The LSU basketball team has earned a spot in the USA Today coaches preseason poll that was released Thursday morning.

LSU, which finished 22-11 last season and earned a bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009, came in at 19th in the poll of 32 coaches nationwide.

Even though the Tigers lost All-Southeastern Conference forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey to the NBA draft, they return eight scholarship players and the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class that’s topped by McDonald’s All-Americans Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney.

LSU is one of only three SEC teams in the USA Today preseason rankings. Kentucky is tied for the top spot with North Carolina, while Vanderbilt came in right behind LSU at No. 20.

The Tigers will play an exhibition game against Southwest Baptist on Nov. 6 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and open the regular season on Nov. 13 against McNeese State, also in the Maravich Center.

USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll

(first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Kentucky (11), 749 points

1. North Carolina (12), 749

3. Maryland (5), 723

4. Duke (3), 686

5. Kansas (1), 675

6. Virginia, 667

7. Iowa State, 541

8. Oklahoma, 520

9. Villanova, 498

10. Arizona, 477

11. Gonzaga, 468

12. Wichita State, 461

13. Michigan State, 386

14. California, 350

15. Indiana, 312

16. Utah, 250

17. Wisconsin, 181

18. Notre Dame, 172

19. LSU, 163

20. Vanderbilt, 153

21. Baylor, 145

22. Butler, 132

23. West Virginia, 125

24. Purdue, 110

24. Connecticut, 110