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Archive for Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Duke No. 1; Jayhawks, Heels left out

November 8, 2005

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Duke is back at No. 1 in the Associated Press' preseason college basketball poll, while defending champion North Carolina failed even to make the Top 25.

Kansas University, the preseason No. 1 last year, also was not among those teams ranked Monday.

The Blue Devils were a runaway choice for No. 1, the sixth time they have started the season atop the rankings.

"I would think that Duke would have to be the preseason No. 1, although there are four or five up there you could make a strong case for," KU coach Bill Self said of the Blue Devils, who return J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams off a team that went 27-6 and reached the Sweet 16.

North Carolina becomes the first defending national champion not to be in the preseason poll since KU in 1988-89. The Tar Heels lost their top seven scorers from last season.

KU is out of the AP ratings for the first time since the last poll of the 1999-00 season, a streak encompassing 89 straight polls. It's the first time KU is unranked in the preseason since the 1990-91 campaign.

"Us not being ranked ... I've not seen anywhere we were ranked. It doesn't come as a surprise to me," Self said. "I don't think we should be. We've got to prove ourselves. We don't have any returning players from the year before, or don't have many, (so) certainly we anticipated that."

"It's just people putting their views on what they think we should be since we lost four good seniors and have a young team," senior Jeff Hawkins said.

Duke received 61 first-place ballots and 1,785 points from the 72-member national media panel, which includes the

Journal-World's Tom Keegan. Texas was second with six first-place votes and 1,652 points. It matches the highest ranking in school history.

Connecticut was third, followed by Michigan State, which had four first-place votes, and Villanova, which was No. 1 on one ballot. Oklahoma was sixth and Louisville seventh. Gonzaga, Kentucky and Arizona rounded out the top 10.

Boston College was 11th, followed by Memphis, Stanford, West Virginia, Alabama, Syracuse, Illinois, Wake Forest, UCLA, Iowa, George Washington, Nevada, Indiana, Maryland and Iowa State.

The preseason poll started with the 1961-62 season. UCLA has the most No. 1 rankings with eight, followed by Duke's six and North Carolina's five.

The Big East leads the conferences with five ranked teams -- Connecticut, Villanova, Louisville, West Virginia and Syracuse -- the first three in the top seven. The ACC and Big Ten each had four teams in the preseason Top 25.

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