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Atlantic Coast Conference 2012-13 preview

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Predicted order of finish

1. Duke

2. N.C. State

3. North Carolina

4. Miami

5. Florida State

6. Maryland

7. Clemson

8. Virginia

9. Georgia Tech

10. Boston College

11. Virginia Tech

12. Wake Forest

Surprise team: Maryland. With a mostly manageable nonconference schedule, it will be tough to fully gauge the Terrapins before league play begins. However, as Mark Turgeon's first full recruiting class learns on the job, Maryland could emerge as an especially tough out by season's end.

Hot seat: Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest. The third-year coach is 21-42 and has finally flushed the myriad malcontents he inherited out of the program. The problem: The Demon Deacons have only three scholarship players with college experience and a disgruntled fan base. Bzdelik might not survive another losing season.

Three key players

G Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State. While teammate C.J. Leslie is the league's preseason player of the year, Brown is the guy who makes everything work for the Wolfpack. He ranked second in the ACC in assists last season.

F James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina. So much of the Tar Heels' high hopes are vested in the athletic 6-foot-9 McAdoo, a sophomore who averaged 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in a reserve role.

G Michael Snaer, Florida State. Last year's ACC tournament MVP, who averaged 14.0 points and shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range as a junior, anchors a veteran backcourt for the Seminoles

Three key newcomers

G Marcus Paige, North Carolina. Somebody had to replace the incomparable Kendall Marshall. That task will be handed to Paige, though the Tar Heels' backcourt is reinforced by the return of Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland from injury.

F Rodney Purvis, N.C. State. The coveted Raleigh product decided to stay home, further elevating hopes for Mark Gottfried's second season after last year's run to the NCAA round of 16.

G Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke. There's no guarantee the highly regarded wing player starts early on for the Blue Devils, but he'll have influence on how far Duke can go when March rolls around.

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