Duke opens at No. 1 in AP poll

Tar Heels ranked No. 9 to start season

Grayson Allen (White Team) harasses freshman Gary Trent Jr. (Blue Team) in Duke's Countdown to Craziness scrimmage (photo by Shawn Krest)

For the second straight season, Duke’s men’s basketball team opens the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. The Blue Devils topped the AP preseason Top 25.

It’s the first time in school history that Duke has been preseason No. 1 in back-to-back years and the ninth preseason No. 1 in school history. The Blue Devils have been in the preseason top five for five straight years.

Duke got 33 of the 65 first-place votes and rank ahead of Michigan State (13 first-place votes), Arizona (18) and Kansas (1). Kentucky rounds out the top five.

The defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels open the season at No. 9. That’s UNC’s lowest preseason ranking since it opened the 2013-14 season at No. 12. The Tar Heels have been in the preseason Top 10 in 10 of the last 12 seasons.  It’s the lowest Carolina has been ranked in any poll since the Tar Heels dropped to No. 10 on Feb. 13 of last season.

Three other ACC teams open the season in the Top 25. Miami is at No. 13. It’s Miami’s first AP ranking since Feb. 27 of last season, when the Hurricanes were No. 25. It’s their highest rating since they ended the 2015-16 season at No. 11.

Notre Dame is at 14. It’s the highest rating for the Irish since they were at No. 14 on March 12 last year. Notre Dame has been ranked in 17 straight polls, dating back to last December.

Louisville is at No. 16. It’s the lowest the Cardinals have been ranked since they ended the 2015-16 season at No. 16. They’ve appeared in 36 straight AP polls, dating back to November 2015.

Florida State and Virginia, who finished last season in the Top 25, didn’t make the cut for the preseason poll.  That snaps a streak of 14 straight Top 25s for the Seminoles and 64 straight for the Cavaliers, dating back to February 2014.