For the fifth consecutive season, Oregon basketball will open the year ranked in the AP Top 25.

The Ducks checked in at No. 21 in the preseason media poll, released Monday morning. UCLA was No. 8 in the poll, while Arizona rounded out the Pac-12 contingent at No. 17.

North Carolina earned 47 of a possible 62 first-place votes to land at No. 1 in the preseason poll for the 10th time in program history. Gonzaga was No. 2. Houston, Kentucky, Baylor, Kansas, Duke, Creighton, and Arkansas rounded out the rest of the preseason Top 10 (in that order).

Oregon retooled this offseason after a 20-win season last year that still felt like it left a lot on the table. Guards Jacob Young and De’Vion Harmon depart, but Will Richardson (14.1 points per game) returns to lead the charge.

The Ducks also bring back Quincy Guerrier (10.1 PPG) and N’Faly Dante (8.1 PPG) to go with a crop of newcomers that includes 5-star freshman center Kel’el Ware, junior college guards Tyrone Williams and Brennan Rigsby, and transfer guards Jermaine Couisnard (12 PPG at South Carolina) and Keeshawn Barthelemy (11.1 PPG at Colorado).

“We were a very inconsistent ball team last year,” coach Dana Altman said last week. “Part of that was our rebounding and our defense. Our defensive numbers weren’t good last year. Our rebounding numbers weren’t good last year. And on the nights we didn’t shoot it well, it really cost us. One of the consistencies we have had is we’ve usually been a little better rebounding team. We’ve usually been a little better defensively. So we need to establish that early.”

This is a veteran team. That’ll help.

The Ducks begin the season at home on Nov. 7 against Florida A&M at 7 p.m. PT.

The full preseason AP poll can be seen below (with first-place votes in parenthesis):

  1. North Carolina (47)
  2. Gonzaga (12)
  3. Houston (1)
  4. Kentucky (2)
  5. Baylor
  6. Kansas
  7. Duke
  8. UCLA
  9. Creighton
  10. Arkansas
  11. Tennessee
  12. Texas
  13. Indiana
  14. TCU
  15. Auburn
  16. Villanova
  17. Arizona
  18. Virginia
  19. San Diego State
  20. Alabama
  21. Oregon
  22. Michigan
  23. Illinois
  24. Dayton
  25. Texas Tech

Receiving votes: Texas A&M 112, UConn 101, Miami (FL) 66, Purdue 56, Saint Louis 36, Michigan State 35, Florida State 32, Xavier 29, Wyoming 25, Ohio State 23, Iowa 13, Rutgers 4, Florida 3, USC 3, Virginia Tech 1, Memphis 1, Toledo 1, Notre Dame 1, UAB 1