Assuming everyone isn't scared back to school by the possibility of an NBA labor impasse in 2011-12, the ACC again will lose a handful of players to the pros this spring.
But since there has been very limited attrition to this point, here's my best-case scenario guess on how the league race will pan out if everyone returns.
1. North Carolina (14-2 ACC, 29-8 in 2010-11): Next year's Final Four will be in New Orleans, the Tar Heels' lucky-charm location.
The Tar Heels should be there if Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes return to join Dexter Strickland and Kendall Marshall in the starting group.
The bench - with freshmen James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston joining Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock and Justin Watts - will be much deeper and more versatile.
Even if just one or two of the primary NBA prospects return, North Carolina could still be the preseason ACC favorite and a likely top-20 team.
2. Duke (13-3, 32-5): A starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee and shooting guard recruit Austin Rivers or forward Ryan Kelly would be potent but probably less mobile and flexible than this season's lineup featuring seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.
But the Blue Devils will still be a national factor, and that won't change if Irving exits. With Andre Dawkins, Tyler Thornton and recruits Quinn Cook (point guard) and Mike Gbinije (forward), there will be several perimeter options.
3. Maryland (7-9, 19-14): Gary Williams will get his team back into the NCAA tournament if All-ACC forward Jordan Williams returns for his junior season.
Williams has filed paperwork to enter the draft but does not plan at this point to hire an agent, leaving open the option that he could come back. Underclassmen have until May 8 to withdraw. With Terrell Stoglin at the point and Sean Mosley and Pe'Shon Howard on the wings, the Terrapins' perimeter should be above average, and guard recruit Nick Faust has 3-point range.
The problem will be a lack of frontcourt pop. Obviously, some improvement from 6-foot-10 center Berend Weijs would make life easier for Williams.
4. Miami (6-10, 21-15): The only senior on the Hurricanes' roster is Adrian Thomas, and you have to assume all possible emphasis will be put on improving center Reggie Johnson's conditioning and mobility.
Malcolm Grant, Durand Scott and Rion Brown should make for a formidable perimeter.
Julian Gamble, Garrius Adams and DeQuan Jones will do the little things. Transfers Kenny Kadji and Trey McKinney-Jones also join the mix.
5. Florida State (11-5, 23-11): Even if forward Chris Singleton stuns everyone and comes back for his senior season, the offense needs to improve for the Seminoles to win 11 league games again.
There still will be plenty of parts with Deividas Dulkys, Michael Snaer, Bernard James, Ian Miller, Okaro White, Terrance Shannon, Xavier Gibson and Jon Kreft, but that 52-51 loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC tournament serves as an example of FSU's offensive ceiling.
6. Virginia Tech (9-7, 22-12): The window may be closing on Seth Greenberg's hope to turn the Hokies into a genuine contender.
He can build around Dorenzo Hudson, J.T. Thompson and Erick Green, and forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and C.J. Barksdale anchor an impressive recruiting haul. But if the Hokies couldn't crack the NCAA tournament with Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen, it's difficult to believe it'll happen soon without them.
7. Clemson (9-7, 22-12): Tigers coach Brad Brownell had an impressive first year.
But even with Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant, the Tigers barely averaged 66 points in ACC games.
The likely starters will be Andre Young, Milton Jennings, Devin Booker, Tanner Smith and maybe freshman Bernard Sullivan (6-8, 220).
8. N.C. State (5-11, 15-16): No matter who winds up as coach, the roster should still include C.J. Williams, Scott Wood, Ryan Harrow, Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown, Jordan Vandenberg and DeShawn Painter at its leanest.
If C.J. Leslie returns and improves, the upside remains fairly bright.
9. Virginia (7-9, 16-15): Forward Mike Scott may come back as a medical redshirt, but Tony Bennett's third team will be small again, and it's probably too late for Assane Sene to add much bulk.
Sammy Zeglinski, K.T. Harrell, Joe Harris, signee Malcolm Brogdon and Jontel Evans and Billy Baron will provide some quickness. Recruit Paul Jesperson is listed as tall as 6-7, but he isn't like to throw much weight around inside at 180 pounds.
Redshirt freshman James Johnson (6-9, 240) is an X-factor.
10. Georgia Tech (5-11, 13-18): Working on the assumption that Brian Gregory will get the usual bump from beginner's luck, the Yellow Jackets will move up at least a spot or two with or without Iman Shumpert.
11. Boston College (9-7, 21-13): No one really thinks guard Reggie Jackson will come back. But even if he does, Eagles coach Steve Donahue is at least another recruiting class away from having enough talent to make much noise.
12. Wake Forest (1-15, 8-24): There should be some improvement, but more than three ACC wins is a long shot.
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