The ACC is in a unique position heading into the 2023-24 season. The conference will play one final year with 15 league members before adding Cal and Stanford to the mix for the 2024-25 academic year. 

For the second consecutive season, the ACC sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament and finished No. 7 in the conference rankings behind every other Power-Six school and the Mountain West. The two previous seasons before last, the ACC finished No. 5 in the conference power rankings.

During the last two decades, the ACC has had more overall success in basketball top to bottom as any major conference. Five different league members (Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia and Louisville) have all won national championships in the last 21 years. 

Even though the conference is trending toward a slow decline, there's reason for optimism that this season will be different. Miami is fresh off a surprise run to the Final Four and returns three starters. Duke heads into the season as a consensus top-5 team under second-year head coach Jon Scheyer and returns four starters from an ACC Tournament championship roster. North Carolina is seeking a huge bounce back season after failing to make the NCAA Tournament after starting as the top team in the preseason polls.

CBS Sports ACC Preseason Player of the Year

Kyle Filipowski | F | Duke

One of the biggest surprises of the offseason was Filipowski turning down NBA money to come back to Durham for another season. Filipowski was the ACC Rookie of the Year and averaged 15.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists as the Blue Devils won nine consecutive games toward the end of the season to capture the ACC Tournament title. Filipowski should be one of the favorites to dethrone Purdue's Zach Edey for National Player of the Year and another quality season with the Blue Devils could see his draft stock soar come the 2024 NBA Draft.

Four more players to watch in the ACC

Armando Bacot | C | North Carolina: Bacot is back with the Tar Heels for another run after averaging 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds last season. Both of those numbers were a decline from his 2021-22 season that saw him average 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds during UNC's run to the Final Four.

Blake Hinson | F | Pittsburgh: Hinson is coming off a career-high 15.3 points and 6 rebounds. He helped lead Pitt to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years and it marked the first appearance in Jeff Capel's stint at the school.

Nijel Pack | G | Miami: The Hurricanes lost their two leading scorers from last season to the NBA Draft and Pack is poised to be given a bigger role after averaging 13.6 points during the regular season and 16.4 points during the NCAA Tournament.

Tyrese Proctor | G | Duke: Proctor, like Filipowski, could've easily been a one-and-done candidate. Instead, he returns to Duke coming off a season in which he averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds.

CBS Sports ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year

Elliot Cadeau | G | North Carolina

One of the biggest weaknesses of the 2022-23 North Carolina roster was averaging only 12 assists per game last season, which ranked No. 264 in the nation. With Caleb Love moving on to Arizona, Cadeau is poised to take over as the starting point guard. He is one of the true floor generals from the 2023 recruiting cycle and is a plug-and-play starter for coach Hubert Davis. North Carolina hasn't had a passing point guard of Cadeau's talent in quite some time and he finished as the No. 12 overall prospect after reclassifying from the 2024 class.

