Coaches pick Indiana No. 1 in preseason college hoops poll
Bloomington, IN, United States (4E Sports) – Indiana grabbed the No. spot in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll, receiving 21 out of a possible 31 first-place votes and 761 overall points.
The Tom Crean-coached Hoosiers, who finished 27-9 and reached the Sweet 16 last season, will have four returning starters, including star center Cody Zeller. They will open their campaign against Nov. 9 against Bryant.
“I think it’d be crazy to try to shy away from it,” Crean told USA Today. “If we were, our kids would look at us and roll their eyes. We don’t talk about it much. We talk about living up to the standards that we need to live up to on a daily basis to have it that way at the end of the year.
It marked just the third time in recent history that Indiana has started the season as the top ranked team in the country.
The 1975-76 Hoosiers were ranked in the top spot prior to winning the national championship with a 32-0 record. The 1979-80 team was also ranked No. 1 in the preseason before clinching the 1981 national championship.
Last year, Indiana finished 13th in the coaches’ poll after being ranked as high as eighth during the season.
Louisville placed second with five first-place votes. The Cardinals also return several key players from last year’s squad, which reached the Final Four after winning the Big East tournament.
Louisville is ahead by 20 points over defending national champion Kentucky, which received the five other first-place votes for third place despite losing all five starters from last season.
Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan are fourth and fifth, respectively. North Carolina State is sixth, followed by Kansas and Duke. Syracuse and Florida rounded out the top 10.