AP basketball preseason Top 25: Can No. 1 North Carolina avenge title game loss?

The 2022-23 college basketball season is nearly here.

The Associated Press’ preseason Top 25 poll was released on Monday, three weeks before the college season officially kicks off on Nov. 7. While a lot can, and will, change between now and then, we officially have a starting point for the season. College basketball is (almost) back.

Here’s a look at the AP Preseason Top 25:

North Carolina ranked No. 1 after title game run

North Carolina has been a favorite for this season since they fell to Kansas in the national title game following the Tar Heels' impressive, and improbable, run in the NCAA tournament.

It’s easy to see why.

North Carolina returns Armando Bacot, R.J. Davis, Leaky Black and Caleb Love this year — which makes it, on paper, perhaps the best and most experienced group in all of college basketball.

Voters thought so, too. The Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll this week and earned 47 of a possible 62 first-place votes. Gonzaga, which has been the top preseason team in the past two years, is No. 2.

This is the 10th time in program history that the Tar Heels have been the top-ranked team in the preseason. Only once, in the 1981-82 season, did one of those teams go on to win the national title.

North Carolina will open its season on Nov. 7 against UNC-Wilmington. The Tar Heels will take on Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan before kicking off ACC play at the end of December.

Expectations are, naturally, extremely high. But for now, Love and the others are embracing it.

“It’s national championship or bust. For real, that’s what we all came back for,” Love said at ACC media day, via ESPN. “They can’t take that away from us once we do that … We’re already locked in, but that will be another thing for us.”

Coach Hubert Davis and North Carolina are ranked No. 1 in the AP Preseason Top 25.
Coach Hubert Davis and North Carolina are ranked No. 1 in the AP Preseason Top 25. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Full AP Preseason Top 25:

25. Texas Tech

24. Dayton

23. Illinois

22. Michigan

21. Oregon

20. Alabama

19. San Diego State

18. Virginia

17. Arizona

16. Villanova

15. Auburn

14. TCU

13. Indiana

12. Texas

11. Tennessee

10. Arkansas

9. Creighton

8. UCLA

7. Duke

T5. Kansas

T5. Baylor

4. Kentucky

3. Houston

2. Gonzaga

1. North Carolina

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M (112), UConn (101), Miami (66), Purdue (56), Saint Louis (36), Michigan State (35), Florida State (32), Xavier (29), Wyoming (25), Ohio State (23), Iowa (13), Rutgers (4), USC (3), Florida (3), Toledo (1), UAB (1), Memphis (1), Virginia Tech (1), Notre Dame (1)