College Basketball’s ACC Predictions: The Top 5by Patrick Champion September 15, 2020 0 comments
The upcoming basketball season is sure to be thrilling. Here’s a look at which teams could round of the top five in the ACC.
No. 5: Louisville
20-Game Conference Prediction: 14-6
Louisville finished in a three-way tie for second last year, and while fifth may seem comparatively bad, there is reason to be at least a little bit concerned for the Cardinals. For starters, they had an underwhelming recruiting class; it’s 26th in the country and sixth in the ACC. However, perhaps their biggest problem isn’t the players they gained but the players they lost. Four of their top scorers from last year either turned pro or graduated. Jordan Nwora, Steven Enoch, Dwayne Sutton, and Ryan McMahon are all no longer with Louisville.
However, they shouldn’t fall enough to drop them significantly. They should still be good enough to do well in the ACC, but only time will tell.
No. 4: Florida State
20-Game Conference Prediction: 15-5
Florida State was at the top of the ACC last year, and while regression is likely, it won’t be by much. One of the main causes of FSU’s drop in ranking is the graduation of Trent Forrest. The 6-foot-4 guard was Florida State’s second-leading scorer last year, contributing 11.6 points per game for the team. However, the loss of Forrest was somewhat softened by the impending arrival of Scottie Barnes. The 2020 recruit was named the No. 7 incoming freshman in the country and is the Seminoles’ highest-rated basketball recruit ever. While it is unclear how much of an impact he will make in his first year on the team, he, along with other players, should keep Florida State at the top of the ACC standings.
No. 3: Virginia
20-Game Conference Prediction: 16-4
The next three teams are nearly interchangeable. All three have great coaches and serious talent, and the only real thing separating them is their recruiting classes. That’s where Virginia slots in. UVA has the No. 3-ranked class in the ACC, and while they don’t have any five-stars, they have two recruits ranked within the top-100. However, it is unclear if they can replace the players who graduated. Virginia’s calling card has been its defense for a few years now, and it’s unclear if the incoming freshmen can replicate the defensive ability of the now-graduated Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key. If they can even come close, however, Virginia should slot nicely in the No. 3 spot in the ACC.
No. 2: Duke
20-Game Conference Prediction: 16-4
Duke occupies the No. 2 spot in these rankings. Unlike Virginia, the Blue Devils not only have a better recruiting class but also a very good offense. However, more important is the impact they made this year on the recruiting trail. Only one of Duke’s six recruits is ranked outside of the top-50. Considering that the Blue Devils could make a potent starting roster just out of their recruits, it puts them far ahead of almost every team in the ACC … except one.
No. 1: North Carolina
20-Game Conference Prediction
North Carolina was one of the most surprising teams in the ACC last year. However, it’s not because of how well they did but how poorly they did. UNC fell flat on their face last year, finishing 6-14 in the conference and 14th place. However, don’t expect a repeat. Out of all of the teams in the ACC, they are in first place recruiting-wise. Their No. 2-ranked class overall has three players in the top-25. While it’s unclear if UNC can jump from 14th to first, they will be a team to watch out for this upcoming season.
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