The Syracuse University men’s basketball team is picked to finish sixth among 15 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the annual conference media poll unveiled Wednesday.

Virginia is selected to win the conference and garnered 97 of a possible 155 first-place votes. The Cavaliers are followed by Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, and Louisville in the top five.

Syracuse went 18-14 overall and 10-10 in the ACC last year to tie for sixth place in the conference standings. The Orange will return five of its top six players from last year’s rotation, along with the addition of Illinois transfer, Alan Griffin, for Jim Boeheim’s 45th season as head coach.

Syracuse also confirmed Wednesday the addition of a nonconference game against Buffalo for Dec. 19 in the Carrier Dome.

The Orange is scheduled to open the upcoming season in its only other confirmed nonconference outing, Dec. 8 at Rutgers, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The team is expected to announce more nonconference games in the coming weeks.

Syracuse was shut out in the ACC Preseason Awards released alongside the media poll. North Carolina’s Garrison Brooks was voted as ACC Preseason Player of the Year while Florida State rookie Scottie Barnes was recognized as the ACC Freshman of the Year.

They were each named to the six-player Preseason All-ACC first team along with Virginia’s Sam Hauser, Aamir Sims of Clemson, Chris Lykes of Miami (Fla.), and Duke freshman Jalen Johnson.

The ACC media poll’s overall predicted order of finish is Virginia, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Louisville, Syracuse, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Boston College, and Wake Forest.

WILLIAMS SIGNS FOR 2021

Benny Williams signed his national letter of intent to join the Syracuse men’s basketball team for next season on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday.

The 6-foot-8, four-star forward from Bowie, Md., verbally committed to SU on June 4 and is the lone incoming freshman expected to join the Orange for the 2021-22 season.

Williams is rated as the seventh best small forward and No. 32 player overall nationally by 247Sports. He chose SU over reported offers from Georgetown, Maryland, Florida, and Miami, Fla.

SU WOMEN GET AP RANKING

The Syracuse University women’s basketball team was ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25 poll released Wednesday, the same day that its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule for the upcoming season was unveiled.

The Orange is scheduled to open the 20-game ACC slate on Dec. 10 at Miami, Fla., and will host North Carolina in its first home conference game on Dec. 31 in the Carrier Dome. The SU women’s team has yet to announce any nonconference games.

Syracuse will play six opponents twice this season — Boston College, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh — and single games against the rest of the ACC, with game times to be determined.

Syracuse’s ACC home games are against North Carolina (Dec. 31), Virginia (Jan. 7), Notre Dame (Jan. 10), Miami, Fla. (Jan. 17), Pittsburgh (Jan. 28), Wake Forest (Feb. 4), Louisville (Feb. 14), Boston College (Feb. 25), and North Carolina State (Feb. 28).

The Orange is slated for road games at Miami, Fla. (Dec. 10), North Carolina (Dec. 17), Boston College (Dec. 20), Georgia Tech (Jan. 14), Duke (Jan. 21), Clemson (Jan. 24), Louisville (Feb. 1), Pittsburgh (Feb. 7), Florida State (Feb. 11), Notre Dame (Feb. 18), and Virginia Tech (Feb. 21).

Syracuse is part of the AP Preseason Top 25 for the sixth time in the last seven years as it enters the 15th season under head coach Quentin Hillsman.

The team returns All-ACC selection and leading scorer Kiara Lewis (17.3 points per game) among four starters back to go with a top-five debuting freshman class and the return of Tiana Mangakahia. The fifth-year point guard tallied 1,114 career points and a school-record 591 career assists in her two seasons at SU before missing last year while recovering from Stage 2 breast cancer.

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