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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Utah Utes guard Delon Wright (55) waves goodbye to Utah fans after the University of Utah is defeated by the fourth ranked University of Arizona 71-39 in the second round of the PAC 12 Men's basketball tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Las Vegas.

SALT LAKE CITY — They’re back. For the first time since being 13th in 2000-01, the Utah Utes open a men’s basketball season ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

Utah and Harvard share the No. 25 spot in this year’s preseason poll — putting the Utes in the AP rankings for the first time since 2009 when they finished 25th. Last week, they were picked second in the Pac-12 preseason media poll.

At conference media day, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said it was “an indication that we’re moving in the right direction.” However, he also added, “At the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a preseason poll” and the Utes “still have to bring it.”

Utah returns its top six scorers, including All-America candidate Delon Wright, from last season’s team that won 21 games and participated in the NIT.

The Utes host Pacific (Oregon) in an exhibition game on Thursday. They open non-conference play Nov. 14 at home against Ball State.

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