The Associated Press released its initial top 25 for the 2019-2020 basketball season, and the North Carolina Tar Heels are ranked in the preseason top 10 for a record 40th time.
2019 Final Four participant Michigan State was a near-unanimous selection for the top spot in the first poll, garnering 60 of 65 first-place votes. #2 Kentucky (two) and #3 Kansas (three) split the rest.
ACC foes Duke and Louisville rounded out the top 5, and defending national champion Virginia rounded out the ACC’s ranked teams at #11. The Heels also face #18 Ohio State at home on December 4th, and travel to Spokane, WA for a return visit to #8 Gonzaga on their home-and-home agreement on December 18th.
Ohio State (the Heels ACC/Big Ten Challenge game) will likely be the first ranked opponent the Heels face this season, but with an early-season trip to Virginia three days later, the schedule ramps up in a hurry.
The initial top 25 is as follows:
- Michigan State
- North Carolina
- Seton Hall
- Texas Tech
- Utah State
- Ohio State
- Saint Mary’s
Carolina’s opener is in just 16 days: a made-to-pressure-TV-networks-to-pick-up-the-ACC-Network game at home against Notre Dame.