N.C. State has not opened a basketball season ranked ahead of both North Carolina and Duke in 37 years.
That changed Friday.
The Wolfpack is ranked No. 6 in the preseason AP Top 25, two spots ahead of Duke (No. 8) and five spots ahead of the Tar Heels (No. 11). The 1974-75 preseason poll is the last time State was voted ahead of both of its Triangle rivals to start the season.
N.C. State returns four starters from a 24-win team which reached the Sweet 16. Coach Mark Gottfried's second team was also picked to win the ACC for the first time since '75 and is ranked No. 6 in the country by the coaches in the USA Today poll.
It's the first time N.C. State has opened the season in the top 25 since the 2007-08 season. That season, former coach Sidney Lowe's second team, ended in disaster with nine straight losses and a 15-16 record.
The Pack had not been ranked higher than UNC in the preseason top 25 since 1984-85.
It's the 10th time N.C. State has been ranked in the preseason top 10 since the ACC was formed in 1953 but first time since 1975. All three teams with David Thompson in the 1970s opened the season in the top 10, with the 1974-75 team as the preseason No. 1.
It's the 17th straight season Duke, which is coming off of a 27-7 season, has been ranked in the preseason top 15. The Tar Heels, 32-6 a season ago, have been ranked in the preseason top 15 in nine of coach Roy Williams' 10 seasons with eight times in the top 10.