2017 ACC Basketball Predictions
The ACC is often thought of as the measuring stick in college basketball and with the defending champion North Carolina Tar Heels as well as a heavily favorited Duke Blue Devils it is going to be a great year in ACC basketball.
The Boston College Eagles are coming off of an abysmal year with a 2-16 record in the ACC and a 9-23 record overall. There isn’t much evidence to show the Eagles improving much in the 2017 season despite pulling in four different three-star freshmen. Keep an eye on junior Jerome Robinson who led his team last year in points, assists, and steals.
The Pittsburgh Panthers had a dismal year in ACC play posting a below average 4-14 record in the conference but overall did manage to bust out a mediocre record of 16-17. The Panthers saw a lot of turn over this offseason with many regular faces gone from the team. They did and half a dozen three-star freshman to their ranks though. The name for the upcoming year to pay attention to is freshman point guard Marcus Carr.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack had a turbulent year which led to the firing of head coach Mark Gottfried and this offseason the team hired UNC Willmington head coach Kevin Keatts. The Wolfpack will be looking to get back to their famous legacy of basketball greatness. The player to watch for the Wolfpack has to be senior big man Abdul-Malik Abu.
The Clemson Tigers had a well enough year but just seemed to get outshined by more talented teams in the ACC. The team had a 17-15 record overall but had a 6-12 record in the ACC. The Tigers finished their season with a first-round exit to Oakland in the NIT Tournament. The Tigers are fielding a good roster, but could easily get overshadowed again in ACC play. Jaron Blossomgame is off to the NBA so the Tigers will look to another to be the leader on the team and that player may just be junior guard Shelton Mitchell.
Georgia Tech had great moments in the 2016-2017 season, but much like Clemson could not seem to make a major impact with all of the other talented teams in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets did manage a 17-15 record going 8-10 in the ACC. Georgia Tech also made it all the way to the NIT Championship game but got dominated by TCU. The Yellow Jackets are poised to try and take a step up in the ACC and maybe get a tournament bid. Sophmore guard Josh Okogie led the team in points last year as a freshman and could play an even bigger role this upcoming season.
The Demon Deacons may have finally got over the Wolfpack hump and cemented themselves as the third best team in Nort Carolina. The team is improving with former NBA player and current head coach Danny Manning making noise in the middle of the ACC. The team finished 9-9 in ACC play and an overall record of 19-13. The team even managed to squeak into the NCAA Tournament but lost their First Four matchup against Kansas State. John Collins made the jump to the NBA this offseason, but junior guard Bryant Crawford, who led the team in assists and steals along with being second in points, can become the guy to watch at Wake Forest.
Despite having a better conference record than Wake Forest, the Orange did not make the NCAA tournament. This as mainly due to a glaring 2-8 record on the road and a perceived lack of quality wins. The team instead drew the one seed in the NIT Tournament and ended up losing to Ole Miss in the second round. Syracuse has been up and down since joining the ACC and seems to struggle with who they are in the conference. Last year they finished 10-8 in conference and 19-15 overall. The team lost a few familiar faces but did pick up a few recruits. The Orange look like they are poised to finish worse this year, but they could always pull off the unexpected. Sophmore guard Tyus Battle is tall at 6’6″ and poised to move from the third leading scorer to the leading scorer on the Orange.
The FBI investigation has been mainly focused on fellow ACC school Louisville, but Miami has also been mentioned. This could come into play sometime this season, but until then Miami is once again poised to be a solid middle of the pack ACC team. The Hurricanes finished last season with a 21-11 record including a 10-8 ACC record. Miami’s season ended with a first-round exit courtesy of the Michigan State Spartans. The Hurricanes pulled in five-star recruit Lonnie Walker and he should be the immediate impact player down in Miami.
The Hokies are coming off of a solid middle of the pack ACC year and likely outperformed expectations with a tournament appearance. A 22-10 overall record along with a 10-8 ACC record is nothing to turn a nose up at for Virginia Tech. The Hokies season was cut short by the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The program is trending up, but this year will have a few faces that need to be replaced production wise. Look for junior forward Chris Clarke and four-star freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker to provide that production.
The Cavaliers finished 6th in the ACC with an 11-7 record in conference and an impressive 22-10 overall. Virginia’s season ended on a beat down in the second round courtesy of the Florida Gators. The Cavaliers always rely heavily on defense over offense and this year will not be an exception. The team will not want to be bounced out of the tournament like they were last year. Senior forward Isaiah Wilkins will have to provide a defensive presence and much-needed leadership for the team in the upcoming year.
The Duke Blue Devils had what most would consider a down year for the team but still managed to finish 5th in the ACC. The team’s record overall was 27-8 and an 11-7 record in the ACC. The team powered through and won the ACC Tournament Championship, but got upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to South Carolina. Duke s poised to finish top two in the ACC this year and should make a real push for another banner. There are a handful of players to watch this upcoming season, but pay close attention to senior Grayson Allen and freshman Marvin Bagley.
The Fighting Irish had an exciting year and managed to finished 4th in the ACC with a conference record of 12-6 and a 25-9 record overall. Notre Dame was another team that finished poorly in the second round to the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Fighting Irish are more than likely going to take a hit this year in the ACC with other teams rising up. The team just may not be able to keep up quite as well this year. The player that will no doubt have all eyes on him is senior forward Bonzie Colson.
The Louisville Cardinals’ season this year will be dominated by the FBI investigation that led to head coach Rick Pitino’s firing. The team finished 24-8 last year with a 12-6 record in the ACC. The team lost last year in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The team is currently on probation from a previous scandal and depending on the eligibility status of freshman Brian Bowen the team may not be super competitive anyway. If Bowen is not allowed to play then the team will look at junior forward Deng Adel to be the impact player of the year.
The Seminoles surprised some people last year by finishing 2nd overall in the ACC. The team went 12-6 in ACC play and an overall record of 25-8. The team was yet another ACC team that was gone from the NCAA Tournament after the second round to Xavier. Florida State lost Jonathan Issac and Dawayne Bacon to the NBA, so the team will not likely perform at quite the same level that they did last year, but they should still be in the top five discussion in the ACC. Junior guard Terrance Mann should be ready to step up and take over for the Noles this season.
The defending national champions had a dominating year in what they called the “redemption year” capping it off with a win against Gonzaga. The Tar Heels finished 14-4 in the ACC and 27-7 overall. The Roy Williams led team will be great in the backcourt, but very young and unproven in the frontcourt outside of local hero Luke Maye. The player that will have all eyes on him this year is senior guard Joel Berry including a potential run at the national player of the year award.
All ACC Team
G: Joel Berry (North Carolina)
G: Grayson Allen (Duke)
F: Chris Clarke (Virginia Tech)
F: Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame)
C: Marvin Bagley (Duke)
POY: Tie between Joel Berry (North Carolina) and Grayson Allen (Duke)