Duke opens season as ACC favorite ahead of UNC, Virginia

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Duke has been picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title ahead of North Carolina, Virginia and Louisville.

Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen was selected the preseason player of the year by a wide margin over Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame, while North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was voted rookie of the year.

Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils picked up 85 first-place votes and 1,359 points in voting by league media at the league’s preseason media day Wednesday. Defending champion UNC had the other six first-place votes.

Syracuse was fifth followed by N.C. State, Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
UNC’s Joel Berry II and Virginia’s London Perrantes joined Allen, Blossomgame and Smith on the preseason all-ACC first team.

The second team consisted of UNC’s Justin Jackson, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon, FSU’s Dwayne Bacon and Pitt’s Michael Young.

Duke won the NCAA championship in 2015 and reached the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament, part of a record run of six ACC teams to reach that round.

North Carolina and Syracuse both reached the Final Four, with the Tar Heels losing to Villanova on a last-second 3-pointer in the NCAA championship game.

The Tar Heels swept the league’s regular-season and tournament titles last year.

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