Another year voting in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Another year of dealing with unhappy Virginia fans, both of the ordinary kind and the Western variety?
There shouldn’t be any complaints about this preseason poll, at least not reasonable ones, since nobody really knows anything yet. I’d guess Kansas is a consensus No. 1 and I’ll have North Carolina ranked higher than most (nationally and in the ACC) as well as Gonzaga and (hello!) West Virginia.
That said, the top 12 or so seem pretty solid as a top 12, with just a question of what order they go. I ended up ranking seven ACC teams but my guess is the conference ends up getting nine or 10 teams in the tournament (add Miami, N.C. State and/or Notre Dame) and after leaving Miami out of my preseason top 25 last year I debated taking a flier on the Hurricanes but consider them 26th to start the season.
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I’ve got one hunch play in Xavier at 24. I’m a sucker for teams where people get caught up in what they lost rather than what they have back (see: North Carolina, 2017) and the fact that Xavier stayed within the program to replace Chris Mack suggests the foundation that Mack built will remain strong, at least for the time being. We’ll know by Christmas whether I’m right about that or not.
Loyola gets a ceremonial nod at 25.
These preseason rankings will figure into my poll for the first few weeks of the season, until there’s a decent amount of evidence to apply. Save your angry tweets and emails until then, please.
LAST SEASON’S BALLOTS
MY TOP 25
4. North Carolina
8. West Virginia
11. Michigan State
15. Kansas State
16. Mississippi State
19. Virginia Tech
20. Texas Tech
22. Florida State
25. Loyola (Ill.)
ALSO UNDER CONSIDERATION Alabama, Arizona State, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Miami, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, South Dakota State, TCU, Wisconsin.
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, @Luke DeCock