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Arizona earns preseason nod

Arizona, with the top eight players returning from the school's first national title team, was the No. 1 team Thursday in the Associated Press' preseason college basketball poll.

The Wildcats received 30 first-place votes and 1,708 points from the 71-member national media panel to edge Kansas, which received one fewer No. 1 votes and 1,684 points.

"My feeling about preseason polls is they're the best guess people can make," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "Really, that's where it is right now."

The No. 1 ranking is the first for Arizona since 1988-89 when the Wildcats held it for four weeks, including the final three polls of the season.

Olson told the team not be concerned with the rankings.

"I said don't worry whether someone has got you first or fifth or eighth or second," he said, "just be involved with what your own team expectations are."

Arizona is the first defending champion to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason since Arkansas in 1994-95.

Three Atlantic Coast Conference teams rounded out the Top 5: Duke, North Carolina and Clemson.

The Southeastern Conference had the most teams in the poll: South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi. The Pac-10, Big 12, ACC, Big Ten, Atlantic 10 and Western Athletic Conference had three each.

No. 9 Purdue is the highest-ranked team that wasn't in last season's final poll. No. 12 Connecticut is the highest-ranked team not invited to last year's NCAA Tournament.

Minnesota is the only member of last season's Final Four not ranked. The others, Arizona, North Carolina and Kentucky, are in the Top 8.

In addition to Minnesota, four other schools ranked in all 18 polls last season are not in the preseason Top 25 _ Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Villanova and Iowa State.

Cincinnati was last year's preseason No. 1 and the Bearcats held the spot for the first two polls of the regular season before Kansas took over and kept it through the final poll. If the Jayhawks can find a way to move up one place, it will be the sixth consecutive season they have held the No. 1 ranking.

PITTSBURGH: Rashon Burno, a 5-9 point guard recruit who was not eligible this season, told coach Ralph Willard he intends to talk to other schools. Boston College is among those on his list.

Burno is enrolled in Winchedon Prep School in New Hampshire.

Chris Seabrooks, a 6-9 forward, apparently will re-sign with the Panthers despite not qualifying academically this season. He also is attending Winchedon.