The college basketball season is less than two months away and that only means one thing: preseason top-25 rankings! While these rankings do not have too much affect on a team in the long-run, it is always fun to see where the experts have your favorite squad (and their hated rivals) are picked for the beginning of the year.
The Sporting News was the first publication to release their rankings. Here they are, with Pac-12 teams highlighted in bold:
1. North Carolina
3. Ohio State
No real surprises in the top-five to being the season. The Tar Heels are the favorites to win the title in 2011-2012 and you would be hard-pressed to find someone ranking them anywhere other than No. 1. UCONN loses Kemba Walker, but the late addition of Andre Drummond bumps them up significantly. Duke loses a lot of talent and experience from last year's squad, but top-freshman Austin Rivers should have the Blue Devils near the top.
Arizona and UCLA both enter the rankings in the top-15. This is pretty significant, seeing as only one Pac-10/12 team entered the season ranked. Both teams will battle for the conference and could make a deep run in March. Another team to keep an eye on is Florida, seeing as the Wildcats will play the Gators on the road in December.
Two more Pac-12 teams join the top-25 here in the Cal Bears and Washington Huskies. Both teams should be deep with talent and I feel both are a little underrated here. Gonzaga is also a team that UA will play this season, which will be a "neutral site" battle in Seattle on December 17.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Arizona for complete coverage of the college rankings throughout the season. "Like" us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with any news and follow us on Twitter.