0 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 6 Second

ACC Basketball Preview

College basketball kicked off Tuesday night, and Duke put the nation on notice with a 118-84 thumping of No. 2 Kentucky. The scary thing is that Duke may not even be the best team in the ACC. The conference is loaded with talented teams and has the potential to send double digits to March; just look at the preseason brackets that have Boston College, ranked 12th in the preseason ACC poll, on the bubble for March. As the season gets rolling, here are some ACC storylines to watch.

Will UVA be haunted by last March?

The 2017-2018 Virginia Cavaliers became the first 1 seed to ever lose to a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament when they fell to UMBC in last year’s opening round. Virginia didn’t only lose, it was thoroughly embarrassed, losing by 20. This loss soured expectations regarding UVA coming into the season, but don’t forget that the Cavaliers return most of the key members of a team that was 31-2 entering the UMBC game. Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’andre Hunter will be eager to rewrite this program’s narrative. Virginia has the talent to win a National Championship, the question is if the Cavaliers can put last March behind them.

Can Duke’s freshman class be the best… ever?

Everyone knew Duke’s trio of Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson, and R.J. Barrett was extremely talented. But hardly anyone could have expected the group playing together at such a high level against top-tier competition this early in the season. None of the three played more than 32 minutes in the win over Kentucky, but they combined for 83 of Duke’s 118 points. Barrett is considered the most NBA-ready of the three, Williamson is a freak of nature, and Reddish possesses arguably the highest ceiling of any player in next year’s draft class. That said, experience wins in March (think Villanova), so it’ll be interesting to see if this group’s talent outweighs its inexperience.

Could the best player in the ACC be down Tobacco Road?

Duke landed three of the top four recruits in the nation. Situated between the uber-talented trio is the often-overlooked Nassir Little of North Carolina. Little may not have as much natural talent as any of the three at Duke, but he has the best work ethic and motor of the bunch. Little possesses the best all-around game, with his tenacious defense. He’s been compared favorably to Kawhi Leonard. UNC’s mix of new talent with veterans like Luke Maye could make for a deep run in March and get Little a little more media exposure.
                

Can FSU, Clemson, and Syracuse build off Sweet 16 runs?

The ACC made up 25 percent of the 2018 Sweet 16. The four ACC teams included the obvious in Duke and the surprises in Florida State, Clemson and Syracuse. Many argued Syracuse didn’t deserve to make the tournament, FSU didn’t impress in the regular season and Clemson was bitten by the injury bug. All are projected to be tournament teams, but which will stand out above the rest? Bank on Syracuse; Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle form the best returning duo in the ACC and freshman Jalen Carey is a solid recruit.

What’s the magic number?

As we mentioned, the ACC is loaded and should send more teams to March than any other conference. But just how many is that going to be? Duke, Virginia and North Carolina are perennial top seeds. Florida State, Clemson, and Syracuse will all be back as well. And the consensus is high on Virginia Tech. That’s seven locks. NC State, Notre Dame, Miami, Louisville and Boston College all hover around the bubble. NC State is on the rise and should only keep improving. Boston College, despite sitting at No. 12 in the preseason ACC polls, returns arguably the best player in the ACC in Ky Bowman and welcomes its strongest recruiting class in decades. Had Jerome Robinson stayed at BC, the Eagles would be a top 25 team, but they should still sneak into the back end of the tournament. Let’s say one of Miami, Louisville, and Notre Dame grabs a spot and the ACC finishes with 10 of the 64 spots in the field. The conference is going to be a gauntlet, but if Tuesday’s Duke debut was any indication, it’s going to be one fun ride.

Quick hitters:

  • Most talented team: Duke
  • Conference favorite: UVA
  • Best returning player: Ky Bowman, Boston College
  • Best freshman: too many to choose
  • Teams that will disappoint: Virginia Tech and Notre Dame
  • Teams to watch out for: Clemson and Boston College

My All-ACC First Team:

  • Ky Bowman, G, Boston College
  • Kyle Guy, G, Virginia
  • RJ Barrett, F, Duke
  • Cam Reddish, F, Duke
  • Luke Maye, F, North Carolina
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *