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" Wednesday.
The Blue Devils, who return starting guards Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon from last season's 30-6 NCAA Regional finalist, and whose group of newcomers includes sophomore transfer Rodney Hood and freshman Jabari Parker, received 50 of 54 first-place votes in a preseason poll of media in attendance at Wednesday's event.
ACC newcomer Syracuse (three first-place votes) placed 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.
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's Parker, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward from Chicago, was the overwhelming choice as ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year on 52 of the 54 ballots cast.
Fair, Harris, Parker, Hood and Notre Dame's Jerian Grant were selected as the Preseason All-ACC Team.
Duke was picked as an ACC preseason favorite for the 14t time in the 45-year history of the poll and for the 13th time under current head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Duke was last tabbed as the favorite prior to the 2010-11 season, which saw the Blue Devils finish second in the regular-season standings but capture their league-record 19th ACC Tournament title.
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.
ACC Operation Basketball 2013-14 Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parenthesis)
1. Duke (50) 805
2. Syracuse (3) 753
3. North Carolina (1) 668
4. Virginia 612
5. Notre Dame 608
6. Pitt 477
7. Maryland 473
8. Boston College 457
9. Florida State 334
10. NC State 332
11. Georgia Tech 311
12. Miami 224
13. Wake Forest 220
14. Clemson 141
15. Virginia Tech 65
2013-14 Preseason All-ACC Team
C.J. Fair, Syracuse
Joe Harris, Virginia
Rodney Hood, Duke
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Jabari Parker, Duke
ACC Preseason Player of the Year
C.J. Fair, Syracuse (17 votes)
Also receiving multiple votes: Joe Harris, Virginia 16; Rodney Hood, Duke 7; Jabari Parker, Duke 5; Olivier Hanlan, Boston College 3
ACC Rookie of the Year
Jabari Parker, Duke (52 votes)
Also receiving votes: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse 1; No player named on 1 ballot