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ACC off-season report: Power Rankings, burning questions

Duke may have to replace all five of its starters from the end of last season, but the Blue Devils still look like the early favorites in the ACC.

ACC off-season Power Rankings

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1. Duke Blue Devils

RECORD: 28-9

The Blue Devils lose all five of their end-of-season starters, which would be a crippling blow to almost any other team. But Grayson Allen is back for his senior year, and Duke welcomes in the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, including five-stars Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter and Gary Trent.

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2. Louisville Cardinals

RECORD: 25-9

Losing both Donovan Mitchell and Jaylen Johnson to the NBA draft hurts, but the Cardinals still have plenty of talent on board for 2017–18. Quentin Snider and Deng Adel return, and Ray Spalding and V.J. King could be breakout candidates.

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3. North Carolina Tar Heels

RECORD: 33-7

Justin Jackson’s departure was expected, but losing Tony Bradley after one season was a significant blow to UNC’s frontcourt, which graduated Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks. All eyes will be on Joel Berry II to lead the offense.

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4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes

RECORD: 21-12

The strong returning backcourt duo of Ja'Quan Newton and Bruce Brown will be joined by incoming five-star guard Lonnie Walker and four-star guard Chris Lykes. With Kamari Murphy gone, rising sophomore Dewan Huell will need to step up down low.

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5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

RECORD: 26-10

Bonzie Colson returning for his senior year was huge for the Fighting Irish, as he and point guard Matt Farrell form a strong offensive tandem. Top-50 guard D.J. Harvey is Notre Dame’s lone incoming freshman.

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6. Virginia Tech Hokies

RECORD: 22-11

The Hokies returned to the NCAA tournament at least but now need to replace top scorers Zach LeDay and Seth Allen. Two incoming four-star guards will help, but having a healthy Kerry Blackshear and Chris Clarke in the frontcourt could be key.

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7. Virginia Cavaliers

RECORD: 23-11

The Cavaliers lost three to transfers, including Marial Shayock, and enter life without London Perrantes. Rising senior Devon Hall and sophomore Kyle Guy will need to step up offensively, but, as usual, Virginia’s strength should be in its defense.

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8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

RECORD: 21-16

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After being the surprise of the ACC in 2016–17, the Yellow Jackets return their top three scorers. Georgia Tech will once again be led by rising sophomore Josh Okogie and senior Ben Lammers, the latter of who is coming off a breakout season.

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9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

RECORD: 19-14

John Collins is off to the NBA, but rising junior Bryant Crawford is one of the league’s top returning players. Top-40 guard Chaundee Brown enters the fold, while guard Keyshawn Woods and big man Dinos Mitoglou are back.

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10. Syracuse Orange

RECORD: 19-15

The Orange will lean on the rising sophomore guard/forward duo of Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson, who are both coming off strong rookie

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11. Florida State Seminoles

RECORD: 26-9

The Seminoles’ roster took a significant hit with the NBA draft departures of Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, but top-50 recruits M.J. Walker and Ike Obiagu hope to soften the blow. Junior Terance Mann is Florida State’s best returning player.

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12. North Carolina State Wolfpack

RECORD: 15-17

The Wolfpack will need to move on from a dismal 2016–17 season without their top three scorers. The best returning piece new coach Kevin Keatts inherits is senior Abdul-Malik Abu, while 7-footer Omer Yurtseven passed on the draft to return for his sophomore season.

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13. Clemson Tigers

RECORD: 17-16

After a disappointing season, the Tigers face further challenges now that Jaron Blossomgame has graduated. Guards Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed should anchor the offense.

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14. Boston College Eagles

RECORD: 9-23

The Eagles have won a total of six ACC regular-season games over the last three seasons. They’ll look to build around a pair of key returnees in junior Jerome Robinson, the conference’s top returning scorer, and sophomore Ky Bowman, plus grad transfer Deontae Hawkins.

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15. Pittsburgh Panthers

RECORD: 16-17

The cupboard is quite barren in terms of proven talent for Pitt, which loses its top five scorers (all starters) from a team that went 4–14 in league play. Senior Ryan Luther (5.7 ppg) is the top returning scorer and only returning Panther who averaged more than 10 minutes per game.