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Wildcats Earn No. 1 Ranking in Associated Press Top 25 Preseason Poll
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 06, 2000
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TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona men's basketball team was selected as the nation's top-ranked team in voting released Monday by the Associated Press.

With five starters and 10 letterwinners returning from last season's 27-7 ballclub that shared the Pacific-10 Conference championship and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats collected the preseason No. 1 ranking from the media with a total of 1,753 points. Arizona received the majority of first-place votes, 37, and finished four points ahead of No. 2 Duke.

"Certainly, our having five returning starters has brought with it high expectations," said UA head coach Lute Olson. "It is nice to be recognized, but our guys continue to work hard and are focused on living up to those expectations."

UA outdistanced Duke once again in the battle for top-ranked honors. Arizona earned the No. 1 ranking in the preseason edition of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll (Nov. 2) by just three points over the Blue Devils. Michigan State (1,489), Stanford (1,487) and Maryland (1,436) rounded out the AP's top five.

It is the second time in school history that the Cats have earned the AP's preseason No. 1 ranking. The 1997-98 squad also opened the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. That season's defending national champions were No. 1 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls. All told, Arizona has occupied the top spot in the Associated Press poll in 14 different polling periods since the 1987-88 campaign.

The squad opens the season at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20 vs. Chaminade. Six potential opponents on Arizona's 2000-01 schedule are ranked in this preseason top 25.

Associated Press Preseason College Basketball Poll

Rnk. Team Points

1. Arizona (37) 1,753

2. Duke (27) 1,749

3. Michigan State (5) 1,489

4. Stanford 1,487

5. Maryland (1) 1,436

6. North Carolina 1,407

7. Kansas 1,376

8. Illinois 1,237

9. Tennessee 1,203

10. Seton Hall 1,186

11. Florida 1,033

12. Kentucky 1,015

13. Utah 695

14. Connecticut 680

15. Arkansas 603

Notre Dame 603

17. UCLA 597

18. Cincinnati 591

19. Wisconsin 499

20. Wake Forest 466

21. DePaul 352

22. Oklahoma 330

23. USC 284

24. Virginia 231

25. Iowa State 184

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