When the Pittsburgh Panthers open their season on Nov. 11 against the Albany Great Danes, they'll do so as the No. 10 team in the country. The Associated Press' preseason Top 25 poll, released Friday, has Pittsburgh rounding out the top 10. That's a step back from where it opened last season (No. 5), but impressive nonetheless.
The defending national champion Connecticut Huskies (No. 4), Syracuse Orange (No. 5), Louisville Cardinals (No. 9), Cincinnati Bearcats (No. 21), and Marquette Golden Eagles (No. 22) join Pittsburgh in representing the Big East. No conference had greater representation in this poll than the Big East.
Leading scorer Ashton Gibbs returns for his senior season, but the Panthers lost senior swingmen Brad Wanamaker and Gilbert Brown, the only two other Panthers to average double-digit points last season.
The North Carolina Tar Heels rank No. 1 in the country, receiving 62 of a possible 65 first-place votes. The Kentucky Wildcats rank No. 2, followed by the Ohio St. Buckeyes at No. 3, Connecticut, and Syracuse.
The Duke Blue Devils, Vanderbilt Commodores, Florida Gators, Louisville, and Pittsburgh round out the top 10.
The West Virginia Mountaineers received four voting points, not nearly enough to place it in the top 25; the Missouri Tigers, bringing up the rear in these rankings, received 139 voting points.
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