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MississppiZag
10-30-2008, 02:52 AM
2008 USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll
Outlooks by USA TODAY's Jack Carey.

1. North Carolina (36-3)
Points: 775 (31 first-place votes). Previous ranking: 3.
Outlook: Coming off a Final Four berth, the Tar Heels are clear favorites to go back and this time, win it, with a star-studded cast led by F Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson, Gs Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Bobby Frasor and wings Marcus Ginyard and Danny Green. Ginyard, however, will miss several weeks after surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Opens: Nov. 16 vs. Pennsylvania.

2. Connecticut (24-9)
Points: 707. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: After returning to the NCAA tournament last year, the Huskies bring back a veteran cast to engage in Big East battles, including C Hasheem Thabeet, F Jeff Adrien and Gs Craig Austrie, A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Western Carolina.

3. Louisville (27-9)
Points: 694. Previous ranking: 6.
Outlook: A trip to the elite eight has left the Cardinals eager for more, and they return plenty of talent to navigate the Big East waters with Fs Terrence Williams and Earl Clark and Gs Jerry Smith, Edgar Sosa and Andre McGee. Freshman F Samardo Samuels will be heard from. Opens: Nov. 22 vs. Morehead State in Billy Minardi Classic.

4. UCLA (35-4)
Points: 650. Previous ranking: 4.
Outlook: Three consecutive Final Fours but no titles in that time has the Bruins hungry. Point guard Darren Collison is one of the best in the nation, and wing Josh Shipp also returns with Fs Alfred Aboya and James Keefe. Freshman G Jrue Holiday is one to watch. Opens: Nov. 12 vs. Prairie View in 2K Sports Classic (ESPNU, 10).

5. Duke (28-6)
Points: 578. Previous ranking: 16.
Outlook: After first- and second-round ousters in the past two NCAA tournaments, the Blue Devils look for a deep run behind a veteran cast that includes Gs Greg Paulus, Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith and Fs Kyle Singler and Lance Thomas. Opens: Nov. 10 vs. Presbyterian in 2K Sports Classic (ESPNU, 7).

6. Pittsburgh (27-10)
Points: 576. Previous ranking: 18.
Outlook: Defending Big East tournament champion looks for deeper NCAA tournament run behind Fs Sam Young, DeJuan Blair and Tyrell Biggs, G Levance Fields and wing Gilbert Brown. Fields is recovering from summer foot surgery. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson.

7. Michigan State (27-9)
Points: 572. Previous ranking: 13.
Outlook: Challenging non-league schedule must be negotiated by a veteran Spartans team that features Fs Raymar Morgan and Marquise Gray, C Goran Suton and Gs Kalin Lucas, Travis Walton and Durrell Summers. Opens: Nov. 16 vs. Idaho.

8. Texas (31-7)
Points: 538. Previous ranking: 5.
Outlook: Gs A.J. Abrams and Justin Mason, wing Damion James and F Connor Atchley are back as an experienced cast strives to get to the top of the Big 12 after reaching the NCAA's Elite Eight last season. But how much will the Longhorns miss point guard D.J. Augustin? Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Stetson.

9. Notre Dame (25-8)
Points: 525. Previous ranking: 19.
Outlook: Big East player of the year Luke Harangody, one of the nation's premier post players is back, with Fs Luke Zeller and Zach Hillesland lending support. The Irish are solid in the backcourt, too, with Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson. Opens: Nov. 16 vs. South Carolina-Upstate.

10. Purdue (25-9)
Points: 465. Previous ranking: 20.
Outlook: Boilermakers broke through in a big way last year with an NCAA bid and should be poised to make run in the Big Ten behind Gs E'Twaun Moore, Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant and Fs Robbie Hummel and Nemanja Calasan. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Detroit Mercy.

11. Gonzaga (25-8)
Points: 437. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: F Austin Daye has been rehabbing a summer knee injury, and F Josh Heytvelt needs to stay healthy. The Bulldogs are primed in the backcourt with point guard Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray. Opens: Nov. 18 vs. Idaho.

12. Memphis (38-2)
Points: 425. Previous ranking: 2.
Outlook: Tigers let the national title slip away in the final minutes and will have a different look built around Gs Antonio Anderson and Doneal Mack and F Robert Dozier. Watch for freshman G Tyreke Evans to have an immediate impact. Opens: Nov. 15 vs. Fairfield.

13. Tennessee (31-5)
Points: 408. Previous ranking: 7.
Outlook: Some solid talent was lost, but coach Bruce Pearl has developed the Vols into one of the nation's top programs in short order and could keep it going behind Fs Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism. Freshman G Scotty Hopson leads a highly regarded recruiting class, and fellow G J.P. Prince should grow. Opens: Nov. 15 vs. Chattanooga.

