Duke Basketball: Blue Devils named preseason favorite to win ACC

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

For the third year in a row and 19th time overall, the media has picked the Duke basketball team as the favorite to finish first in the conference.

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has become accustomed to his teams starting the season as the media’s preseason choice to win the ACC’s regular-season crown.

After all, it has now happened 18 times under his watch.

What that means, of course, is that the 39th-year coach may have to direct his team, ranked No. 4 nationally in the preseason AP Top 25, to an undefeated conference record in order to have any chance to come away with the honor of ACC Coach of the Year for the first time since the 1999-00 season (he has won that award just five times overall, in part due to the fact that his teams are so often expected to be the league’s best).

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That being said, the Blue Devils, who lost their top five scorers from a squad that finished 29-8 overall and second to Virginia in conference play with a 13-5 mark a season ago, were nowhere near the unanimous choice to finish first among the league’s 15 teams.

Of the 121 media members who voted at the ACC’s annual Operation Basketball event in Charlotte on Wednesday, only 52 had Duke atop their ballot. In a close second place, Virginia received 47 first-place votes.

Others who received first-place votes included UNC (20), Syracuse (1), and Clemson (1).

In terms of total points, Duke edged Virginia by only 10 (1709 to 1699). After the Blue Devils and Cavaliers, the remaining predicted order of finish is as follows: UNC, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Miami, Louisville, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Pitt.

Duke wraps up its exhibition play on Saturday when it hosts Ferris State, the reigning Division II champs, at 4 p.m. EST. And on Nov. 6, the Blue Devils will face the Kentucky Wildcats in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis to tip off the regular season.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham all season long for updates, analysis, and opinions about the Blue Devils.