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Heading into last season, the ACC was supposed to be North Carolina’s conference to lose. Well, lose it the Tar Heels did. North Carolina completely fell off last season, going from national champions to a No. 10 seed in the ACC Tournament. In its place came Duke and Maryland, who split first-place at 13-3. Maryland’s victory over Duke in the next-to-last game of the season forged a tie. Florida State and Virginia Tech went 10-6, while Clemson and Wake Forest were tied for fifth at 9-7. The conference ended up getting six bids to the NCAA Tournament and three to the NIT, with Duke winning the national championship and Maryland, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech getting to the second round. Clemson and Florida State were bounced in the first round. UNC ended up making a run to the NIT finals. This season, Duke is the clear-cut favorite but there are several teams that will fight for bids.
- 1. Duke: I’m not sure anyone in the league is even close to touching the Blue Devils in the conference race. Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler might be three of the four best players in the conference.
- 2. North Carolina: Harrison Barnes is going to have to be as good as advertised for the Tar Heels. John Henson and Tyler Zeller are talented up front, but someone needs to show more consistency at the point.
- 3. Virginia Tech: The healthy and injury problems that hit the Hokies in recent weeks could be a problem. As it stands, Malcolm Delaney, Dorenzo Hudson and Jeff Allen form a tremendously productive trio.
- 4. North Carolina State: The Wolfpack have some of the most talent in the league due to the influx of stud recruits, namely C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown and Ryan Harrow. Tracy Smith is the main man up front.
- 5. Florida State: Offense is going to be the key this season for the Seminoles. Freshman Ian Miller could step in immediately and run the point, while Chris Singleton is primed to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.
- 6. Maryland: Replacing Greivis Vasquez is not going to be an easy task, but the Terrapins do have talent on the roster. Jordan Williams and Sean Mosley are ready to take a step forward, and they have point guard options.
- 7. Miami (Fl.): The Hurricanes could be a surprise team in the conference, if Durand Scott continues his ascent to all-conference status. Big man Reggie Johnson is poised for a breakout season if he stays in shape.
- 8. Clemson: It will be interesting to see if the Tigers’ personnel – suited for an Oliver Purnell system – can adapt to new coach Brad Brownell. Demontez Stitt is the main returnee, but other players need to step up.
- 9. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets will be a perimeter-oriented team, led by Iman Shumpert and sophomores Glen Rice and Brian Oliver. They will create match-up problems, but the options up front are barren.
- 10. Boston College: The Eagles have a great starting five, but their depth is lacking. Reggie Jackson and Joe Trapani are all-conference candidates, and Corey Raji is a solid player at both ends of the floor.
- 11. Virginia: Tony Bennett finally has his type of players on the roster, but there simply isn’t a ton of returning talent. The loss of Sylven Landesberg leaves Mike Scott as the team’s best scorer and rebounder.
- 12. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons will rely heavily on their freshmen to replace Al-Farouq Aminu, Ish Smith and co. Carson Desrosiers and Travis McKie will be keys up front and J.T. Terrell can score.
Player of the Year: Kyle Singler, F, Duke
Newcomer of the Year: Harrison Barnes, F, North Carolina
- G- Kyrie Irving, Duke
- G- Nolan Smith, Duke
- G- Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
- F- Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
- F- Kyle Singler, Duke
- G- Reggie Jackson, Boston College
- F- Chris Singleton, Florida State
- F- Tracy Smith, North Carolina State
- F/C- Jordan Williams, Maryland
- F/C- Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
- G- Durand Scott, Miami (Fl.)
- G- Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech
- G- Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State
- F- Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech
- F- John Henson, North Carolina
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