For the second straight season, the Duke men’s basketball team enters the season as the top team in USA Today’s preseason coaches poll.
The Blue Devils are followed by Michigan State at No. 2, Kansas and Kentucky at Nos. 3 and 4, and Arizona in fifth.
It’s the seventh time since USA Today began administering the coaches poll that Duke is the preseason No. 1. The Blue Devils finished as NCAA champions in only one of those prior seasons when they successfully defended the title in 1992.
Duke was No. 1 last season and struggled for much of the season before winning the ACC tournament. The Blue Devils followed with an early NCAA Tournament exit in the second round against South Carolina.
Based on its strong recruiting class and returning talent, Duke received 20 of 32 first-place votes. The Blue Devils bring back senior Grayson Allen with a number of elite freshmen recruits, including potential No. 1 NBA draft pick Marvin Bagley, big man Wendell Carter and guards Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr.
Duke heads a group of five ACC members in the top 25, the most for any conference.
North Carolina, the reigning national champion, enters the season at No. 9 in the poll. The Tar Heels will be led by seniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson.
Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky will all be present at the Champions Classic in Chicago Nov. 14.