The Week 1 coaches poll for college basketball is out, and it’s topped by the Duke Blue Devils, who received 27 of the 32 first place votes. Only one other team — No. 4 Kentucky — received more than one first place vote. In total, five ACC teams landed in the initial poll:
The Blue Devils are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and return the best player — Grayson Allen — from a team that finished in the top five in offensive efficiency. Fifth-year senior Amile Jefferson is back, too, and they’re joined by the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, which features five-star prospects like Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles
6. North Carolina
UNC suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Villanova in last year’s NCAA Championship game; Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige have departed from Chapel Hill. But the Tar Heels return a lot of talent, including a pick-and-roll menace at point guard, Joel Berry. North Carolina may be thin up front, but Isaiah Hicks is poised for a monster senior season, and Kennedy Meeks is back as well. Justin Jackson will provide scoring, too.
Tony Bennett’s club will look different this season as far as personnel goes — Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey are gone. However, the Cavaliers have a system in place that focuses on controlling the pace, packing the paint and hitting a high percentage of their threes. London Perrantes, in his fourth seasons as a starter, will run the show; Memphis transfer Austin Nichols could emerge as an All-ACC frontcourt player.
The Cardinals face a looming uncertainty following their NCAA notice of allegations; however, this team is loaded, and like an Rick Pitino squad, defense will be their calling card. Athletes are everywhere for this team: Deng Adel, Raymond Spalding and Donovan Mitchell can all play above the rim, especially Mitchell — the ACC’s Russell Westbrook Simulation. Chinanu Onuaku is an elite rim protector, who will hold down their interior defense.
Even with the departures of Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson and Trevor Cooney, Syracuse still has a great roster. Tyler Roberson is a fearless rebounder; big man DaJuan Coleman is back healthy. Nebraska transfer Andrew White III is an elite perimeter scorer, who drilled 41.2 percent of his threes last season, and combo forward Tyler Lydon has the potential to be a lottery pick. If he can figure out his point guard rotation, Jim Boeheim has a dangerous team on his hands.
For the complete top 25 list, check here.