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The Daily Tar Heel
From the Press Box

North Carolina men's basketball shares No. 1 spot with Kentucky

After the first USA Today Coaches poll released Thursday, the North Carolina men's basketball team shares the No. 1 overall ranking along with the Kentucky Wildcats. 

This is the fourth time in the last nine years that UNC has claimed the top spot before the season, after tying Kentucky with 749 points. The Tar Heels received 12 total first-place votes while the Wildcats received 11. 

The three previous years UNC was rated No. 1 entering the season, they finished No. 6 in the country or better, with the 2009 team winning the program's fifth NCAA title after beating Michigan State 89-72. 

Coach Roy Williams acknowledged the previous success that has come with a No. 1 ranking in a statement for

“It’s a nice honor,” says head coach Roy Williams. “The last three times we were number one in the preseason we had very good teams. I hope it will work out that way this year. We have veteran players who have gotten better each year. We are enjoying practice right now and look forward to the season.”

The Tar Heels return four-of-five starters with the departure of J.P. Tokoto, and appear to be one of the deepest and most experienced teams in the country. While players avoided saying that a national championship was the expectation during Monday's media day, it was clearly on their minds:

"Going into the season it's hard not to think of anything but a trip to Houston being a success for us and anything less just not meeting what we think we're capable of," said senior guard Marcus Paige, who led the 2014-2015 team with 14.1 points per game. 

"So I'll just leave it at that."


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