I really expected Duke to run away with the top spot.
Don't get me wrong, I was also expecting the Blue Devils to fail to live up to preseason expectations, but I still expected those expectations to be high. They only lost Henderson, Paulus and last year's potential savior at the point Elliot Williams. Carolina lost four starters and return only two upperclassmen with significant playing time. Folks have been raving about Krzyzewski's incoming class like it was the second coming of, well, every other Duke recruiting class, regardless how many players turn into Brian Zoubek once they hit Cameron Indoor. I expected a full-on adoration of Duke to start the season.
But no, they end up tied for first with UNC, as more and more people return to the Carolina bandwagon, sometimes to a ridiculous degree. (No one should be considering a championship repeat until the five freshmen jockeying for playing time get half an ACC slate under their belt. There are five freshman, and to expect a repeat of 2006's performance is slightly premature at this stage.) What's worrisome to me is that no other ACC team grabbed the fancy of the press. This season has a the makings of being a relatively down year for both UNC and Duke, and the perfect opportunity for a logjam at the top of the standings not unlike 2007. But very few people are wiling to go that far. Hell, Georgia Tech has miracle freshmen coming in, too. Give them some love.
Also, Virginia Tech is vastly underrated at 8th. Seth Greenberg's returning four starters, and has only overachieved with his level of talent for the Hokies. Putting Malcolm Delaney on the first team all-ACC may, paradoxically, be a bit of a stretch.