The ACC is still THE basketball conference in the NCAA and despite a “down” year last season they still dominated the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Heading into the 2022-23 ACC Basketball Season, the ACC is ready for a bounce-back year. North Carolina and Duke are the favorites for the conference as per usual, but the teams below them feature top talent on their rosters as well. Can North Carolina complete another redemption tour? Will Duke fair the same in the post-Coach K era? These questions and more will be answered in a fantastic basketball season.
2022-23 ACC Basketball Season Preview
Boston College Eagles
There is reason to believe that Boston College could be a sneaky good team this season in the ACC. The amount of talent they return is significant and with more experience, they could win more games this year. Boston College returns senior guard Makai Ashton-Langford, junior guard DeMarr Langford Jr, sophomore guard Jaeden Zackery, senior forward Quinten Post, and senior forward T.J. Bickerstaff. This level of experience returning would usually mean a solid run and Boston College could have a very good year. The team also has four-star power forward Prince Aligbe and four-star combo guard Donald Hand coming in as freshmen. Cincinnati combo guard Mason Madsen also transferred into the program. Boston College should be an NIT team at least but could sneak into the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Clemson was a middle-of-the-road ACC team last year, but with two major returns, the team could be better this season. The major return is junior center, PJ Hall who should have a very good season. Clemson also returns senior forward Hunter Tyson this season. Junior guard Chase Hunter could have a junior leap to help the program out this season. The team will be centered around PJ Hall this season and the team will go as far as he is able to take them. Boston College point guard Brevin Galloway transferring into the program could be an x-factor this season. An NCAA Tournament appearance this season isn’t that likely this season.
Duke Blue Devils
The Duke Blue Devils may be in the most interesting era of their program’s history. This season begins the Jon Scheyer era in Durham. Will the program stay at the top without Coach K or will it begin to slide down in the basketball world? Well, the recruiting of the program has remained unharmed and the roster on paper is an NCAA Championship contender. In typical Duke fashion, the team lost most of their rotation from last season. to the NBA Draft. The team does have one major name returning this season with junior guard Jeremy Roach. His leadership and ability on the court will be vital for a roster with mostly freshmen and a first-year Head Coach. Roach should be the emotional leader on the team while serving as the starting point guard.
It would not be Duke basketball without “one and done” talent. Duke has the number one freshmen class heading into college basketball and for good reason. Joining the Blue Devils this season as freshmen are the number one overall recruit Dereck Lively II, the number two overall recruit Dariq Whitehead, the number four overall recruit Kyle Filipowpowski, and five-star power forward Mark Mitchell. These are all likely “one and done” prospects that will immediately impact the 2022-23 ACC basketball season. Four-star guards Tyrese Proctor and Jaden Schutt also head to the program and could contribute this season. Duke also has three talented players that transferred into the program and they are Illinois shooting guard Jacob Grandison, Northwestern power forward Ryan Young, and Harvard small forward Kale Catchings. Duke should finish near the top of the ACC this season.
Florida State Seminoles
Leonard Hamilton can win ACC games with almost any type of roster. The Seminoles often go under the radar in the ACC and this team could do that as well. That being said Hamilton has a roster good enough to win some games this season. Returning to the roster this season are junior guard Caleb Mills, sophomore guard Matthew Cleveland, and junior guard Cam’Ron Fletcher. Mills and Cleveland led the team last season in points per game and are vital to the team’s success. The biggest names coming into the program as freshmen are four-star center Baba Miller, four-star power forward De’Ante Green, four-star center Cameron Corhen, and four-star combo guard Chandler Jackson. (Baba Miller will serve a 16-game suspension before he plays this season). UCF shooting guard Darin Green and Brown power forward Jaylan Gainey also transferred into the program. Hamilton has several big men he can swap in the way he likes to and the team could make some noise in the ACC this season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Josh Pastner has put some up-and-down rosters together at Georgia Tech. Last year the team did not play well and this year could be more of the same. The team returns senior guard Kyle Sturdivant and senior center Rodney Howard, but both will need to do more with their roles this season. Junior guard Tristan Maxwell is also back after only playing five games last season. He looked promising in a limited role in those games and could see an increased workload this season. The team has two transfers coming in this season. South Alabama small forward Javon Franklin and Gardner-Webb point guard Lance Terry will have big roles with the team. Production from elsewhere is uncertain and with that the Yellow Jackets project to be at the bottom of the 2022-23 ACC basketball season standings.
Overreacting to scrimmage games is never a good idea, but the Louisville Cardinals took a 57-47 loss to division two program Lenoir-Rhyne. The Kenny Payne era at Louisville could start off somewhat rough considering what the current roster looks like. Senior guard El Ellis and senior forward Sydney Curry return this season, but last year’s team did not have a leading scorer that averaged double-digits per game. Ellis and Curry were third and fifth respectively on the scoring list at that. They are important depth, but the newcomers will have to be the saving grace of the program this year. Louisville has a pair of four-star recruits that will need to produce as freshmen. Four-star small forwards Kamari Lands and Devin Ree could be the key to the season. Xavier transfer point guard Hercy Miller could impact the team, but the real x-factor is Tennessee transfer power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield. Overall, it could be a down year for the program that needs a rebuild desperately.
Despite their run last year, the Miami Hurricanes are going under the radar this season. While they have lost some talent, they feature key returners and some interesting new faces as well. The team will be led this season by junior guard Isaiah Wong who should earn some ACC awards this season. Miami also returns last year’s leading rebounder in senior guard Jordan Miller. Head Coach Jim Larranaga will lean heavily on his two upperclassmen guards this season. Wong especially should be the best player on the team this season. To replace the production they lost, the program turned to the transfer portal.
