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UNC Ranked #6 in Preseason Coaches Poll

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Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The first preseason poll is out. UNC is ranked #6 in the USA Today's Coaches Poll.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS 1ST PLACE VOTES PREV CHANGE HI/LOW
1 Kentucky 29-11 785 24 NR - -
2 Arizona 33-5 746 3 NR - -
3 Duke 26-9 715 2 NR - -
4 Wisconsin 30-8 706 3 NR - -
5 Kansas 25-10 654 0 NR - -
6 North Carolina 24-10 598 0 NR - -
7 Florida 36-3 568 0 NR - -
8 Virginia 30-7 519 0 NR - -
9 Louisville 31-6 507 0 NR - -
10 Texas 24-11 479 0 NR - -
11 Wichita State 35-1 471 0 NR - -
12 Villanova 29-5 439 0 NR - -
13 Gonzaga 29-7 423 0 NR - -
14 Iowa St. 28-8 323 0 NR - -
15 Connecticut 32-8 292 0 NR - -
16 Virginia Commonwealth 26-9 259 0 NR - -
17 San Diego State 31-5 251 0 NR - -
18 Michigan State 29-9 241 0 NR - -
19 Oklahoma 23-10 237 0 NR - -
20 Ohio State 25-10 223 0 NR - -
21 Nebraska 19-13 156 0 NR - -
22 Southern Methodist Univ. 27-10 149 0 NR - -
23 Michigan 28-9 139 0 NR - -
24 Syracuse 28-6 128 0 NR - -
25 Iowa 20-13 56 0 NR - -

As preseason rankings go this is probably about right for a team with a Final Four ceiling and one of the best players in the country on the roster. UNC has been a victim during the past two seasons of ridiculously high expectations while going into the season with buckets of uncertainty. There is less of that this season as UNC appears to have the pieces. Getting those pieces playing together as a well-oiled machine is the challenge.

That means there is a good chance UNC won't necessarily live up to the #6 ranking early on since there could be a fair amount of adjustment and tinkering by the coaching staff. That being said, any game UNC loses early should be to comparably ranked teams and not the Belmont and UABs of the world. In other words, UNC will likely take care of lesser teams on the non-conference schedule but lose to a couple of top ten teams and still maintain the ranking which will be an odd flip from last season.

UNC's schedule is well represented in the poll with games versus #1 Kentucky, #3 Duke(twice), #8 Virginia, #9 Louisville(twice), #20 Ohio St, #24 Syracuse and #25 Iowa. In addition the Tar Heels will also faces possible games against #19 Oklahoma, #5 Wisconsin or #7 Florida. UNC will play either UCLA or Oklahoma in the second game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas. Wisconsin and Florida are on the other side of the bracket along with Georgetown and UAB.

The ACC has four teams in the top ten with #3 Duke, #6 UNC, #8 Virginia and #9 Louisville. Syracuse gives the ACC a fifth team in the poll.