UNC Tops Preseason Coaches' Poll, Duke Sixth

UNC guard Larry Drew II drives against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. (Paul Abell/US Presswire)

North Carolina has been voted the top team in the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll.

The Tar Heels received all but one of the 31 first-place votes from a nationwide panel of coaches and a total of 774 points to outdistance Kentucky for the top spot. The Wildcats picked up the other No. 1 tally.

North Carolina was 29-8 last year and lost to Kentucky in the East Regional final of the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels return all five starters from last year's team, including forwards Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller.

Kentucky, which lost to eventual national champion Connecticut in the national semifinals last spring, has another top-ranked recruiting class for head coach John Calipari.

Ohio State, Connecticut and Syracuse round out the top five. Ohio State returns Jared Sullinger to a team that last year was a top seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost to Kentucky in regional semifinals.

Duke, a regional semifinal loser to Arizona as the top seed in the West last year, is sixth in the preseason poll and is followed by Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis and Florida.

The Big East had 11 NCAA Tournament bids last year and has the most teams in the preseason poll with six. The SEC and Big 12 each have four teams, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 both have three. The ACC has just North Carolina and Duke, although Florida State was nosed out by Missouri.