Deacons lead early top 50

Rashad McCants pondered the question of who he would tab as the No. 1 team: North Carolina or Wake Forest?

The rising North Carolina junior guard didn't hesitate.

"I pick Duke, because I know everyone else will,'' McCants said while practicing with the World Championship for Young Men's USA Basketball team in New Jersey last weekend.

"They always pick Duke.''

Well, we can assure McCants that Duke won't be the choice of ESPN.com or likely any other media outlet.

But choosing a No. 1 is going to be harder, whether it's in July for ESPN.com's Sizzling Summer Top 50, or in the preseason.

The beauty of the 2004-05 season is that there is no consensus favorite. Arguments can be made for Wake Forest, North Carolina, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Connecticut, Oklahoma State or even Arizona.

"But if I had to pick, we've got a good chance to be No. 2 behind Wake Forest,'' McCants said.

We agree, for now.

Let the summer debate rage:

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.