Where they’re headed: It could be an interesting ride for Virginia and the ACC as Bennett implements his “non-negotiables” - notably, a strong commitment to defense. The Cavaliers get the same favorable league schedule as three years ago (when they shared the regular-season title), so that should help.
11. Miami (19-13, 7-9)
Coach: Frank Haith (sixth season, 88-73)
Where they’re at: Trying to figure out how to replace Jack McClinton. The sharpshooter was the Hurricanes’ answer to nearly every problem the past few years, and finding a capable option to take crucial shots won’t be easy. One possibility is transfer Malcolm Grant, a pure scorer who sat out last year after a season at Villanova.
Where they’re headed: It could be a bit bumpy this year. Forward Dwayne Collins is the nearest thing to a certainty for Miami. The Hurricanes will poach a few surprises at home, but they’ll struggle to rise into the top half of the league.
12. N.C. State (16-14, 6-10)
Coach: Sidney Lowe (fourth season, 52-46)
Where they’re at: In quite a bit of a mess. The Wolfpack were a headache for mediocre teams visiting Raleigh last season, but they’ve lost the top three scorers from yet another disjointed team.
Where they’re headed: With three finishes of 10th or worse in as many seasons, Lowe is the ACC coach sure to receive the most scrutiny. There are just too many question marks to project much success for the Wolfpack.
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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