Two conference coaches see Clemson as the team to beat again for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, while five coaches see the Tigers as the team to beat in the Atlantic Division, according to a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches released by the ACC this morning.
Defending national champion Virginia is tabbed as the preseason favorite, both overall and in the Coastal Division. The Cavaliers received four votes to win the conference, while Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame all received two.
Within the Atlantic Division, Louisville, Clemson’s opponent in last season’s ACC Tournament Final, received six of 12 first place votes for a total of 66 points. Clemson received five of 12 first place votes for a total of 62 points, and Wake Forest received the final first place vote for a total of 46 points. Syracuse, NC State and Boston College round out the predicted Atlantic Division standings.
On the Coastal Division side, Virginia led the way with seven of 12 first place votes for a total of 64 points. North Carolina came in second with a total of 59 points and four first place votes and Notre Dame came in third with one first place vote and 54 total points. Duke, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh rounded out the Coastal.
The ACC placed seven teams in the NCAA Championship field in 2014, marking the second-straight year that the league has had the most teams from any conference. Virginia’s national title was the seventh in the last 10 years by an ACC squad and 17th in league history.
The 2015 season, which gets underway on Friday, Aug. 28 for the Tigers against East Tennessee State, marks the second season for the ACC under a divisional format. Each team will play every squad in its division, plus three crossover games. The two division winners are guaranteed one of the top two seeds for the ACC Championship.
The 10-team ACC Championship will be held in early November, with first round games slated for Wednesday, Nov. 4, quarterfinals for Sunday, Nov. 8, semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 11, and the championship on Sunday, Nov. 15. All four rounds will be held on the campus of the higher seeded team.
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