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Countdown to Tipoff: Previewing Miami, North Carolina, Florida State

Top ACC programs continue to reload

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Hurricanes

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Miami vs Loyola Chicago Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Location: Coral Gables, FL

2017-2018 Record: 22-10, 11-7 in conference

Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga, 161-79 at Miami, 631-413 Overall

Best Season: 2000, 2013, 2016 – Sweet Sixteen

Record vs. Jackets: 13-9

Pre-Season pick: 10th

Leading returning scorer: Dewan Huell, 11.4 point per game

Jim Larrañaga spent seven years building the Canes into a competitor in the ACC. Junior forward Dewan Huell is the only returning double figure scorer but expect the Canes to rely on graduate transfer Zach Johnson to carry the scoring load. Johnson averaged 16.1 points per game last year at Florida Gulf Coast. Chris Lykes, a 5-7 guard looks to be the floor general for the Canes, after working his way into the starting lineup late last season. Another player that is expected to help fill the scoring column for Miami is 6-3 junior guard DJ Vasiljevic, he shot 41% from behind the arc last season. Miami doesn’t have a true freshman on the roster after missing on a few high-profile recruits in the 2018 class.

North Carolina Tar Heels

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs North Carolina Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

2017-2018 Record: 26-11, 11-7 in conference

Head Coach: Roy Williams, 424-126 at UNC, 842-227 Overall

Best Season: 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017 – National Champions

Record vs. Jackets: 68-25

Pre-Season pick: 3rd in the ACC, 8th in the Pre-season AP poll

Leading returning scorer: Luke Maye, 16.9 points per game

Roy Williams goes into his 16th season in Chapel Hill with a team that has a legitimate shot to win the fourth title in his UNC tenure. The Tar Heels will be led by three seniors: ACC Pre-season player of the year Luke Maye, 6-8 transfer Cam Johnson, and 6-4 guard Kenny Williams. These three will form the backbone of a talented UNC squad. There was quite the recruiting haul for the Tar Heels in 2018, signing two McDonald’s All-Americans for the first time since 2014 in 6-7 Nassir Little and 6-3 Coby White. Williams will look to blend veterans and talented youngsters as the Tar Heels chase their 7th national title.

Florida State Seminoles

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Michigan vs Florida State Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Location: Tallahassee, FL

2017-2018 Record: 23-12, 9-9 in conference

Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton, 305-208 at FSU, 505-418 Overall

Best Season: 1972 – National Runner-up

Record vs. Jackets: 40-29

Pre-Season pick: 7th in the ACC, 17th in the Pre-season AP poll

Leading returning scorer: Phil Cofer, 12.8 points per game

Leonard Hamilton is coming off his deepest NCAA tournament run as a head coach, but he will have to replace two integral parts of last year’s squad: CJ Walker and Ike Obiagu. Convincing Cofer to return was a win for the Seminoles. Terance Mann is the other returning double figure scorer for the Noles. David Nichols is a grad transfer that was a 14.6 point per game scorer at Albany who hopes to continue that tear in the ACC. A small 2018 class shows the depth and experience the Noles will bring to court. Look for FSU to fight to solidify its place in the middle of the ACC pecking order.