It is the same old, same old in women’s basketball for the new look Atlantic Coast Conference as the Duke Blue Devils were picked by the media and conference coaches as the team to beat on Oct. 23. It's the ninth time since preseason voting began in 1991 that the Blue Devils have been selected as the conference favorites and the 13th straight year they were picked in the top three.
Duke, which reached the Elite Eight for the fourth straight year last season, return all five starters from last year and 11 letterwinners. AP All-American selection Elizabeth Williams and WBCA All-American choice Chelsea Gray lead the returnees for the Blue Devils, who was voted first on 39 of 57 ballots cast by the panel and by 10 of the 15 league coaches. Gray is coming off a knee-injury that ended her season in February.
The panel voters had Georgia Tech and Florida State tied for fifth, while the coaches had the Yellow Jackets fifth and Seminoles sixth.
Both groups had Syracuse seventh, followed by Virginia, Miami, North Carolina State, Boston College, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame, which beat Duke in the regional finals in arch to reach their third straight Final Four, received 14 first-place votes from the panel and the other five from the coaches. The Fighting Irish join Pittsburgh and Syracuse as newcomers to the league this season.
North Carolina has no seniors and one of the nation's best freshman classes. The Tar Heels will also be without Hall of Fame head coach Sylvia Hatchell while she battles leukemia.