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ACC basketball notebook: Pitt picked 6th in preseason poll

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 8:51 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pitt was picked to finish sixth in its inaugural season in an ACC preseason poll at Operation Basketball media day Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The Panthers, who finished 24-9 last season, received 477 points from 54 ballots.

Duke is the overwhelming favorite to win the expanded 15-team conference.

The Blue Devils received 805 points and 50 first-place votes.

Syracuse was second, with 753 points and three first-place votes, followed by North Carolina with 668 points and one first-place vote, Virginia (612) and Notre Dame (608).

Syracuse forward C.J. Fair was chosen the preseason ACC Player of the Year, edging Virginia guard Joe Harris by one vote.

Duke forward Jabari Parker was picked ACC Rookie of the Year.

The trio was joined on the preseason all-ACC team by Duke forward Rodney Hood and Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant.

Wright stuff

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said Cameron Wright is the leading candidate to start at shooting guard, calling the 6-foot-5 redshirt junior “a better player in every way than he was last year.”

“He's going to have a great year,” Dixon said. “He's playing really good, as well as anyone on the team.”

Good as gold

Mike Krzyzewski believes the national hype surrounding the Duke-North Carolina rivalry not only overshadowed the rest of the ACC programs but did a disservice to the conference. The Duke coach sees the addition of Pitt, Notre Dame and Syracuse as a positive sign for starting instant rivalries.

“We're going to see much more than Duke and Carolina showcased in this league with all these new additions,” Krzyzewski said.

“I think it's a great time for that. In some way, I think, that may have held the league back or held the people who think about basketball in our league back because you had this golden goose of Duke and Carolina.

“Now we don't have just one goose, man. We've got a lot.”

ACC in Big Apple?

The ACC Tournament will be March 12-16 at Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum, marking the 25th time it will play host.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said there is “certainly some logic” behind the possibility that the event could be played in New York in the future.

“I wouldn't want to handicap that,” Swofford said, “but you have to consider that with our footprint now including New York City.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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