Wolfpack are the pick to win the ACC, but should they be?

Mark Gottfried has NC State as the preseason favorite in the ACC for the first time since 1975. (US Presswire)

And now it's official -- North Carolina State is the pick to win the ACC, according to a vote conducted by the league's 12 head coaches that was announced Monday. The Wolfpack got eight first-place votes; that's five more than Duke and eight more than North Carolina. So that sound you hear coming from Raleigh is the sound of a hungry and passionate fan base celebrating, as they should.

But should N.C. State really be the favorite in the ACC?

I think that's a reasonable question.

Yes, UNC lost a lot and Duke's roster is full of questions. But the people touting N.C. State as a Sweet 16 team returning four starters usually fail to mention that N.C. State is also a team that finished last regular season 21-11 overall and just 9-7 in the ACC. In other words, the Wolfpack weren't that good for much of the year. They just got hot late and advanced.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting N.C. State is way overrated.

I'd probably pick the Wolfpack second in the ACC.

So we're splitting hairs here at best.

My only point is that simply labeling the Wolfpack as a Sweet 16 team returning four starters doesn't quite tell the whole story. If they pick up where they left off (and get even better thanks to the addition of Rodney Purvis), clear some space for another banner. But if they look more like the team we watched for much of last season then they could easily find themselves behind UNC and Duke in the standings. Again.

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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