By R.L. Bynum
The preseason AP men’s basketball poll is more than a month away from release, but one respected yearbook has already declared North Carolina the No. 1 men’s basketball team.
Chris Dortch, editor and publisher of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, has the Tar Heels as the top-ranked team, followed by Gonzaga, Kentucky and Houston.
Indiana, which Carolina plays on Nov. 30 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, is No. 12. UNC faces Michigan on Dec. 21 in Charlotte, which is No. 18. At the Phil Knight Invitational in late November, the Tar Heels could play Villanova, which is No. 18, and Michigan State, which is No. 24.
UNC comes off a 29–10 season that culminated with a run to the program’s NCAA-record 21st Final Four and a semifinal win over Duke to advance to the national championship game.
The only other ACC teams in Blue Ribbon’s Top 25 are Duke at No. 5 and Virginia at No. 20. UNC plays both teams home and home.
It’s the second season as UNC head coach for Hubert Davis, who earned national coach-of-the-year honors last season. Four starters are back, including All-America big man Armando Bacot, fifth-year senior wing and defensive ace Leaky Black and junior guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love.
Carolina plays an exhibition game on Friday, Oct. 28 against Johnson C. Smith before opening the season at home against UNCW on Monday, Nov. 7.
Blue Ribbon Top 25
1. North Carolina
21. Texas A&M
24. Michigan State
25. San Diego State
Photo via @UNC_Basketball