14. Oklahoma (23-12)
Points: 387. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: Sooners could be the class of the Big 12, with brothers Blake and Taylor Griffin returning up front. Freshman G Willie Warren could have a huge impact, teaming with Gs Austin Johnson and Tony Crocker. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. American.

15. Arizona State (21-13)
Points: 304. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: One of the biggest turnarounds in the nation resulted in an NIT bid last season. The Sun Devils will look to keep moving up as almost every key contributor returns. High-scoring G James Harden leads a veteran backcourt that also includes Ty Abbott and Derek Glasser, with Jeff Pendergraph returning up front along with Rihards Kuksiks. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Mississippi Valley State.

16. Miami (Fla.) (23-11)
Points: 233. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: Hurricanes broke through for a tournament bid a year ago and should be one of the ACC's better teams behind returning Gs Jack McClinton, Lance Hurdle and James Dews and F Brian Asbury. Opens: Nov. 15 vs. Florida Southern.

17. Marquette (25-10)
Points: 219. Previous ranking: 21.
Outlook: Former assistant Buzz Williams steps in for coach Tom Crean, who left for Indiana. He'll lean heavily on senior backcourt stars Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. Versatile Lazar Hayward returns to the frontcourt. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Houston Baptist.

18. Georgetown (28-6)
Points: 175. Previous ranking: 12.
Outlook: Freshman Greg Monroe could be the Hoyas next top-notch big man and will look to help fill the void left by the departure of Roy Hibbert. F DaJuan Summers and Gs Jessie Sapp, Chris Wright and Austin Freeman return. Opens: Nov. 17 vs. Jacksonville.

19. Florida (24-12)
Points: 161. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: After an NIT bid a year ago, the Gators hope to rise again in the SEC with the return of Gs Walter Hodge, Jai Lucas and Nick Calathes and F Dan Werner and Chandler Parsons. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Toledo in CBE Classic (ESPNU, 6).

20. Davidson (29-7)
Points: 158. Previous ranking: 9.
Outlook: Last season's near miss of a Cinderella Final Four appearance has trained the spotlight on dynamic G Stephen Curry, who probably will see more time at the point. Max Paulhus Gosselin also returns to the backcourt and also back are wing Will Archambault and F Andrew Lovedale. Opens: Nov. 17 vs. James Madison at Norman, Okla., in NIT Season Tip-off.

21. (tie) Southern California (21-12)
Points: 153. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: O.J. Mayo is gone after one season, but the Trojans should be strong in the backcourt with the return of Daniel Hackett and Dwight Lewis. Taj Gibson is back up front, and highly touted freshman DeMar DeRozan is expected to have an immediate impact. Opens: Nov. 15 vs. UC-Irvine.

21. (tie) Wisconsin (31-5)
Points: 153. Previous ranking: 10.
Outlook: C Brian Butch is gone, but look for the Badgers to again contend in the Big Ten with the return of Gs Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon and Fs Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft. Opens: Nov. 16 vs. Long Beach State.

23. Kansas (37-3)
Points: 130. Previous ranking: 1.
Outlook: The defending-champion Jayhawks have undergone plenty of changes, but G Sherron Collins and C Cole Aldrich return. Lots of recruits figure to help out right away, including junior college transfer G Mario Little, freshman guard Travis Releford and up front, the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff. Opens: Nov. 18 vs. Florida Gulf Coast in CBE Classic (ESPNU, 9).

24. Wake Forest (17-13)
Points: 129. Previous ranking: not ranked.
Outlook: The Demon Deacons could be poised for a big jump in the ACC with every key player back, including F James Johnson, C Chas McFarland and Gs Ishmael Smith, Jeff Teague and L.D. Williams. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. North Carolina Central.

25. Villanova (22-13)
Points: 122. Previous ranking: 24.
Outlook: Nearly everyone returns from last year's Sweet 16 team, and the Wildcats should be among the best in the Big East. Gs Scottie Reynolds, Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher, wing Dwayne Anderson and Fs Dante Cunningham and Antonio Pena are among the returnees. Opens: Nov. 14 vs. Albany.

Others receiving votes: UNLV (27-8) 60; Saint Mary's (25-7) 59; Ohio State (24-13) 54; Baylor (21-11) 47; Xavier (30-7) 27; Syracuse (21-14) 23; LSU (13-18) 19; Texas A&M (25-11) 19; Arizona (19-15) 18; Virginia Tech (21-14) 15; Brigham Young (27-8) 13; West Virginia (26-11) 10; Siena (23-11) 8; Washington (16-17) 8; Kentucky (18-13) 7; Vanderbilt (26-8) 7; Oklahoma State (17-16) 4; Clemson (24-10) 2; Washington State (26-9) 1.

