Indiana No. 1 in preseason NCAA men's basketball poll

You can't teach height -- or at least that's the old adage about the invaluable place big men hold on the basketball court.

For the Indiana men's basketball team, it also helps that 7-foot, 240-pound sophomore Cody Zeller is athletic, aggressive and smart.

Zeller helped propel the Hoosiers to the top of the year's first USA Today-ESPN preseason poll. Indiana beat out the reigning champions - the Kentucky Wildcats, who start the preseason ranked third - by getting 21 out of 31 possible first-place votes. Indiana finished last season ranked 13th.

Rounding out the top 5 are Louisville in second place, Ohio State in fourth, and Michigan in fifth.

Men's college basketball teams often live and die by their stars, and all indications are that Zeller is in line for a huge year if he stays healthy. writes: "Offseason intel on Zeller indicates that he's been extending his offensive game, taking mid- and even long-range jumpers that should stretch defenses and keep him from being double-teamed too often on the low's worth acknowledging how good Zeller was even without the jump-shot option as a freshman.

The USA Today-ESPN preseason top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses:

1. Indiana (21)

2. Louisville (5)

3. Kentucky (5)

4. Ohio State

5. Michigan

6. N.C. State

7. Kansas

8. Duke

9. Syracuse

0. Florida

11. Arizona

12. North Carolina

13. UCLA

14. Michigan State

15. Creighton

16. Memphis

17. Missouri

18. Baylor

19. UNLV

20. San Diego State

21. Wisconsin

22. Gonzaga

23. Notre Dame

24. (tie)Florida State

24. (tie)Texas


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App