ACC Mega-Preview: Duke Tops Power RankingsPosted by Matt Patton (@rise_and_fire) on November 8th, 2013
Over the last two weeks, we have previewed each team individually to go with several more articles to get you ready for ACC basketball starting later today. Links to the previews can be found in each of the preseason power rankings listed below. Also look for our preseason conference awards later which will publish later today.
ACC Basketball Twitter Must-Follows (Chris):
- Part I (general ACC tweeters)
- Part II (Maryland, Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Georgia Tech)
- Part III (Virginia, Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina, and NC State)
Early Season Tournaments (Brad):
- Part I (Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Clemson)
- Part II (Florida State, North Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse)
- Part III (Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Miami)
PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS
|1. Duke (75): Unanimous selection for the top spot, Coach K hopes this year’s more athletic group of players can thrive at a faster pace of play. Duke is a national contender this season.|
|2. Syracuse (67): Their loaded front court and a legendary coach will help make seamless transition to the ACC, bringing their length and vaunted 2-3 zone along with them. Frosh point guard Tyler Ennis is the difference between a very good team and a great one.|
|T3. North Carolina (64): The development of the young frontcourt will be key for a team with plenty of upside, but a daunting non-conference schedule and the suspensions of PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald loom early.|
|T3. Virginia (64): ACC stars Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell are back in Charlottesville. If the point guard position has more offensive output than last season, this team has all the pieces to be an ACC contender.|
|5. Notre Dame (52): Mike Brey has to find a way to replace Jack Cooley‘s production in the post, but the Fighting Irish bring back one of the best backcourts in the ACC. The Fighting Irish look like a border-line top-25 team heading into the season.|
|6. Maryland (48): Losing Seth Allen for a spell and Alex Len to the lottery will hurt, but Dez Wells‘ brilliance and Maryland’s overall athleticism should propel them to new heights under Mark Turgeon assuming they can cut out some of their turnovers.|
|7. Boston College (43): A veteran core and a bona fide star could take Boston College to the next level, provided Steve Donahue does something about the team’s dreadful defense. If Dennis Clifford is healthy, this team has a shot at the NCAA Tournament.|
|8. Pittsburgh (41): The Panthers have three solid returning starters to build around, but will need their new big men to make an immediate impact after Steven Adams’ surprising decision to bolt for the NBA Draft. Also how will the new officiating rules affect Jamie Dixon‘s style?|
|9. Georgia Tech (31): The tandem of sophomores Robert Carter, Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt will prove even more effective as the Yellow Jackets look to make strides, but their young core is a few years away from making noise. Tennessee transfer Trae Golden should be an upgrade over Mfon Udofia at point guard.|
|10. NC State (29): TJ Warren could be one of the most talented players in the conference, but there is an enormous amount of departed experience to replace in Raleigh. Mark Gottfried‘s talented group of freshmen will be expected to contribute early and often.|
|11. Florida State (27): The Seminoles need last year’s newcomers to all make a big leap this year even to stay in the upper middle of the ACC. The key is getting back to elite team defense, though Okaro White is one of the better returning offensive wings in the ACC.|
|12. Miami (23): The best thing returning for the Hurricanes is head coach Jim Larranaga, an expert at putting pieces together to form a solid team. Unfortunately, the pieces leave a lot to be desired. Belgian star Manu Lacomte may surprise ACC fans, though.|
|13. Wake Forest (19): For the first time since coming to Winston-Salem Jeff Bzdelik has experience, but do the Demon Deacons have the talent to finish above .500 and save his job? Conference expansion didn’t help.|
|14. Clemson (11): A bad team is going to get worse as the program takes what is probably charitably going to be called “a rebuilding year.” Tune in for KJ McDaniels, whose shot-blocking makes him a good pick for ACC defensive player of the year.|
|15. Virginia Tech (6): Erick Green is gone, and there isn’t anyone stepping up to replace him on a team destined to rest in the ACC cellar this year. Things could be ugly for James Johnson‘s second season in Blacksburg.|
Miscellaneous Power Rankings Notes:
- Coach K reloads: Only Duke was a unanimous choice, as all five voters picked the Blue Devils to top the ACC this season. Virginia Tech almost managed a unanimous pick for the bottom of the league, but Kellen picked the Hokies ahead of Clemson.
- Clear Contenders: North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia (in some order) rounded out everyone’s top four, marking a distinct upper tier in the conference.
- Variance: NC State and defending champ Miami sported the largest range in votes (six places), as the Wolfpack garnered votes everywhere from #6 to #12 and the Hurricanes finished #8 to #14. That’s not surprising, as both teams lost all but one major contributor from last season and will rely heavily on transfers and freshmen this year.
- Media/Microsite solidarity: No teams differed from the preseason media poll by more than two spots.
- Conference Expansion: Fifteen teams is unwieldy, to say the least.