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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: COLLEGE: Kansas tops coaches' poll

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posted on Oct, 29 2004 @ 04:09 PM
With three of its top four scorers returning for their senior seasons, Kansas figures to be in the mix for the NCAA championship. So do a handful of other teams.

By a very slim margin, the Jayhawks are atop the ESPN/USA Today preseason coaches' poll released Thursday night. Eight teams received first-place votes.

With bruising forward Wayne Simien, versatile Keith Langford and speedy point guard Aaron Miles all back, Kansas (24-9 last season) received eight of a possible 30 first-place votes and 741 points in a ballot of Division I coaches.

Despite collecting four more first-place votes than Kansas, Wake Forest (21-10) is second with 724 points. The Demon Deacons lead an Atlantic Coast Conference contingent of three teams ranked in the top four.

A young team on the rise behind second-year coach Roy Williams, North Carolina (19-11) received six first-place votes and 697 points.

After its surprising run to the 2004 NCAA title game, Georgia Tech (28-10) received one first place-vote and 604 points.

Illinois (26-7) is fifth with one first-place vote and 598 points. Syracuse (23-8) is sixth with 557 points.

Defending champion Connecticut (33-6) slipped to seventh with 541 points after the departure of NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player Emeka Okafor and guard Ben Gordon.

Fresh off a Final Four appearance, Oklahoma State (31-4) is eighth with a first-place vote and 511 points. Kentucky (27-5) is ninth with 480 points, four more than Michigan State (18-12).

Beginning the second 10, Arizona (20-10) received one first-place vote and 475 points. Duke (31-6), which lost to UConn in the Final Four, is 12th with 403 points and Louisville (20-10) got the final first-place vote and is 13th with 374 points.

Mississippi State (26-4) is 14th and Texas (25-8), Maryland (20-12), Pittsburgh (31-5), Alabama (20-13), North Carolina State (21-10) and Wisconsin (25-7) round out the top 20.

At No. 21 is Notre Dame (19-13), the fourth Big East Conference school in the rankings. Florida (20-11), Memphis (22-8), Washington (19-12) and Stanford (30-2) complete the poll.

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