CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The University of North Carolina men’s basketball team shares the top spot in the 2015-16 USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the fourth time in the last nine years the Tar Heels will start the season ranked No. 1 in the nation by the coaches.
Kentucky is also tied for No. 1. The Tar Heels received 12 of the 32 first-place votes, one more than the Wildcats. Three other schools received first-place votes – including No. 3 Maryland (five), No. 4 Duke (three) and No. 5 Kansas (one).
Duke is the defending national champion and suffered heavy losses to the NBA. But the Blue Devils have a stellar freshman class coming in.
Rounding out the top 10 are Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Villanova and Arizona. Notre Dame is the other ACC school in the Top 25 at No. 18.
The coaches’ pre-season poll began in 1994-95. The Tar Heels previously were No. 1 in the preseason in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2011-12.
The 2008 team finished No. 3 in the final poll after reaching the Final Four; the 2009 team finished No. 1 after winning the national championship; and the 2012 team finished No. 6 after reaching the NCAA East Regional championship game.
The Tar Heels return four starters in senior forward Brice Johnson, senior guard Marcus Paige, junior forward Kennedy Meeks and sophomore forward Justin Jackson.