CBS Sports ACC predicted order of finish

The Blue Devils appear to be the clear-cut favorite in the ACC this season. Duke returns four starters (Tyrese Proctor, Jeremy Roach, Kyle Filipowski and Mark Mitchell) and welcomes the No. 2 recruiting class in the country to campus. The headliner from the 2023 recruiting class is sharpshooter Jared McCain and he should have a chance to compete for a starting role or significant minutes off the bench right away. Other freshmen on the roster that should also be in the rotation are Caleb Foster, TJ Power and Sean Stewart. The second season at the helm for coach Jon Scheyer should be even better than the first.
North Carolina had one of the most disappointing seasons in program history last year after starting the season as the No. 1 team before missing the NCAA Tournament entirely. There's reason to believe this year could be different in the third season of the Hubert Davis era. UNC's return to the Big Dance starts with starters Armando Bacot and RJ Davis coming back and improving their individual stats from last season. UNC added two key players via the transfer portal in Notre Dame's Cormac Ryan and former five-star prospect Harrison Ingram from Stanford. Both should be a significant part of the rotation. Elliot Cadeau is our pick to win ACC Freshman of the Year and should contribute from Day 1 in the passing game. Davis guided UNC to the title game in his first season after taking over for legendary coach Roy Williams. As long as Bacot is healthy, those high expectations will remain.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga worked his magic once again last season and guided the Hurricanes to the Final Four. The deep postseason run came one season after he helped the school reach the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The Hurricanes' two leading scorers from that Final Four team (Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller) both departed for the NBA, but Larranaga does bring back Nijel Pack, talented forward Norchad Omier and sharpshooter Bentley Joseph. Miami also landed ACC transfer Matthew Cleveland from Florida State and he should help replace some of the production lost at the guard position.
Clemson just missed out on the NCAA Tournament after finishing 23-11 overall and 14-6 in ACC play. The good news is the Tigers return their best player from last season in ACC All-Conference big man PJ Hall, who averaged 15.3 points and 5.7 assists. Clemson added one of the most experienced players from the ACC in Syracuse transfer Joseph Girard lll. Girard also happens to be the leading scorer returning from the conference. The Tigers will have to replace star guard Hunter Tyson after he departed to the NBA. Returning guard Chase Hunter and Air Force transfer Jake Heidbreder are expected to fill the void.
This will be one of Tony Bennett's least experienced teams since he took over the program in 2009. The Cavaliers return only one player that played at least 22 minutes per game (Reece Beekman) and lost five of their top seven players from last season (Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, Kihei Clark, Ben Vander Plan and Kadin Shedrick). Virginia expects a Year 2 jump from Isaac McKneely after he had some big performances late in the season as a true freshman. The Cavaliers were active in the transfer portal and two of the most notable additions were Merrimack transfer forward Jordan Minor and Oklahoma transfer forward Jake Groves.
Is this the year that Steve Forbes leads Wake Forest to the NCAA Tournament? The Demon Deacons reached the First Four in 2017 under former coach Danny Manning, but haven't reached the Round of 64 since the 2009-10 season. Hunter Sallis, the former No. 10 overall recruit from the 2021 class transferred to Wake Forest from Gonzaga and should have a larger role after coming off the bench the last two seasons of his college career. Wake Forest will have to replace the production of star guard Tyree Appleby (18.8 points, 6.4 assists) but they do bring back three starters from last season in Andrew Carr, Cameron Hildreth and Damari Monsanto.
Virginia Tech started the 2022-23 season hot. At one point, the Hokies were 11-1, but then they lost seven consecutive games and finished No. 11 overall in the ACC with an 8-12 record. Virginia Tech lost two of its best players this offseason in Grant Basile and Justyn Mutts, but the good news is Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor are back. The Hokies added Robbie Beran from Northwestern and Mekhi Long from Old Dominion for depth in the frontcourt that should make them an NCAA Tournament bubble team.
NC State used the transfer portal heavily last season to get back to the NCAA Tournament after a 4-16 showing in ACC play the year before. Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts struck gold by landing Ole Miss transfer Jarkel Joiner and he provided a true 1-2 punch with star guard Terquavion Smith. NC State returns only five scholarship players this season and four of its top six scorers from the 2022-23 season are gone. Once again, NC State used the transfer portal to reload the roster. Joining returners DJ Burns and Casey Morsell are Butler's Jayden Taylor and Arizona State's DJ Horne.
