The Virginia men’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the ACC in the conference’s preseason poll, which was released on Thursday.
The defending national champion Cavaliers, who earned 12 first-place votes, slide in behind Duke, North Carolina and Louisville, which earned the No. 1-3 spots, respectively. Florida State was picked to finish fifth.
N.C. State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Miami and Pittsburgh round out the top 10. Clemson was picked 11th, followed by Georgia Tech, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
The Wahoos have won the ACC regular season crown in each of the past two seasons. They weren’t picked to win the league in the preseason in either season. Virginia won the ACC in both 2014 and 2015 after being picked to finish fourth in the preseason.
UVa has either met or exceeded its preseason projection in nine of its 10 seasons under Tony Bennett, including finishing first in the ACC four times despite never being picked to win the conference during Bennett’s tenure.
Mamadi Diakite, a redshirt senior, earned a spot on the Preseason All-ACC team. The lengthy forward averaged 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game last season. He’s expected to play a bigger role offensively for Virginia this season with Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter now in the NBA.
Louisville’s Jordan Nwora earned ACC Preseason Player of the Year honors, and Duke’s Tre Jones, North Carolina’s Cole Anthony and Notre Dame’s John Mooney joined Diakite to fill out the All-ACC team.
Anthony also earned ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year honors. UVa freshman guard Casey Morsell tied for fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting with three votes.
Virginia opens the season on Nov. 6 at Syracuse.