Seven ACC teams voted into national preseason top 25

Adam Shefet, Sports Copy Editor

Every fall, the Associated Press (AP) ranks the top 25 men’s basketball teams in the country for the pre-season. The Associated Press is a collection of 65 sports writers and broadcasters from across the nation that collectively vote for the rankings that teams receive.

This year, seven Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams were voted into the top 25: Duke at 4th, Virginia at 5th, North Carolina at 8th, Virginia Tech at 15th, Syracuse at 16th, Florida St. at 17th and Clemson at 22nd.

The most notable of these teams are the Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Cavaliers and North Carolina Tar Heels. Over the offseason, Duke recruited the top three high school recruits in the country in RJ Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson. Last season, Duke reached the elite eight in the NCAA tournament before falling to the Kansas Jayhawks. They are coached by Mike Krzyzewski, known as Coach K, who has coached the team for 34 years. He is the most winning active coach in men’s NCAA Tournament play with a 76 percent winning rate.

The Virginia Cavaliers began the 2017-2018 season unranked but over the course of the season, worked their way to an ACC tournament championship. They became the number one seed in the NCAA tournament due to their defense, but suffered a loss in the first round to the sixteen seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County. After a mid-season breakout, sophomore De’Andre Hunter won ACC sixth man of the year and made the ACC all-freshman team. Adding Hunter to a dynamic guard duo of juniors, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, makes them strong contenders for the national title. The Cavaliers will be coached by the defensive-minded, Tony Bennett who began his head coaching tenure with the team 10 years ago.

“This (season) is about us running to the starting line and taking it absolutely as far as we can possibly go, and it’s about growing from last year’s unbelievable success and growing from last year’s very humbling loss, and using it to help us respond and be better,” said Bennett to CavalierInsider.

This season North Carolina looks to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament as they have in previous years. They lost two key seniors responsible for most of the scoring in Joel Barry and Theo Pinson, but the Tar Heels recruited top five national prospect, Nassir Little, who will carry much of the team’s weight on the wing. Luke Maye, senior, averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds last season putting him in amongst the elite big men in the country and the teams first option. The Tar Heels will be coached by Roy Williams for the 16th consecutive season.

“Coming into the season we got two of the top 25 recruits coming in as freshman to add to the veterans, Luke May, Kenny Williams and Cam Johnson making it a strong team. I think  freshmen Nassir Little and Coby White will be big contributors to the team and could lead them deep into the NCAA tournament,” said Brendan Vogel, sophomore.