JAGzag
10-30-2008, 03:39 AM
That's a great start and it's good to see St. Mary's knocking at the door at #27 - it would do the conference some good to have two consistent ranked teams (and the Zags RPI).

MississppiZag
10-30-2008, 03:56 AM
I will give a reward(sarcasm) to anyone who can find out when the AP Poll comes out. I have tried for the past week or so, and can't find it. I thought it might come out at the same time as the Coaches Poll.

dawgfather11
10-30-2008, 05:54 AM
that's suprising figured you guy's as a shoe in for a top 10 spot

CDC84
10-30-2008, 07:50 AM
Enjoy the coaches poll now while you can, because it's just going to get worse and worse and worse as the season moves along. Head coaches and sports information directors (who often do the "real" voting) do not have any time to watch college basketball games not involving their own team in some fashion. The coaches poll continues to be remain one of the most useless exercises in all of sports. People on this board could construct a more informed top 25 list.

GUZagDenver
10-30-2008, 08:07 AM
Enjoy the coaches poll now while you can, because it's just going to get worse and worse and worse as the season moves along. Head coaches and sports information directors (who often do the "real" voting) do not have any time to watch college basketball games not involving their own team in some fashion. The coaches poll continues to be remain one of the most useless exercises in all of sports. People on this board could construct a more informed top 25 list.

I tend to agree with this. I am content with a #11 pre-season ranking, bu there are teams in there that get votes every year. Even though I am NOT a Duke hater, they probably shouldn't be at 4 or 5. If you look at all of the experts' polls, no one really has them in the top 10. If we win the games that we can and should, the polls will take care of themselves. We play enough good teams to climb very high if we win games.

BroncoZAG615
10-30-2008, 09:05 AM
I can't believe USD didn't get one vote.

Nevtelen
10-30-2008, 09:09 AM
I can't believe USD didn't get one vote.

That's kind of what I was thinking. Hopefully the AP poll will be a little more englightened. Name recognition clearly drives this poll - case in point, Kansas in the Top 25 already.

MississppiZag
10-30-2008, 10:08 AM
I know no preseason poll matters, but ESPN is using the AP poll at the bottomline and on college gameday in the background. That means like CBS and FSN, ESPN will now display the AP poll. Now any channel we play on will have the AP polls next to the teams name. For this i feel that the AP poll is now the more important of the two.

I would be surprised if we were not in the top 10 in the AP. America loves the Zags.:)

marczagfan
10-30-2008, 01:47 PM
I think the poll is fair based on how the coaches typically vote, but I agree that the zags are definitely a top 10 team, if not top 5. Glad to see St. Marys had some votes but I'm surprised San Diego is not up there. I think San Diego is underrated, and althought I look forward to the Zags taking it to SD this year, I think SD deserves more respect. They Knocked off UCONN in the tourney and kentucky on the road last year and return all 5 starters, but maybe I just favor the WCC and other western conferences.

Birddog
10-31-2008, 04:07 AM
I caught just a bit of Gottlieb commenting on the Top 10 (11) yesterday on local radio. He said the Zags were better than Duke right now and should have been rated higher. He also gave Meech some props, seems he had recently spoken with Few.

baitcast
10-31-2008, 04:59 AM
"America loves the Zags" I wear my Zag hat all the time and live in the middle of nowhere in the Az. desert but I,m amazed at the number of times people see the cap and say things like "how are they going to do this year" or "they looked good last week"puzzled I always say What? O you mean Gonzaga then we have a laugh,its amazing:)
Rob Kingman AZ.

KSTATEZAG
10-31-2008, 05:31 AM
Yeah. I was in NYC and now I'm in Boston.
People love the Zags on the east coast.
In NYC the fans had far less respect for the program (more Dukies there than anywhere), but here in Boston folks know a considerable amount about the program and generally respect what has been built in Spokane. Actually, I had a conversation with a guy in my rec league about Pendo last night and he is born and raised Southie.
Just goes to show ya...the East Coast Bias is there but sometimes I think we're semi-immune.

MickMick
10-31-2008, 06:15 AM
How can UConn be #2 if San Diego did not recieve any votes?

Because the poll is a beauty contest. The problem is that recruits tune in to it. Hence, it is important for Gonzaga to be a part of it.

ZagManFan
10-31-2008, 08:12 AM
Washington (16-17) 8

This is an absolute shcok to me. Of course I have the same feelings about polls as most of you, but REALLY? Do they know that Gaddy is a year away?

8 VOTES? Does UW get to vote 8 times?