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Michigan hoops debuts at No. 19 in AP preseason top-25

After last year’s run to the national title game, a talented class and defensive stoppers look to compete in the Big Ten once more.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Loyola vs Michigan Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan basketball debuted at No. 19 in the preseason AP top-25 poll, announced Monday.

John Beilein’s Wolverines finished No. 7 in last year’s poll before surging to the National Championship against Villanova. The AP Poll concludes the week before the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan is one of four teams to currently rank in the top-25 in both football and basketball.

The Maize and Blue are tied with Northwestern at the No. 19 spot.

The 2018-19 team returns three starters in senior wing Charles Matthews, sophomore forward Isaiah Livers and junior guard Zavier Simpson. Last year’s No. 3 efficiency defense also returns 7-foot-1 Jon Teske at the five.

The incoming freshman class ranked No. 12 nationally per 247Sports, only trailing Maryland and Indiana for top recruiting marks in the conference. The class consists of four four-stars in Ignas Brazdeikis, Brandon Johns, David DeJulius and Colin Castleton.

Three-star gunner Adrian Nunez also figures to replicate Duncan Robinson’s three-point acumen.

Exhibition play opens against Northwood (Mich.) Nov. 2 at the Crisler Center at 7 p.m. (BTN Plus). The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off commences Nov. 6 against Norfolk State (8:30 p.m., BTN).

The first big challenge is a trip to defending national champion Villanova Nov. 14 for the Gavitt Tip-Off Games. The Wildcats topped the Wolverines 79-61 to finish as NCAA Champions last April.