The NCAA's top basketball coaches voted Vanderbilt as the 20th best team in the nation heading into 2016. The Associated Press did them two better.
The AP ranked the Commodores 18th in their first poll of the season, placing them second in the Southeastern Conference behind #2 Kentucky. LSU is the only other conference opponent to make the rankings. The Tigers placed 21st in the preseason panel. Texas A&M, the only other SEC program to garner media votes, was slotted in at a de facto 29th. The Wildcats and Aggies are two of the five teams that Vanderbilt will have to play twice this season; the other three are Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn.
Two of the 'Dores non-conference opponents were included in the AP's rankings. Vandy will travel to both #22 Baylor and #23 Purdue this winter. #15 Indiana, #4 Kansas, and (#47) UCLA are potential neutral site opponents after the first round of the Maui Invitational.
While the poll wasn't overly bullish on the SEC's prospects, the press loved the Atlantic Coast Conference's chances to bring back-to-back national titles to their trophy case. Three ACC teams - and one former ACC team (Maryland) occupied the top six spots in the rankings. The SEC had as many top 25 programs (three) as major conferences like the Pacific-12, but fewer than the ACC (four), Big Ten (six), and Big 12 (four).
2015-16 AP Preseason Poll
|1||North Carolina Tar Heels (35)||1566|
|2||Kentucky Wildcats (10)||1520|
|3||Maryland Terrapins (14)||1487|
|4||Kansas Jayhawks (5)||1410|
|5||Duke Blue Devils||1350|
|6||Virginia Cavaliers (1)||1347|
|7||Iowa State Cyclones||1185|
|10||Wichita State Shockers||1032|
|13||Michigan State Spartans||838|
|14||California Golden Bears||757|
|19||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||360|
|Others Receiving Votes: Oregon (0-0) 116; SMU (0-0) 112; West Virginia (0-0) 84; Texas A&M (0-0) 72; Cincinnati (0-0) 63; Miami (Fla.) (0-0) 48; Louisville (0-0) 46; Georgetown (0-0) 23; NC State (0-0) 19; Florida State (0-0) 18; Texas (0-0) 18; Rhode Island (0-0) 17; Dayton (0-0) 12; Xavier (0-0) 12; Providence (0-0) 10; Iowa (0-0) 6; Brigham Young (0-0) 5; Valparaiso (0-0) 5; Boise State (0-0) 4; Old Dominion (0-0) 3; Oklahoma State (0-0) 2; UCLA (0-0) 2; San Diego State (0-0) 2; Central Michigan (0-0) 1; UC Irvine (0-0) 1; Iona (0-0) 1; Yale (0-0) 1|