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Duke predicted to finish first in ACC men’s basketball. Here’s where UNC, NC State and Wake Forest are expected to land.
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Duke predicted to finish first in ACC men’s basketball. Here’s where UNC, NC State and Wake Forest are expected to land.

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Duke Banchero Basketball

Duke freshman Paolo Banchero is part of the nation's fifth-ranked recruiting class.

The Duke men's basketball team, which is ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press preseason poll, is the favorite to finish first in the ACC regular-season standings.

The league conducted voting among 81 journalists who attended last week's ACC Tipoff media day in Charlotte.

Duke freshman Paolo Banchero is predicted to earn ACC player of the year. Banchero, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound power forward, is one of three five-star signees, ranked by, joining 6-7 A.J. Griffin and 6-5 Trevor Keels and four-star player Jaylen Blakes, a 6-2 point guard, in a freshman class rated fifth-best nationally. Duke also picked up transfers Bates Jones and Theo John, both of whom are 6-8.

Duke, going into the final season of Mike Krzyzewski's 47-year coaching career, has not finished first in the ACC standings since the 2009-10 season, although journalists have picked Duke to finish first in seven of the last nine seasons. Duke won its fifth NCAA Tournament championship in that 2009-10 season and another in 2014-15, to go with three ACC Tournament titles during that time.

Voters' predictions are for the order of finish, not for the tournament title, which the ACC recognizes as its championship and which determines the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Duke went 9-9 in the ACC and 13-11 overall last season, missing the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina, under new coach Hubert Davis, is predicted to finish third, with N.C. State ninth and Wake Forest 13th.

Virginia, as predicted by journalists, finished first in the 2020-21 regular season, and Georgia Tech won the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum. 

Predicted order of finish

First-place votes in parenthesis; with total points

1. Duke (47), 1,132

2. Florida State (14), 1,034

3. North Carolina (5), 1,001

4. Virginia (9), 949

5. Virginia Tech (5), 857

6. Louisville (1), 791

7. Syracuse, 781

8. Notre Dame, 599

9. N.C. State, 555

10. Georgia Tech, 524

11. Clemson, 430

12. Miami, 428

13. Wake Forest, 274

14. Pitt, 253

15. Boston College, 112


First team

Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse, 68 votes

Keve Aluma, Virginia Tech, 52

Paolo Banchero, Duke, 49

Armando Bacot, North Carolina, 46

Isaiah Wong, Miami, 37

Second team

Michael Devoe, Georgia Tech, 25

Kihei Clark, Virginia, 23

Prentiss Hubb, Notre Dame, 17

Mark Williams, Duke, 12

Wendell Moore, Duke, 9

Caleb Love, North Carolina, 9

Malik Williams, Louisville, 9

Player of the year

Paolo Banchero, Duke, 28

Keve Aluma, Virginia Tech, 16

Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse, 13

Armando Bacot, North Carolina, 12

Kihei Clark, Virginia, 5

Wendell Moore, Duke, 3

Caleb Love, North Carolina, 2

Mark Williams, Duke, 2

Freshman of the year

Paolo Banchero, Duke, 64

Trevor Keels, Duke, 5

Terquavion Smith, N.C. State, 3

Dontrez Styles, North Carolina, 3

Igor Milicic, Virginia, 3

Wooga Poplar, Miami, 1

Benny Williams, Syracuse, 1

Cameron Hildreth, Wake Forest, 1


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