North Carolina and Gonzaga lead the AP Top 25 Men’s Poll 1-2

AARON BEARD Associated Press

NEW YORK — North Carolina did not have a dominant start at No. 1.

The Tar Heels open their second week at the top of the Associated Press’s college basketball poll, with coach Hubert Davis reminding his players it will take time to find a flow like the one that brought them to the NCAA last year -Has worn championship game.

UNC (2-0) received 44 of 63 first-place votes and finished ahead of No. 2 Gonzaga in Monday’s inaugural AP Top 25 regular season, which showed only minor changes from the preseason poll released Oct. 17.

The Tar Heels bring back four starters from last year’s team, including AP’s preseason All-American Armando Bacot. But they did have victories last week, first against North Carolina-Wilmington and then the College of Charleston.

After the opener, Davis said he hoped it was “fear and nervousness in the first game.” After the second, he said he spoke to his team about managing expectations.

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“One of the things I felt in them — I just didn’t feel any nervousness, but maybe a little bit of an expectation load,” Davis said. “And I’ve tried to get them to understand that while those expectations are noise, they don’t mean anything.

“I felt like every game they tried to make it look like what we looked like in April. That’s just not possible. That just can’t happen. This is this year’s team.”

THE SUMMIT

The second-placed Bulldogs (2-0) grabbed 14 first-place votes after victories against North Florida and Michigan State, the latter landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Third-place Houston (2-0) and fourth-place Kentucky (2-0) received the remaining five votes.

Baylor and Kansas previously ranked fifth. This time Baylor is alone in 5th place, followed by Kansas and Duke. California-Los Angeles, Arkansas and Creighton round out the top 10.

THE NEW TIMES

Duke and Villanova both start with young coaches replacing retired Hall of Famers. One had an early stumble that carried it straight out of the poll.

The Blue Devils beat Jacksonville and South Carolina Upstate in their first two games under Jon Scheyer, who took over from Mike Krzyzewski in the program’s first coaching change since 1980 — dropping 82 points.

The Wildcats have approached Kyle Neptune, who took over in the spring after Jay Wright retired. They won their opener against La Salle and then lost to Temple, dropping them from 16th to unranked for the first time since February 2019.

RISING

Illinois (2-0) had the biggest jump, climbing four places to No. 19 after two easy home wins. No. 14 Arizona and No. 21 Dayton both climbed three places. A total of 12 teams from the pre-season survey have advanced.

PUSH

Tennessee (1-1) dropped the most, falling 11 spots to No. 22 after losing to Colorado in their home state of Colorado.

Kansas — which fell out of the voting tie at No. 5 — Creighton and No. 15 Texas Christian each fell down a spot to round out the four teams that slipped from their preseason rankings.

STATUS QUO

Seven teams, all in the top 10, maintained their preseason positions.

WELCOME

No. 24 Texas A&M and No. 25 Connecticut are the newcomers of the week. The Huskies spent most of last season in the AP Top 25, although the Aggies took the poll for the first time under fourth-year coach Buzz Williams. Texas A&M was last ranked in February 2018, a season that ended in an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

farewell (for now)

Oregon (No. 21) joined Villanova as the two teams eliminated from the preseason poll. The Ducks opened with a home win over Florida A&M but lost at home to California-Irvine four days later.

CONFERENCE SUPPLY

The Southeastern Conference led the way with six ranked teams, with No. 13 Auburn and No. 18 Alabama joining Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

The Big 12 were next with five, with No. 11 Texas and No. 23 Texas Tech joining Baylor, Kansas and Texas Christian.

The Atlantic Coast Conference had three, with Virginia No. 16 joining North Carolina and Duke; while the Big Ten had three with No. 12 Indiana and No. 20 Michigan joining Illinois.

The Pac-12 and Big East each had two ranked teams, followed by the West Coast, American Athletic, Mountain West, and Atlantic 10 conferences with one each.

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