By Marty Gordon
The Atlantic Coast Conference has released its preseason basketball poll, and the VT men were placed in the number seven spot while the Virginia Tech women were picked to finish second, the Hokies’ highest pre-season ranking ever. All voting was conducted by the media covering ACC Tipoff in Charlotte last week.
The conference also announced its preseason men’s basketball awards live on ACC PM with Virginia Tech forward Justyn Mutts earning Preseason All-ACC honors.
Mutts was named to the second team after averaging 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 2021-22. He enters his third season in Blacksburg with 107 games started, the third-most in the ACC.
After exploring his professional options, Mutts opted to return to Blacksburg for the 2022-23 season. The Millville, N.J., native scored in double figures 17 times last season, including a season-high 24 points vs. Notre Dame on Jan. 15, 2022. He dialed up Tech’s second-ever triple-double behind 12 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists vs. Syracuse on Feb. 12, 2022.
On the women’s side, Taylor Soule and Ashley Owusu were put on award watch lists and Elizabeth Kitley was picked as the preseason ACC Player of the Year.
Last season, Kitley was among the league leaders in scoring (18.1), rebounds (9.8), blocks (2.4) and field goal percentage(.551). Her 15 double-doubles led the conference as did her 13 games of 20 or more points. She scored 34 points twice and finished the year with a 42-point performance in the NCAA Tournament, the second-most ever scored in the opening round of the competition. She recorded four or more blocks in nine different contests. Her 237 made field goals set a program record for a single season. She ranks ninth all-time at VT in scoring (1,410), fifth in rebounds (800), and third in blocks (187).
Her numerous accolades from last season include AP All-America Third Team, Kay Yow Scholar Athlete of the Year, finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, semifinalist for the Naismith Award, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Third Team All-American and First Team All-ACC and All-Defensive Team.
Coming off a Final Four appearance, Louisville is the 2022-23 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball preseason favorite, according to the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel composed of the ACC’s 15 head coaches and a select voting panel.
The Cardinals, who were slotted No. 7 nationally in Tuesday’s Preseason AP Poll, received 31 of 60 first-place votes in the ACC balloting with a total of 1,069 points.
The VT women earned their predicted second-place finish by picking up 17 first-place votes and 984 points. Three-time defending ACC champion NC State closely followed at No. 3 with eight first-place votes and 963 points.
Notre Dame earned the final four first-place votes and 942 points while North Carolina rounded out the top-5 with 895 points. Miami placed sixth with 674 points, while Duke landed seventh at 627 points.
Georgia Tech (623 points) followed in eighth with Florida State (553) and Syracuse (370) rounding out the top-10, respectively. Virginia (303), Clemson (275), Boston College (271), Wake Forest (256) and Pitt (187) close out this year’s predicted order of finish on the women’s side.
North Carolina was voted the preseason favorite to win the 2022-23 conference Men’s Basketball Championship. Also ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason Associated Press poll, the Tar Heels are the preseason ACC favorites for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
North Carolina received 90 of the 101 first-place votes and piled up 1,504 total points. Duke picked up two first-place votes and totaled 1,339 points to finish second in the men’s poll while Virginia racked up six first-place votes and 1,310 points to take third. Miami received a pair of first-place votes and 1,138 points for fourth place while Florida State totaled 1,064 points for fifth place.
Notre Dame (971) was sixth in the men’s poll while reigning ACC champion Virginia Tech (921) picked up the final first-place vote and was picked to finish seventh. Syracuse, Wake Forest, NC State, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, Pitt, and Georgia Tech were picked to finish eighth through 15th, respectively.
The media voters selected North Carolina’s Armando Bacot as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year while Duke’s Dereck Lively II received the nod as ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year.
ACC Women’s Preseason Poll
- Louisville 2. Virginia Tech 3. NC State 4. Notre Dame 5. North Carolina 6. Miami 7. Duke 8. Georgia Tech 9. FSU 10. Syracuse 11. Virginia 12. Clemson 13. Boston College 14. Wake Forest 15. Pitt
ACC Men’s Preseason Poll
- North Carolina 2. Duke 3. Virginia 4. Miami 5. FSU 6. Notre Dame 7. Virginia Tech 8. Syracuse 9. Wake Forest 10. NC State 11. Clemson 12. Louisville 13. Boston College, 14. Pitt 15. Georgia Tech