NC State picked as ACC favorite at media day
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina State is the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
The Wolfpack, with four starters back from a team that reached the NCAA round of 16, earned 26 of 53 first-place votes Wednesday from media members at the league's annual "Operation Basketball" media day. It is the first time N.C. State has been picked as the preseason favorite since the 1974-75 season, while it marked only the second time in 16 seasons that neither Duke nor North Carolina were picked to win the league race.
In addition, N.C. State junior C.J. Leslie was player of the year, teammate Lorenzo Brown was an all-ACC pick and guard Rodney Purvis was voted rookie of the year.
"It's new territory for our team," second-year coach Mark Gottfried said. "This is unchartered waters. And we have to learn how to accept that responsibility. It's something I think our guys are in the process of doing right now. And when you start playing games, you have to understand that you're viewed differently than maybe you were a year ago, so we've got to be ready for that."
N.C. State hadn't been picked first since the year after David Thompson helped the Wolfpack stop UCLA's run seven straight national titles on the way to program's first NCAA championship in 1974. The Wolfpack hasn't won the ACC tournament since 1987 and last won a regular-season crown in 1989.
Wednesday's vote came two days after the league coaches also picked N.C. State as the preseason favorite in their first-ever vote on an ACC finish or preseason awards.
Duke was second with 21 first-place votes, while North Carolina was third. Reigning tournament champion Florida State was fourth and got the other six first-place votes, followed by Miami, Maryland, Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College.
Florida State's Michael Snaer, North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo and Duke's Mason Plumlee joined Leslie and Brown on the preseason all-ACC team.
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