GREENSBORO, N.C. .(CBS19 SPORTS) -- No Tony Bennett team has ever been voted the preseason ACC favorite in men's basketball. That hasn't changed, despite Virginia's NCAA championship last season.
Virginia was picked to finish fourth in the ACC according to the league’s preseason poll, released on Thursday afternoon. Over the past six seasons under Bennett, the Wahoos have won at least a share of four ACC regular season titles and a pair of tournament championships -- but UVA has never been picked higher than second in the league’s preseason poll.
That fourth-place predicted finish is the lowest for the Cavaliers since two seasons ago when they were picked to finish sixth, then won both the league’s regular season and tournament titles.
UVA split last season’s regular season title with North Carolina, then lost to Florida State in the ACC semifinals. The Wahoos went on to win the first NCAA title in program history, then lost the top three scorers from that team — Kyle Guy, DeAndre Hunter and Ty Jerome — to the NBA Draft.
Fifth-year forward Mamadi Diakite also flirted with the NBA Draft before deciding to return to UVA for his final season. Diakite was voted to the preseason All-ACC first team on Thursday, and received a pair of votes for preseason player of the year. First-year UVA guard Casey Morsell received three votes for preseason rookie of the year.
Duke was voted the league’s preseason favorite for a fourth straight season, followed by North Carolina and Louisville. The Cardinals’ Jordan Nwora was voted the preseason player of the year, while UNC guard Cole Anthony ran away with the preseason rookie of the year voting. Duke’s Tre Jones and Notre Dame’s John Mooney joined Nwora, Anthony and Diakite on the preseason first team.