North Carolina is No. 22 in The Associated Press’ preseason top 25 poll, which was released on Sunday.
The Tar Heels are one of four ACC teams in the poll – Clemson is No. 2, Florida State No. 4 and Louisville No. 19 – and UNC is the highest-ranked team from the ACC’s Coastal Division. Miami, which is perhaps UNC’s most difficult competition in the division, is just outside the top 25.
The Tar Heels begin the season on Sept. 3 in Atlanta against No. 18 Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. Florida State is the only other team on UNC’s schedule that is in the preseason top 25.
UNC is back in the preseason top 25 for the first time since 2014, when the Tar Heels began the season ranked No. 23 before a 6-7 finish. This is the Tar Heels’ highest preseason ranking since they entered the 2010 season No. 18.
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UNC this season will attempt to end a dubious trend. The past four times the Tar Heels have entered the season ranked in the top 25, they’ve finished the season unranked. The last time UNC began and ended a season in the national rankings was in 1997, when it started No. 7 and finished No. 6.