Luke DeCock’s AP Top 25 basketball poll ballot: Preseason

Watch North Carolina seniors Luke Maye and Kenny Williams show off their dance moves

The senior duo perform with the UNC Dance Team during the annual Late Night With Roy on Friday, October 12, 2018 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
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The senior duo perform with the UNC Dance Team during the annual Late Night With Roy on Friday, October 12, 2018 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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.

The 2018-19 Blue Devil basketball team is introduced to the fan base with a dunk filled night and pyrotechnics

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.


Week 1 (Preseason) Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18


1. Kansas

2. Kentucky

3. Gonzaga

4. North Carolina

5. Duke

6. Nevada

7. Virginia

8. West Virginia

9. Villanova

10. Tennessee

11. Michigan State

12. Auburn

13. Oregon

14. Syracuse

15. Kansas State

16. Mississippi State

17. Clemson

18. Michigan

19. Virginia Tech

20. Texas Tech

21. Marquette

22. Florida State

23. Washington

24. Xavier

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.

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Check out University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams letting the "Royisms" fly during his summer press conference.

Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, @Luke DeCock

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