I am still trying to get a grasp on this because we are looking at something that has never happened before. In the long history of these awards, no outright ACC regular season champion has ever been shutout from the All-ACC 1st team until now.
ACC Sports has the teams and voting totals:
Nolan Smith, Duke (225)
Jordan Williams, Maryland (210)
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech (202)
Kyle Singler, Duke (199)
Reggie Jackson, Boston College (190)
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina (161)
John Henson, North Carolina (148)
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (145)
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech (132)
Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech (131)
Chris Singleton, Florida State (126)
Demontez Stitt, Clemson (81)
Joe Trapani, Boston College (63)
Malcolm Grant, Miami (62)
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (45)
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (75)
Travis McKie, Wake Forest (74)
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (71)
Terrell Stoglin, Maryland (62)
C.J. Leslie, N.C. State (46)
John Henson, North Carolina (75)
Chris Singleton, Florida State (64)
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech (60)
Nolan Smith, Duke (26)
Jerai Grant, Clemson (20)
A few reasons why I think this happened.
First of all, I think voting for these types of awards are primarily driven on overall offensive numbers. The ACC Sports Media Association does not set a standard on whether voters should use stats for all games or conference games only. If I had to speculate I would say most probably rely on all games which are not the best ones for UNC who had more offensive struggles than not. Looking at overall stats Zeller is 8th in the ACC in scoring and 8th in rebounds. Barnes is 11th in scoring. Henson is fourth in rebounds, leads the league in blocks but out of the top 20 in scoring. Kendall Marshall led the league in assists but did not start for the first few games and only in the latter half played full time which probably cost him votes. I also think in some cases voters take a more simplistic approach to it than say C.Michael who broke down per/40 minute scoring. Another element is there is no rule on voting by position and what not which can create all sorts of weird team compositions.
Secondly, UNC did not have a single player named ACC Player of the Week during the season. All three freshman garnered rookie of the week honors at some point, including this week. However there were no standout performances though some of John Henson's work may have warranted an accolade or two but probably happened on a week some random guard put up 25 and 32 points. In short, UNC has not had many players put up gaudy numbers since the offense has been somewhat suspect at times. The result is nothing memorable to justify a vote if the overall scoring average is a tad low.
Third, it is probably some vote splitting went on between the three Tar Heels on the 2nd team. Basically that there was some movement in favor of Zeller, Henson and Barnes but just not enough. Or it could be that voters decided to choose only one Tar Heel and it split the votes so much they were dropped to the 6, 7 and 8 positions. Since you had three bunched up just off the first team, it is likely they all took votes from each other.
Finally, this probably a product of a Tar Heel team that was simply so balanced that no one stood out. In most games it was UNC getting 3-4 four players posting virtually the same total. UNC went 14-2 in the ACC by getting a team effort night in and night out. Much of that effort came on the defensive end which almost never earns you highlights on SportsCenter or votes for All-ACC unless the award in question is specifically a defensive. Whatever the case, the fact UNC had zero players on the All-ACC first team does not change the fact they still finished first and won 14 games in league play joining a very elite group of Tar Heel teams who did the same. They just happened to do it without the kind of individual offensive performances that attract votes.
Now, having said that, is there room to complain? Absolutely. I personally think John Henson was robbed. If anyone has watched UNC play basketball this season, they know Henson's play was game changing. His offensive numbers were not always huge but Henson averaged a double-double in ACC games while blocking 3.4 shots. UNC is one of the best defensive teams in the country, won games with their defense and Henson is a big reason that is the case. The argument can be made that Duke's Kyle Singler was named first team for legacy reasons and not because his performance warranted it. Barnes numbers in ACC play were actually slightly better than Singler's and he outplayed him in the finale on Saturday night after a stalemate in Durham. However this sort of thing happens and I am sure UNC has benefited from this type of voting in the past.
The individual awards are still forthcoming and UNC will be all over those. Since Barnes and Henson were unanimous picks to the all-freshman and all-defensive teams respectively you can assume which way those awards are going. I also think Roy Williams is going to be coach of the year and if he is not and Mike Krzyzewski gets it, you have my permission to burn the place down. After all, Roy's team finished first in the ACC without having a single first team player. Has to be the coaching right?
At any rate, congrats to Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall for being named All-ACC.