The AP Preseason Poll: North Carolina #1 On All But Three BallotsPosted by KCarpenter on October 28th, 2011
The first AP poll repeats the refrain of the offseason: North Carolina is the best team in the country. Amassing 62 out 65 first-place votes, the Tar Heels ran away from the rest of the field. This is no surprise and pretty much matches what the coaches thought last week. Like in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, Kentucky came in second with Ohio State and Connecticut not far behind. One first place vote went to the Buckeyes and two more to the Huskies, with the Wildcats getting no votes at the top spot. While that’s a slight difference from the coaches poll where Kentucky got the only non-UNC vote, it pretty much lines up with the conventional wisdom: Going into the season, there are four clear top tier teams, with the debate being over who goes in slots two through four. While guessing which writers submitted the minority reports favoring Connecticut and Ohio State is an entertaining game, the AP is happy to spoil that fun by posting the voters and their ballots online.
As for the rest of the ACC, Duke comes in at sixth, the same as in the coaches poll. Contributing to this mounting sense of déjà vu, Florida State once again finishes just outside the top twenty-five at the the twenty-sixth spot. Virginia, despite receiving a vote or two in the coaches poll, doesn’t get any love from the AP’s panel. Interestingly enough, the only other team to receive votes outside of last year’s top three finishers is Miami, a team that is returning a lot of highly skilled players and deserves a little more love than it’s been getting. In any case, the preseason is winding down and this poll will soon be forgotten as actual basketball games take the place of educated guesswork. I don’t know if that’s any consolation to an overlooked team like UVA, but it’s something.