Tucson , Ariz. ?C The University of Arizona men's basketball team will open the season as the nation's 17th-ranked team according to the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, which released its 2007-08 preseason college basketball poll on Friday.
With 10 squadmen returning from last season's 20-11 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, Arizona collected the preseason No. 17 ranking from the coaches with a total of 205 points. North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, Kansas and Georgetown held the top five spots.
It marks the 20th time in the last 21 years in which Arizona has been nationally ranked in the first poll of the season by the coaches. The only break in that streak came to start the 2001-02 campaign.
The Wildcats open the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 13 against Northern Arizona in McKale Center at 7:30 p.m.
Arizona will play a total of 13 games against eight opponents that are ranked in the 2007-08 ESPN/USA Today preseason poll, including six games against four opponents in the top 10. In addition to Pac-10 foes UCLA (No. 2), Washington State (No. 10), Oregon (No. 13), USC (No. 18), and Stanford (No. 21), three non-conference opponents are included in the poll as well: Memphis (No. 2), Kansas (No. 4) and Texas A&M (No. 14).
2007-08 ESPN/USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll
1. North Carolina (10)
2. UCLA (12)
3. Memphis (8)
4. Kansas (1)
8. Michigan State
10. Washington State
14. Texas A&M
23. Southern Illinois
24. N.C. State25. Villanova