N.C. State had not opened a basketball season ranked ahead of 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.
Its also the first time all three opened a season among the top 15 teams, and just the fifth time theyve entered a season in the top 20.
N.C. State returns four starters from a 24-win team that reached the Sweet 16. Coach Mark Gottfrieds 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.
Its the first time N.C. State has opened the season in the top 25 since the 2007-08 season. That season, former coach Sidney Lowes second team, ended with nine consecutive losses and a 15-16 record.
The Pack had not been ranked higher than UNC in the preseason top 25 since 1984-85.
Its 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.
Its 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.
Duke also has appeared in 201 consecutive AP polls, the longest active streak in the nation.
The three teams will face three Top 5 teams in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
UNC travels to play No. 1 Indiana, Duke welcomes No. 4 Ohio State, and N.C. State visits No. 5 Michigan.
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