7. Florida State (25-10, 10-6)
Coach: Leonard Hamilton (eighth season, 131-96)
Where they’re at: Like so many other teams in the conference, the Seminoles are trying to make do without a crucial perimeter player. The loss of Toney Douglas will shift attention inward, where Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton must find ways to remain effective.
Where they’re headed: Florida State is a wild card. The Seminoles aren’t likely to fall off a cliff, but matching last season’s 25 victories will be difficult. The linchpin of the season might be freshman Michael Snaer.
8. Wake Forest (24-7, 11-5)
Coach: Dino Gaudio (third season, 41-20)
Where they’re at: If this were 25 years ago, James Johnson and Jeff Teague probably would have stayed in school and the Demon Deacons would be picked to reach the Final Four. Instead, both left for the NBA, and it will take some time for last year’s early-season darlings to come close to replicating last winter’s success.
Where they’re headed: Wake was fortunate Al-Farouq Aminu opted to stick around for another season. He could be enough of an anchor for the Demon Deacons to climb out of their midpack projections and be a top-25 team.
9. Virginia Tech (19-15, 7-9)
Coach: Seth Greenberg (seventh season, 107-85)
Where they’re at: In search of scoring options behind Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen. There are few players who will be missed as much in the conference as A.D. Vassallo, who was third in the league in field goals attempted with 516. The Hokies’ returnees other than Allen and Delaney combined for 484.
Where they’re headed: Back to basics. Greenberg wants to see his team embrace defense more than a season ago, when the Hokies were decidedly more porous than in the recent past. Virginia Tech will probably need to play ugly to win, and Greenberg is among the best in the sport at getting his players to accept that approach.
10. Virginia (10-18, 4-12)
Coach: Tony Bennett (first season)
Where they’re at: Another reboot in Charlottesville. Washington State import Bennett is the fourth coach in the past 13 seasons. He inherits one potent scorer (Sylven Landesberg), plenty of complementary pieces and a lot of eagerness for a fresh start after the Cavaliers’ worst season since 1967.