the nation's top freshman class, featuring McDonald's All-Americans Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer.

Ohio State and Jared Sullinger come in at No. 3, while the Big East tandem of defending national champion Connecticut and Syracuse round out the top five.

The poll includes teams from nine different conferences. The Big East leads the way with the - somewhat pedestrian for its standards - inclusion of six teams. 

It's also noteworthy that 12 of the 25 teams featured in the poll finished last season unranked.

Here's the top 25 in its entirety:

Team (first-place votes)
2010 Record
Points
2010-11 Final Ranking
1.
North Carolina (30)
29-8
774
8
2.
Kentucky (1)
29-9
721
3
3.
Ohio State
34-3
702
5
4.
Connecticut
32-9
655
1
5.
Syracuse
27-8
649
18
6.
Duke
32-5
635
7
7.
Vanderbilt
23-11
567
NR
8.
Louisville
25-10
514
22
9.
Memphis
25-10
482
NR
10.
Florida
29-8
474
10
11.
Pittsburgh
28-6
471
12
12.
Baylor
18-13
358
NR
13.
Kansas
35-3
331
4
14.
Wisconsin
25-9
313
15
15.
Xavier
24-8
277
NR
16.
Arizona
30-8
269
9
17.
Alabama
24-11
194
NR
18.
Michigan
21-14
187
NR
19.
Texas A&M
24-9
161
NR
20.
UCLA
23-11
147
NR
21.
Marquette
22-15
145
20
22.
Cincinnati
26-9
141
NR
23.
Gonzaga
25-10
125
NR
24.
California
18-15
111
NR
25.
Missouri
23-11
110
NR
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.