It certainly was an eventful off-season for one of the nation’s best and most prestigious basketball conferences. The league made headlines in a variety of ways, some good and some bad. Let’s start with the defending national champs in North Carolina. The Tar Heels first made waves when they announced in September that they would not accept an invitation to visit Donald Trump and the White House. The Tar Heels got good news (for them, that is) in October when the NCAA announced they would punish North Carolina for its academic scandal. But then Roy Williams got bad news just a couple weeks later when star guard Joel Berry II broke his hand after he lost a video game. He will be out the first couple weeks of the season. North Carolina’s rival, Duke, made a late August splash when 2018 #1 recruit Marvin Bagley III announced he was committing to Duke and reclassifying so he could play this season. North Carolina State has been in the headlines because of the NCAA’s idiotic denial of freshman Braxton Beverly’s appeal to be eligible to play this season. Georgia Tech recently suspended two of their best players in Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson indefinitely for accepting improper benefits. And finally, the biggest news of the off-season was the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, which led to the discovery that Brian Bowen’s family received $100,000 from an Adidas rep to attend Louisville. This led to the suspension of Bowen and the firings of head coach Rick Pitino, AD Tom Jurich and assistant coach Jordan Fair. Those are just a few of the note-worthy headlines in the ACC this off-season. I think it’s safe to say that no conference is more ready to just play basketball again.
Projected Conference Standings (2016-2017 Record in Parenthesis)
For an in-depth look at each team, click on the team’s name to be directed to their “100 Teams in 100 Days” roster preview. Do note that these started getting published in late June, so there may be a few instances where there are players who are injured, suspended or no longer with the team.
1. Duke (28-9 (11-7))
2. Miami (21-12 (10-8))
3. North Carolina (33-7 (14-4))
4. Louisville (25-9 (12-6))
5. Notre Dame (26-10 (12-6))
6. Virginia Tech (22-11 (10-8))
7. Virginia (23-11 (11-7))
8. Florida State (26-9 (12-6))
9. Georgia Tech (21-16 (8-10))
10. Wake Forest (19-14 (9-9))
11. Syracuse (19-15 (10-8))
12. North Carolina State (15-17 (4-14))
13. Boston College (9-23 (2-16))
14. Clemson (17-16 (6-12))
15. Pittsburgh (16-17 (4-14))
Player of the Year: Grayson Allen
I get it, alright. Grayson Allen isn’t an easy guy to like if you’re not a Duke fan. But let’s not forget that at this time last season, Allen was coming off a sophomore year in which he averaged 21.6/4.6/3.5 and earned First Team All-ACC and Third Team AP All-American honors. He was a popular pick to win national player of the year. Of course, things didn’t end up going that way, but it’s not like Allen had a bad season. He still averaged 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while hitting 81 threes. I expect Grayson to bounce back and be in the national player of the year picture this season.
First Team All-ACC
Grayson Allen,Duke: See above
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: An undersized 6’5 senior forward, Bonzie was a Third Team AP All-American and First Team All-ACC selection last season. He averaged 17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. He shot 43.3% from deep and 52.6% overall.
Joel Berry II, North Carolina: A 6’0 senior, Berry was a Second Team All-ACC selection last season. He recorded 14.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game, in addition to making 88 threes.
Ben Lammers, Georgia Tech: Lammers, a 6’10 senior, was Second Team All-ACC and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season. He posted 14.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.
Bruce Brown, Miami: A 6’5 sophomore, Brown was a five star recruit in 2016. He averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season.
Second Team All-ACC
Marvin Bagley III, Duke: See below (Newcomer of the Year)
Jerome Robinson, Boston College: Robinson, a 6’7 junior, put up 18.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game last year. He hit 54 shots from beyond the arc.
Bryant Crawford, Wake Forest: Crawford is a 6’3 junior that recorded 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season. He also knocked down 54 threes.
Deng Adel, Louisville: A 6’7 junior, Adel posted 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game last season. He poured in 44 threes as well.
Matt Farrell, Notre Dame: A 6’0 senior, Farrell was one of the most improved players in the nation last season. He averaged 14.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game while hitting 81 threes at a 42.0% rate.
Newcomer of the Year: Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley III has been the consensus #1 recruit in the 2018 class for a long time. It’s been expected that, whenever he would enter the NBA Draft, he’d be a top candidate for the #1 pick. Everyone thought that would be in 2019, but Bagley made the late decision in August to commit to Duke and reclassify to the 2017 class so he could play this season. It was a home run signing for Coach K, as it solidified his recruiting class as the best in the nation. Bagley is a 6’11 forward who is an elite athlete. He can do damage both inside and on the perimeter, while also possessing the tools to be an excellent defender.
ACC All-Newcomer Team
Marvin Bagley III, Duke: See above
Wendell Carter, Duke: Duke’s other stud big man entering the mix is the 6’10 Carter. 247Sports’ #7 overall recruit and ESPN’s #5, Carter is extremely tough to stop down low and is a great rebounder.
Lonnie Walker, Miami: A 6’5 guard ranked the #16 by 247Sports and #13 by ESPN, Walker is a quick, explosive athlete that scores well in the lane.
M.J. Walker, Florida State: Walker is a 6’5 guard who 247Sports ranks as the #28 2017 recruit and ESPN ranks as the #27 overall recruit. Walker is a slashing guard who is talented on both ends of the floor.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech: Another 6’5 guard, Alexander-Walker enters the college game ranked #39 by 247Sports, but #21 by ESPN. NAW is a smooth athlete who can get to the rim or knock down the perimeter jumper.
NCAA Tournament Bids (7): Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and Virginia