Basketball: Bears No. 24 in AP preseason poll

Lost in the swirl of attention given Friday to coach Mike Montgomery’s announcement that he faced bladder cancer was the unveiling of the Associated Press’ preseason top-25 poll. The Bears checked in at No. 24.

Arizona and UCLA are ranked No. 16 and 17, respectively.

A few other things you might want to check out:

— Columnist Monte Poole says Montgomery gave us a rare glimpse of the man behind the coach.

USC coach Kevin O’Neill said sophomore guard Maurice Jones is so ctitical to his team that if he were to get hurt, fans should not even bother coming to the games.

— One day after Arizona lost 69-68 to Division II Seattle Pacific — the Cats’ first defeat in an exhibition game in 27 years — coach Sean Miller worked to temper expectations. “There’s no way in the world’s we’re the third-best team in the Pac-12,” he said.

— Percy Allen of the Seattle Times writes about Montgomery’s duel with cancer, but also provides a team-by-team update on the Pac-12.

— More team-by-team notes, courtesy of Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.

 — Five-star recruit Muhammad Shabazz of Las Vegas will be among the spectators today at the Stanford-USC game at the L.A. Coliseum. Shabazz, regarded as one of the nation’s elite prospects, is taking his official visit to USC.

UCLA will be on the road every night as it tries to live up to its billing as the Pac-12 favorite.

Jeff Faraudo