Duke favored to win ACC men’s basketball title, UVA picked second

Posted at 1:02 AM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 01:02:53-04

The Duke Blue Devils hold up the ACC championship trophy. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

GREENSBORO, N.C. ( – Duke is the 2018-19 Atlantic Coast Conference preseason favorite, according to the media poll conducted as part of the league’s annual Operation Basketball held Wednesday at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center.

The Blue Devils, who finished 29-8 last season, earned the program’s 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and advanced to the Elite Eight for the 21st time in program history, received 52 of 121 first-place votes and totaled 1,709 points in the preseason poll released Thursday.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Duke will enter the upcoming season a very different team from last year’s model. The Blue Devils are expected to rely heavily on a talented incoming class freshman class that includes athletic forward RJ Barrett – the media’s choice as ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year – Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones and Joey Baker. Barrett, Williamson, Reddish and Jones are all ranked among the nation’s top 15 incoming players.

North Carolina senior Luke Maye was voted the ACC Preseason Player of the Year and heads up the Preseason All-ACC team.

Kyle Guy of the Virginia Cavaliers. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Defending ACC champion Virginia placed a close second to Duke in the predicted order of finish. The Cavaliers received 47 first-place votes and 1,699 total points. Virginia was followed by North Carolina (20 first-place votes), Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

ACC preseason voters selected Clemson sixth, followed by Florida State, NC State and Notre Dame. Miami was picked 10th, while Louisville, Boston College, Georgia Tech Wake Forest and Pitt rounded out the balloting. Syracuse and Clemson each received one first-place vote.

The Duke Blue Devils mascot. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Preseason All-ACC second team consists of Duke’s Williamson, Virginia’s DeAndre Hunter and Ty Jerome, Virginia Tech’s Justin Robinson and Clemson’s Marcquise Reed.

Maye paced the Preseason Player of the Year voting with 50 votes. Duke’s Barrett placed second with 22 votes, and Williamson received 15. Syracuse’s Battle was next with 11.

Duke was picked as the ACC preseason favorite for the 19th time in the 50-year history of the poll and the 18th time under veteran head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils were also tabbed as the favorite last each of the two previous preseasons.

Charlotte’s Spectrum Center will play host to the 2019 New York Life ACC Tournament for the second time and the first time since 2008. This will mark the 13th time the city of Charlotte has hosted the country’s premiere postseason conference tournament. The tournament opens with three first-round games on Tuesday, March 12, and culminates with the Saturday night championship game on March 16. All games will be broadcast locally by WTKR and WGNT.

ACC Operation Basketball 2018-19 Preseason Poll

(First-place votes in parenthesis)

1-Duke (52) – 1709

2-Virginia (47) – 1699

3-North Carolina (20) – 1641

4-Syracuse (1) – 1268

5-Virginia Tech – 1187

6-Clemson (1) -1148

7-Florida State – 1127

8-NC State – 885

9-Notre Dame – 859

10-Miami – 816

11-Louisville – 735

12-Boston College – 568

13-Georgia Tech – 324

14-Wake Forest – 313

15-Pitt – 241

Preseason All-ACC

First Team

Luke Maye, North Carolina (111)

Tyus Battle, Syracuse (86)

RJ Barrett, Duke (76)

Kyle Guy, Virginia (62)

Ky Bowman, Boston College (58)

Second Team

Zion Williamson, Duke (55)

De’Andre Hunter, Virginia (32)

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech (29)

Ty Jerome, Virginia (17)

Marcquise Reed, Clemson (16)

ACC Preseason Player of the Year

Luke Maye, North Carolina (50)

RJ Barrett, Duke (22)

Zion Williamson, Duke (15)

Tyus Battle, Syracuse (11)

Ky Bowman, Boston College (7)

Kyle Guy, Virginia (5)

De’Andre Hunter, Virginia (4)

Ty Jerome, Virginia (2)

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech (2)

Cam Reddish, Duke (1)

T.J. Gibbs, Notre Dame (1)

Jaylen Hoard, Wake Forest (1)

ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year

RJ Barrett, Duke (66)

Zion Williamson, Duke (43)

Cam Reddish, Duke (4)

Jaylen Hoard, Wake Forest (3)

Coby White, North Carolina (2)

Jalen Carey, Syracuse (1)

Nate Laszewski, Notre Dame (1)

Jairus Hamilton, Boston College (1)