Arizona ranked 12th in AP preseason basketball rankings
Arizona, which lost four of five starters from a team that fell one basket short of the Final Four, is ranked 12th in the Associated Press preseason poll.
North Carolina, which returns four starters and nine of its 10 top scorers from the team that reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, is No. 1 for a record ninth time.
The Tar Heels received 35 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. Kentucky is ranked second with 10 No. 1 votes, followed by Maryland, which had 14 first-place votes, and Kansas, which was No. 1 on five ballots. Defending national champion Duke is fifth.
Virginia, which got one first-place vote, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Gonzaga and Wichita State, round out the top 10.
North Carolina was last a preseason No. 1 in 2011-12. They broke a tie for most preseason No. 1 rankings with UCLA.
Among the Tar Heels' returning starters are preseason ACC co-player of the year Marcus Paige and returning all-ACC forward Brice Johnson.
Senior center Kaleb Tarczewski is the only returning starter for Arizona, which was 34-4 a year ago, but the Wildcats have three other seniors in transfers Ryan Anderson (Boston College), Mark Tollefsen (San Francisco) and guard Gabe York, a part-time starter in his fourth season in Sean Miller's program. Small forward Ray Smith, one of Miller's top incoming recruits, is lost for the season after tearing an ACL in preseason practice.
California, at No. 14, and Utah, at 16, are the other Pac-12 schools in the Top 25, and Oregon fell one spot short.