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UNC tops AP preseason basketball poll, Duke No. 5

North Carolina players react after a teammate's basket against UNC Greensboro basketball game in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. North Carolina won 79-56. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

North Carolina, which returns four starters and nine of its 10 top scorers from the team that reached the round of 16 in the 2015 NCAA tournament, is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 for a record ninth time.

The Tar Heels had been tied with UCLA, which has had eight preseason No. 1 rankings.

UNC also shares the top spot on the preseason coach's poll and was the number one pick in the ACC preseason poll.

The Tar Heels received 35 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. Kentucky is ranked second with 10 first-place 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, extending the Blue Devils' streak of consecutive polls to 156, the longest current run. The Blue Devils started their streak with the preseason poll of 2007-08. The record for consecutive poll appearances is 221 by UCLA, a run that went from 1966 until 1980.

Virginia (one first-place vote) is sixth, followed by Iowa State, Oklahoma, Gonzaga and Wichita State.

This is North Carolina's 112th week as a No. 1 team in the AP poll, fourth on the all-time list. North Carolina was last a preseason No. 1 in 2011-12.

There have been 12 teams to run the table as a No. 1-ranked team since the AP poll started in the 1948-49 season. The last to do it was Duke in 1991-92.

Fans won't have to wait long to see ranked teams face each other this season. On Nov. 17, just four days after the season gets underway, the State Farm Champions Classic will be held at Chicago's United Center with No. 4 Kansas meeting No. 13 Michigan State and No. 2 Kentucky facing No. 5 Duke.

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' preseason 2015-16 college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final 2014-15 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last year's final ranking:

Record/Pts/Prv
1. North Carolina (35) | 26-12 | 1,566 | 15
2. Kentucky (10)| 38-1 | 1,520 | 1
3. Maryland (14) | 28-7 | 1,487 | 12
4. Kansas (5) | 27-9 | 1,410 | 10
5. Duke 35-4 | 1,350 | 4
6. Virginia (1) | 30-4 | 1,347 | 6
7. Iowa St. 25-9 | 1,185 | 9
8. Oklahoma 24-11 | 1,088 | 13
9. Gonzaga 35-3 | 1,047 | 7
10. Wichita St. 30-5 | 1,032 14
11. Villanova 33-3 | 1,013 | 2
12. Arizona 34-4 | 917 | 5
13. Michigan St. 27-12 | 838 | 23
14. California 18-15 | 757 | -
15. Indiana 20-14 | 755 | -
16. Utah 26-9 | 499 | 19
17. Wisconsin 36-4 | 433 | 3
18. Vanderbilt 21-14 |393 | -
19. Notre Dame 32-6 | 360 | 8
20. UConn 20-15 | 307 | -
21. LSU 22-11 268 | -
22. Baylor 24-10 | 265 | 16
23. Purdue 21-13 | 236 | -
24. Butler 23-11 | 223 | 24
25. Michigan 16-16 | 126 |-

Others receiving votes: Oregon 116, SMU 112, West Virginia 84, Texas A&M 72, Cincinnati 63, Miami 48, Louisville 46, Georgetown 23, NC State 19, Florida St. 18, Texas 18, Rhode Island 17, Dayton 12, Xavier 12, Providence 10, Iowa 6, BYU 5, Valparaiso 5, Boise St. 4, Old Dominion 3, Oklahoma St. 2, San Diego St. 2, UCLA 2, Cent. Michigan 1, Iona 1, UC Irvine 1, Yale 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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