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UNC, Duke will enter the season ranked in the top 10 of the AP basketball poll

The ACC men's basketball tournament returns to Charlotte in 2019.
The ACC men's basketball tournament returns to Charlotte in 2019. rwillett@newsobserver.com

North Carolina will enter the 2018-19 season ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll for the fifth consecutive year.

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 8, according to the AP Top 25 Poll, which was released Monday afternoon.

Last season, UNC came into the season ranked No. 9 and lost in the NCAA tournament’s Round of 32 to Texas A&M as a No. 2 seed.

The Tar Heels lost two key players from last year’s team in Joel Bery and Theo Pinson. But they return three senior starters — Kenny Williams, Cam Johnson and Luke Maye. The Tar Heels also add three freshmen who were Top 100 prospects in the Class of 2018. Two of those players — Nassir Little and Coby White — were McDonald’s All-Americans.

Seven ACC teams were ranked in the poll. Duke was ranked No. 4, Virginia No. 5, Virginia Tech No. 15, Syracuse No. 16, Florida State No. 17, and Clemson No. 22.

The last time UNC won a national championship in 2017, it was ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll.

Alexander, 919-829-4822; @jonmalexander

The senior duo perform with the UNC Dance Team during the annual Late Night With Roy on Friday, October 12, 2018 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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