As expected, North Carolina will begin the 2011-2012 college basketball season as the No. 1 team in the nation in both major polls. The Tar Heels, who earned 30 of 31 first-place votes in the preseason USA Today/ESPN poll that was released last week, received all but three No. 1 votes from the national media.
North Carolina returns all five starters from a team that won a pair of ACC championships and advanced to the Elite Eight last season. They are No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the eighth time, breaking a tie with rival Duke and moving into a tie with UCLA for the mark.
The Tar Heels have been the preseason No. 1 in three of the past five seasons. In 2008-09, UNC was returning all five starters and was a unanimous preseason No. 1. That season ended with a national championship.
The team that ended the Tar Heels' title hopes a season ago, Kentucky, checks in at No. 2. The Wildcats' total of 1501 points placed it more than 1,000 behind Carolina.
No. 3 Ohio State (1) and defending national champion and fourth-ranked Connecticut (2) were the only other teams to garner first-place votes. Syracuse rounded out the AP's top five.
In all, nine conferences have teams represented in the poll. The Big East leads the way with six ranked teams, two more than the Big 12 and SEC, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 each boast three ranked squads.
Here's the full poll:
|1||North Carolina (62)||0-0||1620||0|
|3||Ohio State (1)||0-0||1482||0|
|Others Receiving Votes: Florida State(0-0) 131; Michigan State(0-0) 128; Temple(0-0) 69; Washington(0-0) 44; New Mexico(0-0) 33; Butler(0-0) 25; Texas(0-0) 21; Villanova(0-0) 14; Creighton(0-0) 12; Purdue(0-0) 10; Belmont(0-0) 8; Drexel(0-0) 8; UNLV(0-0) 7; St. Mary's(0-0) 6; George Mason(0-0) 5; West Virginia(0-0) 4; Long Beach State(0-0) 3; Miami (Fla.)(0-0) 3; Harvard(0-0) 2; Illinois(0-0) 2; Marshall(0-0) 1; Minnesota(0-0) 1; San Diego State(0-0) 1|