Men's Basketball Tabbed Preseason No. 1 in ESPN/<i>USA Today</i> Coaches Poll
Nov. 1, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's men's basketball team was selected as the nation's top-ranked team in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll released Thursday night.
With five starters and 10 letterwinners returning from last season's 24-10 ballclub that captured the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA West Regional semifinal, Arizona collected the preseason No. 1 ranking from the coaches with a total of 770 points. The Wildcats also received 27 of a possible 31 first place votes. Kansas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and Texas round out the top five places.
It is the third time in school history that the Wildcats have earned the coaches poll preseason No. 1 ranking. The 1997-98 and 2000-01 squads also opened the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. Both of those teams were ranked No. 1 in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Top 25. All told, Arizona has occupied the top spot in the coaches poll in 16 different polling periods since the 1987-88 campaign.
Arizona opens the 2002-03 campaign in Tucson against No. 23 Western Kentucky on Sat., Nov. 23. Five opponents on Arizona's 2002-03 schedule are ranked in this preseason top 25.
2002-03 Preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
Rnk Team (first place votes) Points1. ARIZONA (27) 7702. Kansas (3) 7403. Oklahoma (1) 6804. Pittsburgh 6135. Texas 5836. Duke 5747. Florida 5548. Alabama 4949. Oregon 47510. Michigan State 43911. Xavier 38612. UCLA 32213. Mississippi State 32114. Connecticut 31415. Maryland 28516. Georgia 26917. Kentucky 26218. Missouri 22119. Marquette 21520. Cincinnati 16821. Indiana 16722. Gonzaga 16323. Western Kentucky 15124. Minnesota 8625. Illinois 83