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Tar Heels close-to-unanimous No. 1

Updated: October 20, 2011, 1:43 PM ET
ESPN.com

North Carolina was one first-place vote away from being a unanimous preseason No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

The Tar Heels, the heavy favorite to win the 2012 national championship, received 30 of the coaches' 31 first-place votes and outranked No. 2 Kentucky by 53 points (774 to 721) in the poll, which was released Thursday.

North Carolina returns a core of top players, including sophomore forward Harrison Barnes. He and three of his teammates -- John Henson, Kendall ...

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