North Carolina, which returns four starters and nine of its 10 top scorers from the team that reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, is No. 1 in The Associated Press' preseason Top 25 for a record ninth time.
The Tar Heels received 35 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. Kentucky is ranked second with 10 No. 1 votes, followed by Maryland, which had 14 first-place votes, and Kansas, which was No. 1 on five ballots. Defending national champion Duke is fifth with Virginia, which got one first-place vote, sixth followed by Iowa State, Oklahoma, Gonzaga and Wichita State.
North Carolina was last a preseason No. 1 in 2011-12. They broke a tie for most preseason No. 1 rankings with UCLA.