The conference may be different, but the expectations are the same. The Syracuse basketball team is ranked No. 7 in the preseason USA Today poll. Duke is the only ACC team ranked higher coming in at No. 4. Kentucky, Michigan State and Louisville were named the top 3 while Arizona is ranked No. 5 and Kansas No. 6.
Other ACC teams that made the rankings were North Carolina (11), Notre Dame (22) and Virginia (25).
At ACC media day, Duke was the top pick to win the conference while Syracuse was second receiving three first place votes. C.J. Fair was named Preseason Player of the Year and also to the Preseason All-ACC team. Fair averaged 14.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last season.
Joe Harris of Virginia, Rodney Hood of Duke and Jerian Grant from Notre Dame and Jabari Parker from Duke were also named to the team. Parker was also named ACC Rookie of the Year.
Is it a surprise that Fair was named Preseason Player of the Year? Maybe a little. Fair is definitely deserving, but there have been questions from Orange fans if it will take a while to get the attention and respect from the old ACC media.
The Orange made a visit to the Final Four in their Big East swan song last year, but they will have a little bit of a different look with Michael Carter-Williams off to the NBA and prep stud Tyler Ennis taking over the point. Fair’s leadership and poise will be needed, especially when Syracuse visits hostile ACC arenas.
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