Duke is always among the biggest stories in college basketball— both when the Blue Devils are great and less than great. Some years it’s Zion’s dunks creating viral clips, other years it’s Grayson’s meltdowns. Either way, for one reason or another, it’s nearly impossible to get through a year without Duke playing a major role in the telling of it. And this season will obviously be no exception because it’s Mike Krzyzewski’s final season on the sideline. And because the Blue Devils are expected to finish first in the ACC. And because they’ll be led by a freshman named Paolo Banchero who projects as the likely No. 1 pick of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Stories on top of stories on top of stories.
Hubert Davis’ first season at North Carolina after replacing Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Roy Williams will also be a big story in the ACC — as will Virginia trying to stay good despite returning very little, Mike Brey trying to return Notre Dame to the field of 68 for the first time since 2017, and Louisville trying to bounce-back after missing the 2021 NCAA Tournament (and enduring another scandal). But the dominant story will be Coach K’s farewell season inside Cameron Indoor Stadium, where the Blue Devils will once again enjoy a true homecourt advantage that should help lift them to the 13th ACC regular-season title of Krzyzewski’s incredible career.
CBS Sports ACC Preseason Player of the Year
Paolo Banchero, Duke
When I first met Paolo Banchero, back in July 2019, he was getting ready to start his junior year of high school. We were at a USA Basketball event in Colorado. And I remember sitting next to a coach with a preseason top-10 team who told me, while watching Banchero go through drills, that the 16 year-old could start for him “right now.” Since that day, all Banchero has done is get taller, stronger and more skilled to the point where most believe he’ll be a First Team All-American before becoming the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
CBS Sports ACC Preseason Coach of the Year
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
It’s difficult to reach a consensus on a preseason Coach of the Year — or postseason Coach of the Year, for that matter — because nobody seems capable of agreeing on what criteria matters most. That said, I’m unsurprised Krzyzewski was our leading vote-getter considering he’s the man who has built what is, on paper, the best roster highlighted by the person who is perceived to be the best player. Incredibly, Coach K has only won five ACC Coach of the Year awards in his 41 years at Duke. But if he guides the Blue Devils to a conference title this season, he probably will secure a sixth.
CBS Sports ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year
Paolo Banchero, Duke
When a freshman is the Player of the Year, he must also be the Freshman of the Year. Nothing else would make sense. So Paolo Banchero is collecting two preseason trophies here. He was actually a unanimous selection for both awards among our panel of voters, which highlights just how confident we are that the 6-foot-10 forward is about to have a monster season that should give Mike Krzyzewski a chance to leave the sport on a high note.
CBS Sports Predicted Order of Finish
The consensus order as voted by our experts with how they voted below
Most Overrated Team
If you compare our predicted order of finish to what’s projected at KenPom and BartTorvik, the most overrated team is Virginia. We have the Cavaliers fourth in the ACC while KenPom has them eighth and BartTorvik has them ninth. We’re simply trusting Tony Bennett to work his magic per usual. But all the computers see is a team that returns very little of relevance.
Most Underrated Team
Our voting that placed Notre Dame at seventh in the ACC flies in the face of what the computers are projecting. KenPom has the Irish third. BartTorvik has them fifth. So Notre Dame looks like the team most likely to exceed our expectations.