The first USA Today Coaches Poll is out for the upcoming NCAA basketball season, and the Syracuse Orange come in at no. 17.
Despite being unranked for large stretches of time, especially near the end of the regular season, Syracuse finished 10th last year following a surprise Final Four trip. The perceived drop to 17th here is no slight, however. There’s also little to this ranking, given the fact that preseason polls aren’t necessarily indicative or predictive of much.
Still, it’s nice to see the Orange carrying some expectations into the season once again. They were last ranked in a preseason poll in 2014-15, when they opened at 24th. This is SU’s highest preseason ranking since 2013-14, when they started out 7th.
Syracuse is far from the only ACC team in this initial poll. Duke opens with the no. 1 ranking (and 27 first-place votes), while Final Four foe North Carolina is sixth. Virginia is close behind in seventh and Louisville is 14th. Florida State is the first team on the outside looking in, while Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Pittsburgh also received votes.
There are additional familiar faces throughout the poll. ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent Wisconsin is 10th, vanquished Sweet 16 opponent Gonzaga is 13th and UConn is just 15 points ahead of Syracuse in 16th. Cal’s among the first three out, which sets them up well to get right back in this (/ducks).
Also notable: Jim Boeheim is a voter in this year’s poll.
Content with SU’s early ranking? Wanted to see it higher? Would rather we used the element surprise and came from outside of the polls? Share your thoughts below.