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October 31, 2007
ACC will be hard pressed to repeat success
ACC predicted order of finish
1. North Carolina*
3. N.C. State*
6. Georgia Tech#
8. Florida State
9. Boston College
11. Wake Forest
12. Virginia Tech
Any college basketball coach will tell you the sport is cyclical. When a particular conference has a banner season, that often means a downward turn is on the horizon.
The ACC could be a classic example of that in 2007-08. A league-record seven ACC teams reached the 2007 NCAA Tournament, the most of any conference. Three other ACC teams played in the NIT.
Nobody expects the ACC to match those numbers this season. Heavy personnel losses have cut into the league's depth. Six of its players were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft (the most of any conference): North Carolina's Brandan Wright, Florida State's Al Thornton, Boston College's Jared Dudley and Sean Williams (who was suspended at midseason last year) and Georgia Tech's Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young. Duke's Josh McRoberts and Maryland's D.J. Strawberry were second-round selections.
Virginia Tech lost two guards, Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell, who carried the Hokies to one of the best seasons in school history in 2006-07. The Hokies won 22 games and landed a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia also suffered a key loss with the departure of guard J.R. Reynolds, who was the league's fifth-leading scorer at 18.4 points per game last season.
There also are plenty of questions swirling around perennial power Duke, coming off its worst season in more than a decade. The Blue Devils went 8-8 in league play and were knocked out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Virginia Commonwealth.
Only high expectations surround North Carolina, which may be the ACC's savior. The Tar Heels return a deep and talented squad led by star big man Tyler Hansbrough, a Rivals.com first-team All-American selection last season.
Wake Forest also will be in the national spotlight, but for a far different reason. The Deacons promise to face an emotional year after coach Skip Prosser died of a heart attack on July 26. Assistant Dino Gaudio was promoted less than two weeks later. He takes over a young squad coming off a 15-16 season.
Here is the Rivals.com preview of the upcoming ACC season:
Andrew Skwara is a national college basketball writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.