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Men's Basketball Earns No. 1 Ranking in ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 02, 2000
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TUCSON, Ariz. - When the Arizona basketball team opens the regular season on Nov. 20, it will do so as the nation's No. 1-ranked team.

The ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll was released Thursday afternoon and the Wildcats earned the preseason top ranking for the second time in school history. Arizona received 19 first-place votes and a total of 756 points to finish as the coaches' pick as the best team in the nation.

"I am pleased that our guys are being recognized with a chance to accomplish a number of things this season," said UA head coach Lute Olson. "We'll work hard to try to live up to their confidence."

UA outdistanced Duke in the battle for top-ranked honors. The No. 2 Blue Devils received 12 first-place votes and received a total of 753 points overall. Rounding out the top five was Stanford (631), North Carolina (615) and Michigan State (606).

It is just the second time in UA history that the Cats have earned the preseason No. 1 ranking. The 1997-98 squad also opened the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. That year's defending national champions were No. 1 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls.

Olson and the Wildcats return 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last season's 27-7 ball club that shared the Pacific-10 Conference championship and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The squad opens the season at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20 vs. Chaminade.

ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll

Rnk. Team Points

1. Arzona (19) 756

2. Duke (12) 753

3. Stanford 631

4. North Carolina 615

5. Michigan State 606

6. Kansas 587

7. Maryland 567

8. Tennessee 545

9. Illinois 527

10. Seton Hall 486

11. Florida 443

12. Kentucky 391

13. Connecticut 314

14. Cincinnati 285

15. Arkansas 265

16. Utah 252

17. Notre Dame 242

18. Wake Forest 223

19. UCLA 215

20. DePaul 172

21. Oklahoma 136

22. Wisconsin 124

23. Iowa State 107

24. USC 87

25. Virginia 81

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