With Duke (1) and Michigan State (2) topping the AP College Basketball Poll, the already insufferable alumni in the Phoenix Suns locker room are going to be over the top with school pride. The Suns have two of their three captains represented which is bound to make the trash talk flow loud and thick this college basketball season. We are talking of course, about Suns stars Grant Hill, a Duke Blue Devil who won two national championships (1991, 1992) and Jason Richardson, a Michigan State Spartan who won a national championship in 2000 and lead his team to the Final Four in 2001.
Missing from the Top 25 ranking are the Arizona Wildcats who are continuing their transition to the post-Lute Olson era and the Arizona State Sun Devils who have never exactly been a national powerhouse in men's basketball. Those two teams are, however, ranked high in a recent media poll of PAC-10 schools with Arizona second (behind Washington) and Arizona State ranked fourth.
According to a recent story in the Arizona Republic, the Sun Devils are getting a lot of credit for their head coach Herb Sendek who lead his team to a surprise second place PAC-10 finish last season. The Sun Devils have a tough schedule this year but coach Sendek is looking forward to the challenge.
"Our schedule has to be as competitive as most," Sendek told SB Nation Arizona at media day. "Right out of the gates, we're going to be tested by fire when we play at New Mexico ... and if you look at our schedule, there's not a breather in it. I think that's what our program really needs at this point, as we continue to try to move forward and advance."
For Arizona sports fans tired of hearing about (and losing to) Oregon and Oregon State in football can perhaps take some solace that those teams are ranked eighth and tenth in the PAC-10 preseason basketball poll. Washington is the highest ranked PAC-10 team in the AP College Poll, coming in at 18.
The full preseason AP Poll:
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Ohio State
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- San Diego State