CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke will enter the 2013-14 season as the Atlantic Coast Conference favorite, according to a vote of media in attendance at the league's annual "Operation Basketball."
The Blue Devils received 50 of 54 first-place votes in a preseason poll of media in attendance at Wednesday's event. ACC newcomer Syracusewith three first-place votes was second in the voting, followed by North Carolina (one first-place vote) and Virginia.
Notre Dame placed fifth, followed by Pittsburgh, Maryland and Boston College. Florida State placed ninth, followed by NC State, Georgia Tech, defending ACC champion Miami, Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech.
The Tigers lost a lot of experience and production from seniors Trevor Booker and Milton Jennings. Clemson has a roster with no seniors but nine letterwinners returning - giving the Tigers a young but fairly experienced nucleus.
Syracuse senior forward C.J. Fair, who led the Orange in scoring (14.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg) last season, received the nod as ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Fair received 17 votes in the Player of the Year balloting, edging Virginia senior Joe Harris (16 votes) by one.
Duke was picked as an ACC preseason favorite for the 14th time in the 45-year history of the poll and for the 13th time under current head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
With Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse joining the ACC last July 1, the conference now boasts 15 members. In addition to an 18-game regular-season conference schedule, the 61st annual ACC Tournament will consist of 14 games and will be played from Wednesday through Sunday (March 12-16). ACC teams open regular-season play the weekend of Nov. 8.