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Rank School Pts. Final '03 Comment
Connecticut 762 Rec:
11 Get used to seeing Connecticut at No. 1 -- at least in the preseason. The women are next. Question remains: Will Storrs celebrate twice as hard in 2004?
Duke 697 Rec:
9 Is Luol Deng this year's Carmelo? He may not have to be to get Blue Devils back on top in April. The Dukies are stocked with blue-chippers.
Michigan St. 677 Rec:
18 Two years without a Final Four appearances is officially a drought under Izzo. Chris Hill and these Spartan shooters should see San Antonio.
Arizona 638 Rec:
5 'Cats one of the few programs that can lose the likes of Walton, Gardner and Anderson and still start next season in the top five.
Kansas 589 Rec:
2 Will there be a third time for a charm? Window remains open, but closed a bit behind those who left Lawrence.
Missouri 560 Rec:
22 Trouble, a national title, or both? Mizzou will win plenty of games on the court, but could lose so much more off it.
Syracuse 533 Rec:
1 Carmelo may ultimately mean more than six spots in the polls. But it's nice to see the coaches give those Orangemen still around the respect they deserve.
Florida 507 Rec:
16 Once again, Donovan has talent in place to return to Final Four. But, first things first, like getting out of the first round?
Kentucky 498 Rec:
4 Bold prediction No. 1: 'Cats will lose a SEC regular season game. Bold prediction No. 2: 'Cats will reach Final Four.
North Carolina 493 Rec:
NR Talk about instant credibility. Is this ranking more about Roy or his boys? Either way, the Tar Heels have the top talent and coach in place.
Texas 461 Rec:
3 Word around ESPN.com office is Austin is a "basketball town, with a football problem." Sorry, it was just too easy.
Gonzaga 403 Rec:
NR As you can tell from this ranking, expectations and Zags' talent level have never been higher in Spokane.
Illinois 399 Rec:
T-13 Illini won't miss Self or Villanueva nearly as much if Dee and Deron follow up freshman seasons as expected under Weber.
Wisconsin 392 Rec:
T-13 Bo knows basketball. Two-time Big Ten coach of the year has a group of Badgers who could make it three straight Big Ten titles.
Oklahoma 353 Rec:
7 Without last year's backcourt, nobody's talking Final Four this preseason. But Sooners shouldn't be overlooked.
Louisville 291 Rec:
19 Pitino's players starting to emerge. Expect Cardinals to still make Gaines without Reece around.
Stanford 258 Rec:
20 Injuries once again will dictate Cardinal's final role in Pac-10. If Hernandez stays healthy, Stanford could survive deep into March.
St. Joseph's 244 Rec:
NR No single player means more to a team on this list than Jameer Nelson. Yes, he makes the Hawks this good.
Cincinnati 225 Rec:
NR From JUCO All-American to Cincy to the NBA ... that's the road Robert Whaley (6-10, 260) is currently on.
Notre Dame 225 Rec:
15 Keeping Chris Thomas in South Bend for another season means another trip to the NCAAs.
Wake Forest 216 Rec:
12 Overlook the Demon Deacons no longer. ACC defending regular season champs remain a threat without Howard.
Pittsburgh 148 Rec:
8 Plenty has changed, but Jamie Dixon knows toughness must remain a Panthers' trait without Howland, Knight, Zavackas or Lett around.
Marquette 78 Rec:
6 Wouldn't be a surprise to see the Golden Eagles in the top 10 by season's end. Wade, or no Wade.
Oklahoma St. 61 Rec:
24 The fifth-best team in their conference is still good enough to be in the top 25. Looks like same old tough Big 12.
Maryland 46 Rec:
10 Last of the 2002 champions are gone. Five freshmen and three sophomores means plenty of room for growth ... and growing pains.
Others receiving votes (2002-03 record): Oregon (23-10) 33; North Carolina State (18-13) 30; Xavier (26-6) 30; Utah (25-8) 29; Colorado (20-12) 25; Auburn (22-12) 23; Brigham Young (23-9) 20; California (22-9) 19; Purdue (19-11) 16; Texas Tech (22-13) 12; Arizona State (20-12) 10; Memphis (23-7) 10; Ohio State (17-15) 10; Dayton (25-6) 8; Charlotte (13-16) 6; Providence (18-14) 5; Creighton (29-5) 4; LSU (21-11) 4; Akron (14-14) 3; Colorado State (19-14) 3; Louisiana-Lafayette (20-10) 3; Seton Hall (17-13) 3; Bowling Green (13-16) 2; Temple (18-16) 2; Tennessee (17-12) 2; Utah State (24-9) 2; Wichita State (18-12) 2; Illinois-Chicago (21-9) 1; Indiana (21-13) 1; Manhattan (23-7) 1; Minnesota (19-14) 1; UNLV (21-11) 1.
The USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches is made up of 31 head coaches at Division I-A institutions. All are members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The members of this season's board: Dana Altman, Creighton; Tevester Anderson, Jackson State; Eddie Biedenbach, North Carolina-Asheville; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Barry Collier, Nebraska; Joe Cravens, Weber State; Dick Davey, Santa Clara; Mike Dement, Southern Methodist; Fran Dunphy, Pennsylvania; Jessie Evans, Louisiana-Lafayette; Rob Evans, Arizona State; Steve Fisher, San Diego State; Pat Flannery, Bucknell; Tom Green, Fairleigh Dickinson; David Henderson, Delaware, Dan Hipsher, Akron; Bob Huggins, Cincinnati; Gene Keady, Purdue; Eddie McCarter, Texas-Arlington; Bob McKillop, Davidson; Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph's; Joe Mihalich, Niagara; Ronald "Fang" Mitchell, Coppin State; Dave Odom, South Carolina; Rick Samuels, Eastern Illinois; Kirk Speraw, Central Florida; Bob Thomason, Pacific; Perry Watson, Detroit Mercy; Gary Williams, Maryland; Dennis Wolff, Boston University; Rich Zvosec, Missouri-Kansas City.
NABC policy bars schools on major NCAA or conference probation from receiving votes. Because Baylor is banned from posteason play, it is ineligible to receive votes this season. The first regular-season poll will be out Nov. 24.