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Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

KU 24th in preseason poll

North Carolina No. 1 for second straight year

November 1, 2008

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The Associated Press panel of media members ranked Kansas University's basketball team No. 24 in the country on Friday - a day after ESPN/USA Today's group of coaches tapped the Jayhawks one slot better at No. 23.

"I'm excited to be ranked. I'd rather be ranked than not ranked," KU coach Bill Self said after release of the AP poll that had North Carolina the first unanimous preseason No. 1 since the poll's inception in 1981-82.

Self said the Jayhawks, who return no starters off last season's national-title team, could have been left out completely.

"I think being ranked 23rd and 24th is in large part due to the great respect they probably have for us winning it all last year," Self said.

"We do not look like the 23rd- or 24th-ranked team in the country on Oct. 31, but we're not playing games today, either. We are a team I think will continually get better as the season goes along. We have to develop an identity. I don't think that happens overnight. Hopefully it'll be an identity we'll feel good about and can hang our hats on."

No. 1 UNC has the top six scorers - including national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough - back from a team that won a school-record 36 games. UNC is preseason No. 1 for the second straight year, joining UNLV in 1989-90 and 1990-91 as the only schools to accomplish that feat.

Connecticut, which returns four starters, was No. 2, followed by Louisville, UCLA, Pitt, Michigan State, Texas, Duke, Notre Dame and Gonzaga. Purdue is 11th, followed by Oklahoma, Memphis, Tennessee, Arizona State, Marquette, Miami, USC, Florida, Davidson, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Villanova, KU and Wisconsin.

Kentucky is not in the preseason rankings for the first time since 1990-91.

The longest current streak now belongs to Duke, included in every poll since 1996-97.

The Jayhawks realize polls mean little this time of year.

"My big brother from back home called me and told me where they had us. I didn't pay much attention to it," junior Sherron Collins said.

"Everybody has an opinion," noted freshman Tyshawn Taylor. "But they have not watched us practice or play, so nobody knows. I think we'll surprise a couple people."

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