When Eliot Williams decided on Tuesday to leave Duke and return home to Memphis for personal reasons, he took Duke's status as the nominal ACC front-runner with him.
Of all the guard duos Duke tried last season, none worked better than Jon Scheyer and Williams, with Nolan Smith coming off the bench. That late-season combination offered the best mix of offense and defense, experience and enthusiasm, expectations and accomplishment.
Now, with only two scholarship guards, Scheyer and Smith, on the roster, Duke's backcourt is as thin as it gets, and the Blue Devils' presumed position as the ACC favorite is right out the window.
With Williams, a tournament-toughened and veteran Duke team -- Kyle Singler, Scheyer, Williams, Smith, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek -- looked like the best team in a league that suffered serious losses to graduation and the NBA across the board.
It's anyone's game now. Duke's right in that mix, but the Devils no longer stand out as clear favorites in an ACC that's now totally up for grabs.