UNC starts the season ranked eighth in the AP poll after being tabbed for ninth in the ESPN/USA Today SID's Coaches Poll. Only two other ACC schools make the cut here. Duke is obviously #1 and Virginia Tech is ranked 21st.
If you ask me, I think many voters in both polls fall back on the "default" setting when it comes to cast votes in the preseason. UNC is a traditional basketball power and Virginia Tech is not. Despite the Hokies having significant experience returning and a potential All-ACC guard they get slotted outside the top 20 while UNC which has incredible talent but a ton of questions is ranked in the top ten. That is not to say UNC won't end up there by season's end but I would think Virginia Tech is better than 21st. In fact, you can make an argument for NCSU's inclusion in the top 25 given the recruiting class they brought in and the personnel already in place. Such is the folly preseason polls when voters operate with so little real information they tend to rely on tried and true assumptions more times than not.
Speaking of the voters, the AP has all of their ballots posted for public view. Please be sure to note ballot for Mark Berman of the Roanoke(Va) Times. Apparently Berman's opinion of UNC is, shall we say, a tad low. UNC is not on his ballot but ranked 25th is Wofford? Okay, Wofford could possibly win the Southern Conference and get into the NCAA Tournament so if he wants to blow his 25th vote on the Terriers, fine. For all I know Berman is doing his best Steve Spurrier impersonation and casting a vote for his alma mater or something. However, UNC is a ranked team. Probably not as high as the voters are making them but I am pretty sure they should be in the poll ahead of Wofford.
Then again, this is a preseason. Ranking teams at all without seeing them play is sort of insane anyway.
UPDATE: CBS Sportsline's Gary Parrish takes Berman to task for not only leaving off UNC but also Kentucky while including Wofford, Old Dominion, Ohio and Utah St. I guess he has a soft spot for the mid-majors.
The first clown is Mark Berman.
He included Ohio, Utah State, Old Dominion and Wofford on his ballot but left off Baylor, North Carolina, Memphis and Kentucky. I could spend 3,500 words explaining why this is stupid beyond belief, but is that even necessary? There are 65 AP voters, and Berman is the only person to leave UNC off a ballot, and he's also the only person to leave Kentucky off a ballot. So he hates power programs with a bunch of pros; that's all I can figure. Because there's no other explanation for being this idiotic in October.