How reliable is the preseason AP Top 25?

Now we know for a fact that college basketball is almost here. The release of the AP preseason top 25 poll means arguments about who's overrated and who's overlooked can truly begin in earnest.

But just how seriously should we take these rankings, anyway? Coaches always say polls don't matter, of course, but is that true? How reliable is the preseason AP top 25?

I decided to take a look.

The first AP preseason top 25 was released in the fall of 1989. (Prior to that season, the AP ranked 20 teams.) This gives us nearly three decades of preseason polls and, most crucially, subsequent results to consider. Here's what you find when you sift through the entire population of 29 previous top 25s from 29 preseasons.