The ACC has been possibly the best conference in college basketball the past few seasons, and that will most likely remain the same this season. Last year, nine teams represented the ACC in the NCAA tournament, more than any other conference in college.
There is no doubt the ACC has some of the elite teams and dynasties in the NCAA. Duke, Louisville, and UNC are among the teams that seem to be in the tournament every year. However, there is more to the conference than just those teams. We’ll take a look at each team and rank them in the conference accordingly.
The Blue Devils are always one of the best teams in the ACC, and that will likely remain the same this upcoming season. Grayson Allen is returning, giving them a great and experienced scorer. Duke also hoists one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, bringing in 3 five-stars in Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter, and Gary Trent Jr. Marques Bolden is an X-factor for the Duke squad. Bolden didn’t see the court much in the 2016-2017 season, but was one of the top recruits in 2016 and could develop into a star under coach K.
Louisville has a great chance to compete with Duke and win the ACC this year. They, like Duke, bring in a solid recruiting class, which includes 5-star center Malik Williams. Losing Donovan Mitchell hurts, but they can definitely make up for it. Forward Deng Adel and guard Quentin Snider will be asked to carry the team. Under these two, Louisville is definitely in good hands for 2017-2018.
The U’s basketball program is definitely on the rise. 5-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker brings a lot of hope to the team, and will have to fill Davon Reed’s shoes. Combo guard Bruce Brown looks to have a great sophomore year, as it looks like he will be the leader of the team this next year. Miami’s problem is that they’re a young team, and don’t have many solid bigs. If Dewan Huell or Ebuka Izundu can have a nice year, they are a contender for the ACC title.
North Carolina is losing Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley, but returning star guard Joel Berry gives UNC one of the best players in the nation. Berry will be the unquestioned leader of the team, and has the task to lead the team as far as he can. Bringing in guard Jalek Felton gives UNC a player who can play alongside Berry, and play some time at point when he needs a rest. Seventh Woods and Theo Pinson are possible breakout candidates for this Tar Heels team. Also, expect an increased role for UNC legend Luke Maye.
UVA is an interesting team for this upcoming season. It seasons as if Virginia is banking on their young guys developing into nice players for them. 2016-2017 redshirts DeAndre Hunter and Jay Huff will most likely take a pretty big role for the team. Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy will also be asked to carry quite a load, which they didn’t have to last year. Virginia lost a lot of talent, and it will be hard for them to recover, but Tony Bennett is a great coach and will figure out a way.
6. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech loses the Le’Day’s and guard Seth Allen, but brings in some nice talent as well. 4-star guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker brings some youth to the team. Chris Clarke, Ty Outlaw, Justin Robinson, Ahmed Hill, and Justin Bibbs are the main returning guys who will now take control of the team. It’s tough to see VT doing better than last season, but they have a chance if players take big steps.
7. Notre Dame
Bonzie Colson will now take full control of the Fighting Irish. He is an undersized big man, but still can get it done, and has always been a key piece to Notre Dame over the years. A breakout candidate is guard Matt Farrell, as he will see a much more involved role with Vasturia and Beachem gone. The only recruit Notre Dame is bringing in is 4-star forward D.J. Harvey, who might get some valuable time on the court this season.
8. Wake Forest
Wake Forest loses John Collins to the draft, so Bryant Crawford is now officially the star of the team. He could possibly become a great point guard for Wake Forest, since the team is all his now. Guards won’t be the problem for Wake Forest this year, as they have Keyshawn Woods returning and are bringing in Chaundee Brown, a 4-star recruit. The question is, how will Wake Forest make up for John Collins departure?
9. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets could actually end up being much better than this. Ben Lammers is returning and freshman sensation Josh Okogie will come back as well. It will be interesting to see how Okogie develops, and if he can become one of the best players in the nation.
10. Florida State
Florida State is losing a lot of talent, and that is an understatement. Dwayne Bacon, Jonathan Isaac, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes are all headed to the draft, leaving Florida State with a young team. Terrance Mann is probably the best returning player on the team, and FSU is bringing in 5-star guard M.J. Walker. The reason FSU is this low is just because of the uncertainty of where they’re headed.
12. NC State
15. Boston College
Taking a look at the ACC, it doesn’t appear to be as deep as the past few seasons, but still has a lot of talent. There are a lot of teams in the conference that are in rebuilding modes, making it hard to judge how they will perform this year. Still, we know the reputation of the conference is great and expect several ACC teams to be in the NCAA tourney in 2017.