After reaching the NCAA Tournament four consecutive times under coach Leonard Hamilton, Florida State has failed to reach the postseason in back-to-back seasons. That includes a 9-23 overall showing last season in which the Seminoles went 2-10 in nonconference play and lost two of their best players to the transfer portal (Matthew Cleveland to Miami and Caleb Mills to Memphis). Nine players are back from last season and Florida State hit the transfer portal hard by landing VCU's Jamir Watkins, La Salle's Josh Nickelberry and Georgetown's Primo Spears. Florida State landed one of the top players from the 2023 recruiting class in forward Taylor Bowen. 
For the first time in the Jeff Capel era, Pittsburgh reached the NCAA Tournament after missing the postseason entirely during his first four years at the school. The Panthers have one of the top players in the ACC in Blake Hinson and he should form a nice duo with returner Federiko Federiko. Pitt landed Rhode Island transfer guard Ishmael Leggett, who averaged over 16 points per game last season. Capel was once the recruiting guru for Duke under Coach K and he helped the Panthers land three top-100 recruits in the 2023 cycle: Papa Kante, Jaland Lowe and Carlton Carrington.
It's been a long time since anyone other than Jim Boeheim was the basketball coach at Syracuse — 47 seasons to be exact. Boeheim's lead assistant and former player Adrian Autry will be put to the task of replacing one of the all-time win leaders in NCAA history. The ACC has gone through three major coaching changes in recent years. Duke and North Carolina had immediate success in the first year of a new era and if Syracuse wants to replicate that, it will rely heavily on star guard Judah Mintz. Since joining the ACC in 2013, the Orange are 66-64 in ACC play.
The last time Boston College reached the NCAA Tournament was 2009. Eagles coach Earl Grant hopes his third season at the helm could be a turning point in getting back to the Big Dance. The Eagles have finished with a losing record in five consecutive seasons, but there's reason for optimism. Boston College returns big man Quinten Post, who averaged 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds, and added guard Claudell Harris Jr. from the transfer portal. With the ACC being more wide open top to bottom than usual, BC has a better chance than ever to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia Tech made a splash this offseason by hiring Damon Stoudamire away from his position with the Boston Celtics to replace Josh Pastner. The Yellow Jackets bring back some firepower from last season and that includes guards Miles Kelly, Dallan Coleman, Kyle Sturdivant and Lance Terry. A transfer expected to make an impact is former Western Carolina big man Tyzhaun Claude after he averaged 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds last season. Georgia Tech has made the NCAA Tournament only once since the 2009-10 season and Stoudamire's job will be to lead the program back there.
Year 1 of Kenny Payne's tenure at Louisville couldn't have gone worse. The Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the country and ranked No. 290 out of 363 Division l teams in the rankings. Louisville finished last season 4-28 and looked uncompetitive in almost every game they played in. But when they thought it couldn't get any worse after the season, Louisville lost out on the DJ Wagner sweepstakes to in-state rival Kentucky before prized four-star signee Trentyn Flowers left the program this summer to play overseas for the Adelaide 36ers of the NBL. The Cardinals added former top recruit Skyy Clark and five-star freshman center Dennis Evans to the roster to increase the talent and Louisville should be better this season. Payne's job depends on it.
Notre Dame made one of the top moves of the offseason when they hired Micah Shrewsberry away from Penn State. The bad news for him is the Irish are the only team in the ACC that lost all five of their starters from last season. Shrewsberry faces a steep rebuild because Notre Dame doesn't have a current player on the roster that scored over 4.5 points last season. The Irish have missed out on the NCAA Tournament four of the last five times the tournament was held after being a staple in the big dance for most of the 2000s under longtime coach Mike Brey. Shrewsberry won't face the pressure to win right away and it's clear this is a long-term rebuild..

Most overrated team

Virginia: The Cavaliers have one of the best coaches in the sport, but it's hard to see them live up to their preseason billing because of the lack-of experience coming back. This is arguably Bennett's least experienced roster he's had since he's taken over the program and replacing four starters is no easy task. The ACC could be wide open this year, so it's tracking that this could be a boom or bust season for Virginia.

Most underrated team

Syracuse: In North Carolina's first season post-Roy Williams, the Tar Heels made the Final Four. In Duke's first season without Coach K, the Blue Devils won the ACC Tournament championship. I'm not saying either of those things will happen this season, but sometimes a new head coach can bring new life to a program.  After all, it's likely that Syracuse goes away from Boeheim's signature zone defense that's been a staple in college basketball for years. Syracuse being tabbed to finish No. 11 seems low, but they have only finished in the top-5 of the standings once since joining the ACC from the Big East in 2013.

CBS Sports ACC expert picks