Most experts’ preseason pick to win it all, the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels certainly have a lot going for them. With sophomore Harrison Barnes deciding not to declare for the NBA draft, the ACC Rookie of the Year will headline a team loaded with talent.
Despite having to adjust to a lot of newcomers, Duke is expected to make another run in the division. They will rely on the play of No. 1 recruit Austin Rivers, along with freshman Quinn Cook to embark on another championship run.
The Yellow Jackets are expected to go through a transition year as they become accustomed to the style that new head coach Brian Gregory is preaching. The loss of Iman Shumpert, last season’s leading scorer and rebounder, won’t help Tech’s cause.
Last season, the Cavaliers finished seventh in the ACC after being projected to finish last. Mike Scott returns to the team after recovering from a broken ankle, and with three other starters returning, Virginia could make a run to the top of the conference.
The Hokies are dealing with a slew of offseason injuries as the season approaches. Senior J.T. Thompson and freshman Marquis Rankin both underwent knee surgeries. Still, this is a team that is always on the NCAA bubble until the end.
A year after finishing third in the ACC and making the Sweet Sixteen, this strong, defensive-minded team has the ability to hold back high-scoring teams. Though they will clearly miss Chris Singleton, head coach Leonard Hamilton believes his team can make a splash.
The Terrapins will be looking for help at forward early on after Jordan Williams decided to go pro. Guard Pe’Shon Howard and center Alex Len both will be out during the early part of the schedule. Maryland will have to overachieve in order to stay competitive.
The Eagles may struggle at the start, as they will have to figure out a brand new starting lineup after all five of last years starters have moved on. Though they finished fourth last season, it remains to be seen just how competitive they can be in this tough conference.
The Wolfpack have much to be excited about with the arrival of new head coach Mark Gottfried, who has seven NCAA tournament appearances in his career. The team will have to adjust, but watch out for sophomore C.J. Leslie, who could have a breakout year.
Finishing last in the ACC with only eight wins last season, head coach Jeff Bzdelik will have his work cut out for him to get his team out of the ACC gutter. The roster does have talent; look for freshman Chase Fischer to carry the team offensively.
A 22-win season and an NCAA appearance last season has the Tigers excited for what can be accomplished under second-year head coach Brad Brownell. Though their top two scorers from last year are no longer with the team, the Tigers still have some depth in the frontcourt.