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ACC Preseason Top Picks

Spoiler - it’s usually Duke or UNC

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ACC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Amile Jefferson #21 of the Duke Blue Devils in action against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Semi Finals of the ACC Basketball Tournament at the Barclays Center on March 10, 2017 in New York City.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Here’s a surprise. The ACC media has gone out on a limb and dubbed Duke the preseason favorite in the conference.

This tends to happen a lot – like 12 of the last 20 years and four of the last five.

Of course the Blue Devils don’t finish first in the league every year they’re expected to do so. Over the past two decades, dating back to 1998, Mike Krzyzewski’s clubs wound up atop the ACC standings six of the dozen times they were picked to pace the field.

North Carolina was expected to finish first in six of the last 20 seasons, and fulfilled its perceived destiny five times.

That leaves only two years, 2005 and 2013, in which the blue boys weren’t the early favorites. Wake Forest was tabbed in ’05, finished second and won the ACC tournament. In 2013 NC State was the top choice, and finished fourth. The Wolfpack hasn’t won an ACC tournament since 1987.

No team picked lower than sixth topped the conference since the ACC media began preseason voting in 1970.

Teams Picked to Finish First in ACC Preseason, Last 20 Years
Year Team Actual Finish Finished First (Preseason)
2018 Duke ? ?
2017 Duke fifth North Carolina (2)
2016 North Carolina first NA
2015 Duke second Virginia (4)
2014 Duke third Virginia (4)
2013 NC State fifth Miami (5)
2012 North Carolina first NA
2011 Duke second North Carolina (3)
2010 Duke first NA
2009 North Carolina first NA
2008 North Carolina first NA
2007 North Carolina first NA
2006 Duke first NA
2005 Wake Forest second North Carolina (2)
2004 Duke first NA
2003 Duke second Wake Forest (6)
2002 Duke second Maryland (2)
2001 Duke first NA
2000 North Carolina third Duke (2)
1999 Duke first NA
1998 Duke first NA
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