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

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