Led by sophomore forward and National Player of the Year candidate Harrison Barnes and an impressive supporting cast, North Carolina earned the No. 1 spot in The Daily Athenaeum’s preseason top 25 this season.
The Tar Heels return all five starters from last year, including senior center Tyler Zeller, juniors John Henson and Dexter Strickland and sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall.
North Carolina received four out of nine possible first-place votes in our poll. Connecticut, the defending national champions, received three votes for first, but found themselves ranked third in the country behind head coach John Calipari and the talented Kentucky Wildcats (which received one first-place vote).
The only other team to get a vote for first was Ohio State, led by sophomores Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft.
Six Big East Conference teams earned spots in the preseason rankings, including three in the top 10.
Teams that received votes but ended up just outside of the top 25 were California, Florida State, Michigan State, Temple, Minnesota, Texas and Butler.
1. North Carolina (4)
2. Kentucky (1)
3. Connecticut (3)
4. Ohio State
19. Texas A&M
Others Receiving Votes: California (15), Florida State (5), Temple (5), Michigan State (3), Minnesota (2), Texas (1), Butler (1)