After making a surprise run to the 2022 Final Four, North Carolina will begin the new season ranked No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. Released Tuesday, the poll features the Tar Heels in the top spot with a 23-5 edge over Gonzaga in first-place votes. No. 3 Houston and No. 4 Kentucky also received first-place votes from the 32 participating Division I head coaches.
With four of five starters back from last season's memorable postseason run, UNC also ranks first in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. The Tar Heels added Northwestern transfer Pete Nance over the offseason and enrolled a three-member freshman class ranked No. 12 nationally.
Nance is expected to take on the role played by 3-point shooting power forward Brady Manek on last season's team, while the freshmen are expected to provide more quality depth after UNC played a tight rotation down the stretch last season. The Tar Heels open the season against UNC-Wilmington on Nov. 7.
Duke came in at No. 8 in the poll, while Villanova landed at No. 17. Both programs are breaking in first-year head coaches as Jon Scheyer takes over for Mike Krzyzewski with the Blue Devils and Kyle Neptune steps in for Jay Wright with the Wildcats.
Preseason Coaches Poll
- North Carolina (23)
- Gonzaga (5)
- Houston (1)
- Kentucky (3)
- San Diego State
- Texas Tech
Others receiving votes: Purdue 44; Texas A&M 37; Miami 31; UConn 31; Michigan State 29; Providence 22; Iowa 22; Syracuse 13; Florida State 13; Virginia Tech 9; USC 9; Saint Mary's 8; Wyoming 7; Wisconsin 7; UAB 6; Ohio State 5; Florida 5; Iowa State 4; Xavier 3; Toledo 2; Rutgers 2; Drake 2; Boise State 1.