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ACC headlines


Here are three ACC story lines to watch as the 2001-02 season unfolds:

Mike Dunleavy Jr. left early and was the No. 3 overall pick.

The Blue Devils were the last team to win back-to-back national titles in 1991 and '92. Can they win it again, even without Shane Battier, who was the consummate star in every facet of the game? Can Dahntay Jones come in and make up for what Duke loses without Battier? The experience of Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and the best backcourt in America in Jason Williams and Chris Duhon, could give Coach K consecutive champions.

The Tar Heels have finished third or better in the ACC 37 straight years (they finished fifth in 1964). North Carolina has won 20 or more games 31 straight seasons (1970 was the last time they fell short, winning 18 that season). Matt Doherty's team has to get refocused after a poor finish. Losing Joseph Forte, Brendan Haywood, Julius Peppers and Ronald Curry makes the job difficult. Jason Capel, Kris Lang and a talented recruiting class will have to step up.

Will the N.C. State coach survive? The Wolfpack hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 1991 and the pressure is on. In his five seasons in Raleigh, Sendek's teams have never had a winning record in ACC play. Now Sendek will rely on a young nucleus, including high school standout Julius Hodge. This is an intelligent coach who knows X's and O's, but he understands the expectations.

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