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Arizona snags another top-five preseason spot

Men's College Basketball, Arizona Wildcats

The Associated Press preseason Top 25 men's basketball poll was released Wednesday, and the Arizona Wildcats land the No. 3 spot. The Wildcats are joined by the Duke Blue Devils, Michigan State Spartans, Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats in the top five.

The preseason poll is not a prerequisite for a title, but a top-five team at the beginning is a leading indicator of March success. 

This is the seventh straight season that Arizona is ranked in the preseason poll. However, Sean Miller has not led Arizona to a Final Four in any of those seasons.

This is the ninth time in the past 30 seasons that Arizona is a preseason AP top-five team, most in the Pac-12 and sixth-most in the nation. Arizona has also been a top-five team 33 times over the past five seasons (since 2013-14), tied for third-most in the nation.

The Wildcats are loaded across the board, with star wings, solid big men and depth, but all eyes will be on Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The senior floor leader will play a huge role in how far the Wildcats go in the NCAA tournament.

The top five teams in the preseason AP poll are also the five favorites to win the national championship, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

It's a long road in college basketball, but it's a good bet that the teams at the top to start will be factors come March. 

-- Courtney Schellin

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