North Carolina didn’t have a dominant start at No. 1. The Tar Heels are entering their second week at the top of the Associated Press college basketball poll, with coach Hubert Davis reminding his players that finding a flow like that will take time , who wore them to last year’s NCAA 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 UNC 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.
“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 top tier
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 first-place votes.
Baylor and Kansas previously ranked fifth. This time Baylor is alone in 5th place, followed by Kansas and Duke. UCLA, Arkansas and Creighton round out the top 10.
The new epochs
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 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, causing Villanova to fall from 16th to unranked for the first time since February 2019.
The Blue Devils beat Jacksonville and USC Upstate in their first two games under Jon Scheyer, who took over from Mike Krzyzewski in the Duke program’s first coaching change since 1980 — giving up 82 combined points.
Illinois (2-0) had the biggest jump, climbing four spots to No. 19 after two easy home wins. No. 14 Arizona and No. 21 Dayton each climbed three points. A total of 12 teams from the pre-season survey have advanced.
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 TCU each fell one spot to round out the four teams that slipped from their preseason rankings.
Seven teams, all in the top 10, maintained their preseason positions.
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, and 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 other team to drop out of preseason polls. The Ducks opened with a home win over Florida A&M but lost at home to UC Irvine four days later.
The SEC led 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 TCU.
The ACC and Big Ten had three, with No. 16 Virginia joining UNC and Duke for the ACC, and No. 12 Indiana and No. 20 Michigan joining Illinois for the Big Ten.
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.