WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita State is No. 8 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, released Thursday. It’s the program’s highest preseason ranking in 36 years.
With all five starters and their top-eight scorers back, the Shockers (31-5 last year) are a trendy choice heading into their inaugural year in the American Athletic Conference.
WSU tallied 543 poll points – 28 more than defending national champion North Carolina. Spots 1-7 went to Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Villanova and Florida. New American rival Cincinnati checked in at No. 13.
This is the fifth time in school history that a WSU team has opened in the top-10 in one of the two major polls. Led by seniors Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, the 2015-16 Shockers opened at No. 10 in the AP and No. 12 in the Coaches version.
WSU’s last preseason top-10 appearance in a Coaches Poll came prior to the 1981-82 season. That team – headlined by the junior tandem of Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston and fresh of an Elite Eight appearance – checked in at No. 6 in the AP and No. 7 in the Coaches.
This year’s preseason AP Poll is due out in early November.