UNC men ACC favorite for 21st time; Bacot Preseason Player of Year

By R.L. Bynum

That noise that Coach Hubert Davis wants his team to ignore just keeps getting louder.

One day after Carolina was voted No. 1 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll, the media picked the Tar Heels to win the ACC in a landslide vote, with junior center Armando Bacot nearly the unanimous ACC Preseason Player of the Year and junior guard Caleb Love joining him on the Preseason All-ACC first team.

Carolina got 90 first-place votes, followed by Virginia with six, Duke and Miami with two and Virginia Tech with one.

Bacot, who was an All-ACC pick last season, got 82 first-place votes, compared to five for Miami’s Isaiah Wong, who finished second. Love got four votes and RJ Davis got two. Only one of the 101 voters didn’t have Bacot on their first team.

Bacot earned All-NCAA Tournament honors in the Final Four and the Eastern Regional, where he was voted Most Outstanding player. He averaged 13.0 points and 10 rebounds last season.

The other three players on the first team are Wong, N.C. State’s Terquavion Smith and Duke’s Jeremy Roach.

Davis made second team, along with Virginia’s Jayden Gardner, Duke’s Derek Lively II, Virginia Tech’s Justin Mutts and Clemson’s P.J. Hall.

Lively was voted ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year with 57 votes. UNC’s Tyler Nickel and Jalen Washington were tied for fifth with two votes and Seth Trimble got one vote.

It’s the first time that UNC has been the preseason pick to win the ACC since the 2015–16 season, which is also the last time the Heels were No. 1 in the AP preseason poll. Carolina finished first in the regular season that year and made the NCAA championship game.

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This is the 21st time UNC has been picked to win the ACC since the preseason poll was first taken before the 1969–70 season. The Tar Heels have finished first 11 times and have won the ACC Tournament seven of those seasons. In two of those seasons, 1990–91 and 1993–94, Carolina rebounded from finishing second in the regular season to win the ACC Tournament.

After Carolina, Duke is picked to finish No. 2, followed by Virginia, Miami, Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech.

UNC as preseason ACC favorite

(First poll was before 1969–70 season)
2015–16 — Finished first, 33–7, 14–4 ACC, won ACC Tournament
2011–12 — Finished first, 32–6, 14–2, lost in ACCT final
2009–10 — Finished ninth, 20–17, 5–11, lost in ACCT first round
2008–09 — Finished first, 34–4, 13–3, lost in ACCT semifinals
2007–08 — Finished first, 36–3, 14–2, won ACCT
2006–07 — Finished tied for first, 31–7, 11–5, won ACCT
1999–2000 — Finished tied for third, 22–14, 9–7, lost in ACCT quarterfinals
1994–95 — Finished in four-way tie for first, 28–6, 12–4, lost in ACCT final
1993–94 — Finished second, 28–7, 11–5, won ACCT
1990–91 — Finished second, 29–6, 10–4, won ACCT
1989–90 — Finished tied for third, 21–13, 8–6, lost in ACCT quarterfinals
1987–88 — Finished first, 27–7, 11–3, lost in ACCT final
1986–87 — Finished first, 32–4, 14–0, lost in ACCT final
1985–86 — Finished third, 28–6, 10–4, lost in ACCT quarterfinals
1983–84 — Finished first, 28–3, 14–0, lost in ACCT semifinals
1981–82 — Finished first, 32–2, 12–2, won ACCT
1979–80 — Finished second, 21–8, 9–5, lost in ACCT semifinals
1977–78 — Finished first, 23–8, 9–3, lost in ACCT semifinals
1976–77 — Finished first, 28–5, 9–3, won ACCT
1971–72 — Finished first, 26–5, 11–3, won ACCT

ACC predicted order of finish

(101 total votes)
1. North Carolina (90 first-place votes), 1,504
2. Duke (2), 1,339
3. Virginia (6), 1,310
4. Miami (2), 1,138
5. Florida State, 1,064
6. Notre Dame, 971
7. Virginia Tech (1), 921
8. Syracuse, 700
9. Wake Forest, 672
10. NC State, 548
11. Clemson, 528
12. Louisville, 477
13. Boston College, 368
14. Pitt, 320
15. Georgia Tech, 260

ACC preseason awards

All-ACC

(101 total votes)
First Team
Name, School, Votes

Armando Bacot, North Carolina, 100
Isaiah Wong, Miami, 81
Caleb Love, North Carolina, 58
Terquavion Smith, NC State, 46
Jeremy Roach, Duke, 35 
Second Team
Name, School, Votes

Jayden Gardner, Virginia, 32
Dereck Lively II, Duke, 19
Justyn Mutts, Virginia Tech, 18
P.J. Hall, Clemson, 17
RJ Davis, North Carolina, 14 

Player of the Year

Name, School, Votes
Armando Bacot, North Carolina, 82
Isaiah Wong, Miami, 5
Caleb Love, North Carolina, 4
Jeremy Roach, Duke, 3
P.J. Hall, Clemson, 2
RJ Davis, North Carolina, 2
Terquavion Smith, NC State, 1
Hunter Cattoor, Virginia Tech, 1
Dariq Whitehead, Duke, 1 

Rookie of the Year

Name, School, Votes
Dereck Lively II, Duke, 57
Dariq Whitehead, Duke, 25
Tyrese Proctor, Duke, 5
Mark Mitchell, Duke, 3
Tyler Nickel, North Carolina, 2
Jalen Washington, North Carolina, 2
J.J. Starling, Notre Dame, 2
Kyle Filipowski, Duke, 2
Prince Aligbe, Boston College, 1
Isaac McKneely, Virginia, 1
Seth Trimble, North Carolina, 1

Photo via @UNC_Basketball

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