Quick Previews: The ACC

Our conference quick previews are just quick predictions for the all-conference teams and the conference standings. If you came here looking for a deep analysis on each team, you’ve came to the wrong place. We’re too lazy to do that 🙂

This is our final conference preview and I think we saved the best for last. The record for most NCAA Tournament bids by a conference was when the old Big East sent 11 teams in 2011. The ACC probably won’t hit that number (we don’t think), but 10 is a real possibility. Duke, the #1 team in our Preseason Top 25, is the favorite to take the ACC crown. Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones is a really good group of returners. Giving that core recruits like Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson and Marques Bolden seems unfair. But in a league this good, Duke will have to fight for the title. North Carolina, #8 in our Top 25, lost their two best players from last year in Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, but the Tar Heels are definitely good enough to overcome that. Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, Joel Berry, Nate Britt and other key role returners combined with a strong recruiting class will have them fighting for the ACC championship once again. Right behind them at #9 in our Top 25 is Virginia. The Cavaliers lost Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill, but transfer Austin Nichols and point guard London Perrantes should have Tony Bennet’s crew around the Top 10 this season. Louisville, #15 in our Top 25, and Syracuse, #17, should both challenge for the top spot as well. The Cardinals don’t have a lot of name players, but they’ll still be really good. Look for Donovan Mitchell to have a breakout year. Syracuse returns 3 key players from last year’s surprise final four run, including our All-American pick Tyler Lydon. If Colorado State transfer John Gillon can step up at the guard position, this team could be dangerous.

Outside of the teams we have in our top 25, there are still many dangerous teams in the ACC. Notre Dame returns a nice nucleus in VJ Beachem, Steve Vasturia and Bonize Colson, although Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste are ginormous losses. Virginia Tech returns 4 starters from a team that won 20 games last year and is poised for a breakout season. The Hokies haven’t been to the Big Dance since 2007, but that looks like it will change this season. Miami took some huge hits with the departures of Sheldon McClellan, Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri. Jim Laranagga is one of the best coaches in the nation, though, and he’ll get Ja’Quan Newton, Davon Reed and newcomer Bruce Brown to lead them back to the NCAA Tournament. Florida State returns studs Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Combine that with a strong recruiting class and the Seminoles should be dancing as well. That’s 9 teams that should be dancing from the ACC. Who has a shot to give them to 10? North Carolina State is getting hype from some, but we’re not as high on them. They did bring in a nice recruiting class, but we don’t see them making the NCAA a Tournament. Clemson returns 3 starters from last year, including Jaron Blossomgame, and should be the ACC’s best chance at 10 bids.

ACC Projected Standings

(Records from 2015-2016 season)

1. Duke: 25-11 (11-7)

2. North Carolina: 33-7 (14-4)

3. Virginia: 29-8 (13-5)

4. Louisville: 23-8 (12-6)

5. Syracuse: 23-14 (9-9)

6. Notre Dame: 24-12 (11-7)

7. Virginia Tech: 20-15 (10-8)

8. Florida State: 20-14 (8-10)

9. Miami: 27-8 (13-5)

10. Clemson: 17-14 (10-8)

11. North Carolina State: 16-17 (5-13)

12. Pitt: 21-12 (9-9)

13. Wake Forest: 11-20 (2-16)

14. Georgia Tech: 21-15 (8-10)

15. Boston College: 7-25 (0-18)

First Team All-ACC

(Stats from 2015-2016 season unless noted)

Grayson Allen, Duke (21.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG) PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Tyler Lydon, Syracuse (10.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.6 BPG)

Justin Jackson, North Carolina (12.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG)

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson (18.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG)

Austin Nichols, Virginia (13.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.4 BPG at Memphis in 2014-2015)

NCAA Tournament Bids: Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Clemson


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