It’s going to be a down year for the ACC. It looks like North Carolina and Duke, a couple of top 10 teams, are going to be battling for the ACC title. So with out much further ado, I’ll list my ACC picks.
Rankings (Post Season Results):
1. North Carolina (National Champs)
NBA front court + Kendall Marshall = champs. The Heels return all 5 starters from last year’s Elite 8 team. Oh, and I love HB.
2. Duke (Elite 8/Sweet 16)
Number 2 by default. I think Duke’s overrated, but they’re still a top 15 team. Coach K says Seth Curry could start at point guard, so we’ll see how that goes. Look for freshmen Austin Rivers (of course) and point guard Quinn Cook (less so) to see significant time this season.
3. Florida State (1st/2nd Round)
Experienced back court. Front court needs to step up. You know the ‘Noles will play good defense though.
4. Miami (1st/2nd Round)
Very similar team to Florida State, but they’re worse in the front court and on defense. However, I love the experienced guards. And Miami has those in Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant. However, under new coach Jim Larranaga, don’t be surprised if the ‘Canes struggle early in the season.
5. Clemson (Play-in game/1st Round)
Clemson doesn’t really have a point guard, but I really like what Brad Brownell is doing with the Tigers. Seniors Tannar Smith and Andre Young are players to watch. I think a good coach and a senior back court leads a less talented Clemson team to the NCAA Tournament.
6. North Carolina State (NIT)
I don’t think Mark Gottfried was a great X’s and O’s hire, despite his awesome 2012 recruiting class. NC State has some talent, but they don’t have much experience. However, if Gottried keeps recruiting the way he is, the Pack will have success regardless of his game-day coaching.
7. Virginia (NIT)
Watch out for UVA. Tony Bennett is quietly building excitement for this program. Senior forward Mike Scott could be an 1st team All-ACC player, and sophomore guard Joe Harris was productive last season. Don’t be surprised if you see the Cavaliers in the NCAA Tournament.
8.Virginia Tech (NIT/CBI)
Yet again, I have the Hokies in their favorite post-season tournament. They lose an awesome player in Malcolm Delaney, and received another blow after forward JT Thompson went down with another ACL tear.
9. Maryland (NIT/CBI)
First year coach Mark Turgeon has some work to do… After sophomore guard Pe’Shon Howard went down, Turgeon will be forced to coach with only 7 scholarship players for the first 2 months of the season. Look out for Alex Len, center from Ukraine. the 7 footer will probably start immediately after his 10 game suspension. As a Maryland fan, my expectations are low for this season, but I like what Turgeon’s doing so far in terms of recruiting.
10. Georgia Tech (CBI/No postseason)
Brian Gregory has brought in a solid recruiting class, but he doesn’t have much talent to work with this season. Glen Rice Jr. is probably the best they got. Maybe if they’re lucky they’ll make the CBI.
11. Wake Forest (No postseason)
At least Bzdelik brought in a decent recruiting class? Wake is going to be even worse this season, after losing solid freshman Ari Stewart to transfer.
12. Boston College (No postseason)
Is it possible to be worse than Wake Forest was last season? BC will be awful this season, but not everything is bad Eagles fans. Steve Donohue is a great coach, and I expect the Eagles to be back towards the upper-middle half of the ACC in the coming years.
Preseason All-ACC Teams
Harrison Barnes (POY) – F-UNC- It took Barnes half of last season to figure out the college game, but this season he’s poised for a dominant campaign.
John Henson- F-UNC- Reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Henson is a dominant force inside. If he plays well offensively, Henson could become the ACC Player of the Year.
Tyler Zeller- F-UNC- Zeller is a force to be reckoned with on the low block. Give him inside position, and he will burn any defender in the country.
Mike Scott- F-UVA- UVA won’t be very good, so Scott will get plenty of looks inside. His 2011 season was cut short by injury, but Scott was very productive in games he played in.
Kendall Marshall-G-UNC- I think he’s overrated, but Kendall Marshall is still a very good player. After Marshall took over the starting job last season, UNC was a much better team.
Seth Curry-G-Duke- Curry will have to step up this season, especially with his increased role of handling the ball. I expect him to become Duke’s biggest scoring threat.
Mason Plumlee- F- Duke- Plumlee will have to anchor Duke down low. Duke lacks an explosive front court, so Plumlee will have to be effective on the boards.
Durand Scott-G-Miami- Scott will have to continue his explosive scoring if Miami wants to have any semblance of success this season.
Terrell Stoglin-G-Maryland- Similar to Scott, Stoglin will be integral to the Terps’ success this season. He is their only proven scorer.
Reggie Johnson- C-Miami- Johnson was quietly less the a rebound per game short from averaging a double-double for the season. This year, Johnson should get more recognition because Miami will be better.
Austin Rivers-G-Duke-Finally a freshman comes on the board. I think Rivers will be a very savvy player for Duke, and will be more mature (on the court at least) than most freshmen.
Andre Young- G- Clemson- Young was a big scorer last season, and will be Clemson’s greatest scoring threat this season. I expect him to lead to Tigers to an NCAA birth.
Malcolm Grant- G-Miami- Grant will be Durand Scott’s running mate in the back court. Grant should flourish with much attention being paid to Scott.
Dexter Strickland-G-UNC- Yeah, that’s how good UNC is. All 5 starters are all-ACC players. Strickland may play 5th fiddle, but he is the Tar Heels’ biggest outside scoring threat outside of Harrison Barnes.
Andre Dawkins-G-Duke- We saw Dawkins mature from a spot up shooter his freshman year, into a more well-rounded scorer. This year, Dawkins has to step it up on the defensive end. I have high expectations for Dawkins.