1. Duke (35-5, 13-3)
The defending national champion returns the most outstanding player of the Final Four, senior Kyle Singler. Not only did he receive an unanimous vote as the conference’s preseason player of the year, but he also became the only repeat selection for the Associated Press’ Preseason Men’s Basketball All-American team.
2. Virginia Tech (25-9, 10-6)
For the first time since 1995, the Hokies are ranked in the top-25 preseason poll. Senior Malcolm Delaney received the second-most votes on the Preseason All-Conference team. He averaged 20.2 points per game.
3. North Carolina (20-17, 5-11)
Harrison Barnes became the first freshman to be named to the Preseason All-American list since voting began in 1986. He was also voted the ACC’s preseason freshman of the year. Last season, the Tar Heels failed to make the NCAA Tournament, but reached the NIT Final. Two starters return who combined for 18.3 points.
4. N.C. State (20-16, 5-11)
Three starters return, including preseason all-conference team pick Tracy Smith. He led the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game. Last season, the Wolfpack finished ninth in the conference. N.C. State’s recruiting class was ranked fifth.
5. Florida State (22-10, 10-6)
One of the tallest teams in college basketball returns three starters. The departures of Solomon Alabi (7-1) and Ryan Reid (6-8) will be tough, but the Seminoles still have sophomore Chris Singleton. He made the Preseason All-Conference team and was last year’s ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
6. Maryland (24-9, 13-3)
Six players return and another six are new to the program for legendary coach Gary Williams. Jordan Williams earned All-ACC Freshman honors last year and he made the preseason list for the John Wooden Award. The Terps fell to Michigan State on a buzzer beater in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
7. Clemson (21-11, 9-7)
Brad Brownell enters his first season as head coach of the Tigers, who lost just two lettermen, both starters. Trevor Booker led the team with 15.2 points per game as Clemson fell to Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
9. Georgia Tech (23-13, 7-9)
Despite finishing seventh in the conference last year, the Yellow Jackets reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The biggest loss is Derrick Favors, the ACC Rookie of the Year and top scorer and rebounder in the conference, who elected to enter the NBA Draft.
10. Boston College (15-16, 6-10)
Nine of 12 members of last season’s squad return, including four starters. Senior Joe Trapani led the team with 14.1 points per game. Steve Donahue enters his first season as head coach of the Eagles.
11. Virginia (15-16, 5-11)
Three starters and three key reserves return for first-year head coach Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers. Last season’s win total was a 50 percent improvement from 2008. Junior Sammy Zeglinski will miss the early part of the season with a knee injury.
12. Wake Forest (20-11, 9-7)
First-year head coach Jeff Bzedelik inherits a team returning just one starter, All-ACC Freshman team selection C.J. Harris. The Demon Deacons have made the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons.