BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

COACH: Jim Christian

LAST SEASON: 14-17, 5-13

STARTERS RETURNING: Nik Popovic, Steffon Mitchell, Jared Hamilton

STARTERS LOST: Ky Bowman, Jordan Chatman

KEY NEWCOMER: Southern Cal grad transfer Derryck Thornton

JIM CHRISTIAN ON REPLACING KY BOWMAN: “Ky was a guy that could create a lot of shots for himself and just hit big shots. I think the team has to now absorb those points, and I think the best way to do it … is scoring from defense, just creating more havoc on the court, creating more transition opportunities where everybody can get involved.”

NIK POPOVIC ON THE TEAM: “We have a great energy this year, and we have a size to our team, so we’re going to use it to our advantage to play good.”

CLEMSON TIGERS

COACH: Brad Brownell

LAST SEASON: 20-14, 9-9; lost in NIT second round

STARTER RETURNING: Aamir Simms

STARTERS LOST: Marcquise Reed, Elijah Thomas, Shelton Mitchell, David Skara

KEY NEWCOMER: Alabama grad transfer Tevin Mack

BRAD BROWNELL ON CLEMSON WINNING GOLD AT THE WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES IN JULY: “It’s a little bit of a different team [than last year] — seven new players. But coming off of [the] World University Games gold medal, something we’re really proud of and an experience that was really good for our players. … The result was probably something that was a little bit unexpected.”

GUARD JOHN NEWMAN III ON WINNING GOLD: “We won, so that’s obviously exciting, and I think that momentum is something that’s going to help carry us this season.”

DUKE BLUE DEVILS

COACH: Mike Krzyzewski

LAST SEASON: 32-6, 14-4; ACC Tournament champ; lost in Elite Eight

STARTER RETURNING: Tre Jones

STARTERS LOST: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Marques Bolden

KEY NEWCOMERS: Freshmen Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt, Wendell Moore and Cassius Stanley

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI ON THE TEAM: “I like my group. … There’s not the separation that we’ve had from our starting five to our bench like we’ve had in the last few years. The balance and togetherness hopefully will produce something really good for us.”

FORWARD JAVIN DeLAURIER ON THE TEAM: “The freshmen have come in, they’ve worked really hard and they’re eager to learn. We also just have more vets than we have in years past, and so having that continuity has really helped us transition into becoming a team.”

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

COACH: Leonard Hamilton

LAST SEASON: 29-8, 13-5; lost in Sweet 16

STARTERS RETURNING: Trent Forrest, M.J. Walker

STARTERS LOST: Terance Mann, Phil Cofer, Christ Koumadje; key reserve Mfiondu Kabengele also must be replaced

KEY NEWCOMER: Freshman Patrick Williams

LEONARD HAMILTON ON THE SUCCESS OF HIS PROGRAM: “We try to develop a system that, as we’re moving players on, we have guys with experience that are returning that can set the table and give us good leadership. … The culture now will allow us to be consistent and successful year in and year out.”

HAMILTON ON THE TEAM: “We are still driven by the fact that we have not won a championship, which I’m not real sure very many people feel like that should be a goal of ours, but we’ve been knocking on the door the last several years. But the fact that we haven’t made it to the Final Four, … our guys are extremely motivated.”

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

COACH: Josh Pastner

LAST SEASON: 14-18, 6-12

STARTERS RETURNING: Jose Alvarado, James Banks, Michael Devoe, Moses Wright

STARTER LOST: Curtis Haywood

KEY NEWCOMER: VMI transfer Bubba Parham (immediately eligible)

JOSH PASTNER ON THE TEAM: “This year’s team, we’re older. We have great experience, and that’s both from guys growing within the program and then getting … transfers who have already been in college. So it’s part of our formula for what we’re trying to do to have success.”

JAMES BANKS ON THE NEWCOMERS: “We’ll be able to surprise a lot of people this year. Our transfers are really exciting. We have Bubba, who’s dangerous anywhere from three-quarter court. We’ve got Jordan Usher [a USC transfer who will be eligible after the fall semester]. … He’s really a violent attacker.”

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS

COACH: Chris Mack

LAST SEASON: 20-14, 10-8; lost in NCAA round of 64

STARTERS RETURNING: Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Malik Williams

STARTERS LOST: Christen Cunningham, Khwan Fore

KEY NEWCOMERS: St. Joe’s grad transfer Lamarr Kimble and freshman Samuell Williamson

CHRIS MACK ON LOUISVILLE LOSING SIX OF ITS FINAL EIGHT GAMES LAST YEAR: “I talked to our team a lot about the word ‘finishing,’ being able to finish a practice, finish a drill, finish a game, finish a season, which I know may seem like a far-reaching or a broader way to look at things, but I think that’s important that our team really focus on that.”

MACK ON THE TEAM: “Having 13 scholarship players as opposed to eight or nine healthy scholarship players a year ago has made a world of difference.”

MIAMI HURRICANES

COACH: Jim Larranaga

LAST SEASON: 14-18, 5-13

STARTERS RETURNING: Chris Lykes, DJ Vasiljevic

STARTERS LOST: Anthony Lawrence, Zach Johnson, Ebuka Izudnu

KEY NEWCOMER: Oklahoma transfer Kameron McGusty (sat out last year)

DJ VASILJEVIC ON THE OFFENSIVE APPROACH: “We’re emphasizing in practice to catch and shoot a lot because … the catch and shoot is the best 3-point shot there is.”

CHRIS LYKES ON THE 3-POINT LINE BEING MOVED BACK TO 22 FEET, 1 3/4 INCHES: “We’ve got guys that can really shoot the ball. So I don’t think the line is affecting guys too much. ‘Coach L’ has been preaching to us about catch and shoot, and that’s kind of the way basketball is translating to right now. Getting in the paint and kicking it out for threes.”

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS

COACH: Roy Williams

LAST SEASON: 29-7, 16-2; tied for ACC regular-season title; lost in Sweet 16

STARTER RETURNING: Garrison Brooks

STARTERS LOST: Cameron Johnson, Coby White, Luke Maye, Kenny Williams; key reserve Nassir Little also must be replaced

KEY NEWCOMERS: Freshmen Cole Anthony and Armando Bacot; Charleston Southern grad transfer Christian Keeling; William and Mary grad transfer Justin Pierce

ROY WILLIAMS ON THE OFFENSIVE APPROACH: “We’ve got to run and make sure we can score some in the open court. For us, it’s get the ball in the point guard’s hands and [for] him to push it as fast as he can.”

WILLIAMS ON REBOUNDING: “Garrison is rebounding the ball even better. [Brandon Robinson’s] understanding we want him to go to the boards. I’ll say Armando and [Brandon Huffman] and Walker [Miller] and Sterling [Manley] … are going to understand that too. I think rebounding is the most important factor in the game.”

N.C. STATE WOLFPACK

COACH: Kevin Keatts

LAST SEASON: 24-12, 9-9 lost in NIT quarterfinals

STARTERS RETURNING: Markell Johnson, C.J. Bryce, Braxton Beverly; key reserve D.J. Funderburk also returns

STARTERS LOST: Torin Dorn, Wyatt Walker

KEY NEWCOMER: Lehigh grad transfer Pat Andree

KEVIN KEATTS ON LAST YEAR: “We were all a little disappointed about the outcome of not making the NCAA Tournament last year. But that being said, we put that behind us and we’re really focused on moving on. I like our team. … We have the most returners that we’ve ever had [under Keatts], which is seven.”

KEATTS ON HIS SYSTEM: “We want to run a three-second offense and fast break and try to get the ball up and try to score without setting the offense up. Defensively, we want to create off the defense, trying to get as many easy baskets as we can. … I would love to run even a little bit more if we could.”

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH

COACH: Mike Brey

LAST SEASON: 14-19, 3-15

STARTERS RETURNING: John Mooney, T.J. Gibbs, Prentiss Hubb, Rex Pflueger

STARTER LOST: D.J. Harvey

KEY NEWCOMER: no newcomers

MIKE BREY ON THE TEAM: “We have really [almost] everybody back and some continuity and some young guys that got some minutes and are better. We’re older, we’re better, we’re healthier.”

BREY ON LAST SEASON: “I think [the players] have a little chip on their shoulder. I mean, we got punched hard last year. I think they’re hungry to kind of bounce back, and they’re older and better for it. … We missed being a part of March Madness the last two seasons.”

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS

COACH: Jeff Capel

LAST SEASON: 14-19, 3-15

STARTERS RETURNING: Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens, Au’Diese Toney, Terrell Brown

STARTER LOST: Jared Wilson-Frame

KEY NEWCOMER: UNC Greensboro grad transfer Eric Hamilton

JEFF CAPEL ON THE TEAM: “We have an opportunity to be better defensively than we were last year. I think first and foremost, we’ll have experience. … We added depth in the backcourt. We have more quality depth that we can play. And then I think our inside guys have gotten better.”

CAPEL ON THE PROGRAM: “We had a lot of growth as a program in Year 1. It didn’t necessarily equate into as many wins as we would have liked. … I understand that it takes time. We want to have a solid foundation. Anything that’s sustainable is built on [a] solid foundation, and that’s what we’re trying to establish right now.”

SYRACUSE ORANGE

COACH: Jim Boeheim

LAST SEASON: 20-14, 10-8; lost in NCAA round of 64

STARTER RETURNING: Elijah Hughes

STARTERS LOST: Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Frank Howard, Pascal Chukwu

KEY NEWCOMER: Freshman Quincy Guerrier

JIM BOEHEIM ON THE OFFENSE: “Offensively we have a chance to be a much better team, a much quicker up-the-court team. … Our offense has a chance to be better than people might expect it to be because we’re a much better shooting team. … We’re a much, much better 3-point shooting team.”

BOEHEIM ON THE DEFENSE: “Our defense is going to need improvement. I think the veteran guys [the team lost] were really good at our defense. … Our defense is going to have to be something that gets better. We think we can get better defensively.”

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS

COACH: Danny Manning

LAST SEASON: 11-20, 4-14

STARTERS RETURNING: Brandon Childress, Chaundee Brown, Sharone Wright, Olivier Sarr

STARTER LOST: Jaylen Hoard

KEY NEWCOMER: Charlotte transfer Andrien White (sat out last year)

BRANDON CHILDRESS ON THE TEAM’S EXPERIENCE: “We have a lot of guys returning. … Now that [almost] everyone is returning, I’m actually excited.”

DANNY MANNING ON THE TEAM: “We have three senior guards that have played minutes in college and understand what it takes to be somewhat successful. … We have some upperclassman frontcourt players that we feel are going to make great contributions. … This is probably the first year in some time where we haven’t had to throw our freshmen to the fire and depend on them night in and night out.”

— Capsules by Mark Berman

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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