Previewing the 2013-14 ACC basketball season

Posted by Andrew Carter on November 8, 2013 

Duke players (from left) forward Rodney Hood, guard Quinn Cook, forward Josh Hairston, guard Andre Dawkins and guard Tyler Thornton are ready to play a new uptempo game for the Blue Devils. Here they are pictured at “The Cage” an outdoor basketball court at the American Tobacco Complex in Durham.

CHUCK LIDDY -- CLIDDY@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

If you’re in the greater Triangle area – or even in parts outside of it, where they sell fine newspapers in stores everywhere – then I recommend picking up a copy of The News & Observer. In it, you’ll find a jam-packed, comprehensive college basketball preview special section.

I grew up in this area, and remember waiting for this day every fall – the day when The N&O would come out with its college basketball preview. It was always a highly-anticipated day in my world. And I’d like to think that we did it right this year – from the very awesome cover shot (seen above) featuring Duke players at an outdoor court in downtown Durham – to the many insightful, well-done stories about the teams we cover.

Nobody covers ACC basketball with the depth and insight of The News & Observer, and so we hope you enjoy the special section. If by chance you can’t get your hands on a print edition today – and I highly recommend you do, because you won’t be disappointed – then here’s where you can find our stories online:

About the ACC:

--An all-encompassing team-by-team look at the new-look ACC. Best-case scenarios. Worst-case scenarios. Can Duke win the national championship? Might Virginia Tech be among the worst teams in the history of the conference? It’s all here.

--Who doesn’t love a good back-and-forth conversation about the issues? Staff columnist Luke DeCock and longtime ACC writer Barry Jacobs discuss some of the most interesting topics surrounding the start of the season in the ACC. I imagine them pausing between sentences for a sip of fine scotch or, perhaps, to stoke the logs in the fire while they debate these issues while on retreat in the N&O mountain cabin.

--And who doesn’t love predictions? Here’s how our members of our staff see the conference and the player of the year races playing out. One thing we all agree on? Duke finishing first.

Meanwhile, at Duke …

--Bad news for the ACC – and the nation: This Duke team is built a lot like Mike Krzyzewski’s Olympic teams.

-- Rodney Hood had to sit out a year after transferring from Mississippi State. Now it’s his time.

--Everything you need to know about the Blue Devils.

--Scouting Duke’s starting five.

And down the road a ways, at UNC …

--After a half-season of small ball, will there be a frontcourt revival in Chapel Hill? Roy Williams certainly hopes.

--Marcus Paige went through some growing pains, but he has grown into UNC’s unquestioned leader.

--Everything you need to know about the Tar Heels.

--Scouting UNC’s starting five.

And circling back east, at N.C. State …

-- T.J. Warren stayed while just about everyone else left the Wolfpack. Now N.C. State is his team.

--Ralston Turner, the transfer from LSU, is willing to drive the bus, cook, and everything else. He’ll need to play well, too, for the Wolfpack to exceed expectations.

--Everything you need to know about the Wolfpack.

--Scouting N.C. State’s starting five.

And we didn’t forget about you, Wake Forest …

--After three losing seasons, coach Jeff Bzdelik has some hope. But he will he have enough wins this season?

We hope you liked reading all of this as much as we did putting it all together. And now … it’s (nearly) time for tip-off.

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