While the transfer portal did add talent to the program, the team also added two players that should provide an impact as freshmen. Four-star power forward AJ Casey and four-star center Favour Aire should play rotational roles this season. The transfer portal provided the two big names that will elevate the Miami roster this season. Arkansas State power forward Norchad Omier and Kansas State point guard Nijel Pack should plug right into the starting lineup and provide needed experience to the program. Miami isn’t quite at the Duke or North Carolina level, but this should easily be an NCAA Tournament team.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Head Coach Kevin Keatts may not officially be on the hot seat, but another poor season could see the program decide to move on from its Head Coach. The program has two key players returning, but one is more important than the other. Sophomore guard Trequavion Smith did not head to the NBA after last season and will be the driving force for the Wolfpack this season. The program also returns senior guard Casey Morsell as well. After a disappointing season, changes to the roster needed to be made, and Keatts turned to the transfer portal. Winthrop center D.J. Burns, Ole Miss point guard Jarkel Joiner, Utah center Dusan Mahorcic, and La Salle small forward Jack Clark will make up the new-look Wolfpack. The program needs a better season, but an NCAA Tournament appearance might not be in the cards despite the new names on the roster.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The 2022-23 ACC Basketball Season Preview is highlighted by the preseason number-one team, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Hubert Davis starts his second season as Head Coach with National Championship aspirations. The Tar Heels return four of their “iron five” from last season. Senior center Armando Bacot, super senior small forward Leaky Black, junior guard Caleb Love, and junior guard RJ Davis have come close to the mountain top but fell just short. Still, the team will need depth and a Brady Manek replacement this season. Junior forward Puff Johnson, sophomore forward Dontrez Styles, and sophomore guard D’Marco Dunn should see increased roles.
The impact that the freshmen this year have on the team will depend on how Hubert Davis decides to roll out his bench. North Carolina brings in four-star point guard Seth Trimble, four-star center Jalen Washington, and four-star forward Tyler Nickel. Redshirt freshmen center Will Shaver could also work into the rotation. With Brady Manek gone the team will need a new name starting at power forward this season. Northwestern forward and super senior Pete Nance has transferred into the program to fill that role this season. Expectations are high for North Carolina this season. Anything short of hoisting another banner into the rafters at the end of the season will be considered a disappointment.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish should be an NCAA Tournament team this season. They return senior guard Dane Goodwin, senior forward Nate Laszewski, and senior guard Cormac Ryan. These three seniors hope to make their final season with the Irish a memorable one. Five-star combo guard JJ Starling comes into the program as a freshman and should immediately impact the team. Four-star power forward Ven-Allen Lubin and Niagara transfer point guard should also help the team this year. Again like other ACC teams, Notre Dame isn’t quite at the Duke and North Carolina level this season. Their experience paired with Starling should have them safely in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are likely in for another rough season and Jeff Capel has to be on the hot seat this year. On the bright side, the team does return their top two leading scorers in junior forward John Hugley IV and senior guard Jamarius Burton. The recruiting class was headlined by four-star point guard Dior Johnson, but he has been suspended indefinitely while dealing with legal issues. The team adds three impact transfers in Marquette shooting guard Greg Elliot, Iowa State small forward Blake Hinson, and Colgate point guard Nelly Cummings. At this point, the team is unlikely to be competitive in the ACC this season. Jeff Capel might be looking at his final season with the Panthers.
The Orange are in a tough position with a Hall of Fame Head Coach who has had the game pass him by at some point. It is time for him to retire, but until he does Syracuse will be stuck being less than average. The team has two key returns with senior guard Joesph Girard III and senior center Jesse Edwards. The team only had five players in the main rotation last year, but return two. Other players from last year’s team should see increased roles this season. Syracuse brings in four-star combo guard Judah Mintz, four-star small forward Justin Taylor, and four-star small forward Chris Bunch. An NIT appearance would be more than ideal for the program this year and it could be the final season for the program’s Hall of Fame Head Coach.
The Virginia Cavaliers are poised to be the biggest threat to Duke and North Carolina in the 2022-23 ACC basketball season. Last year’s team disappointed some, but they return their five best players heading into this season. Leading scorer and rebounder, senior forward Jayden Gardner returns alongside senior guards Armaan Franklin and Kihei Clark as well as junior guard and leading assist and steal man Reece Beekman. Leading shot blocker Kadin Shedrick also returns. Heading into the program as freshmen are four-star power forward Isaac Traudt, four-star combo guard Isaac McKneely, four-star small forward Leon Bond, and four-star small forward Ryan Dunn. Ohio power forward Bennett Vander Plas also transferred into the program. The offense is still a major question mark, but the team has the defense to compete with Duke and North Carolina this season.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech is a program attempting to rebuild and establish a program that competes harder in the ACC. This year the return senior forward Justyn Mutts and senior guard Hunter Cattoor. These two are the keys to the offense this season and will need to continue what they did last season. Four-star combo guard Rodney Rice is the impact freshman heading into the program. Rice center Mylyjael Poteat, Wright State center Grant Basile, and Memphis small forward John Camden all need big years as transfers in the program. With some luck, the Hokies could be an NIT team this season.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest looks like a program that could be on the rise in the next few seasons. Their roster this year will nearly be brand new from last year. The one key returner they have is senior guard Daivien Williamson. The new faces in the program will define how Wake Forest plays this year. Four-star power forward Zach Keller is the top freshman to watch this season on the team. Kansas State power forward Davion Bradford, Florida point guard Tyree Appleby, Deleware small forward Andrew Carr, and Marist point guard Jao Ituka will lead the program this season. Wake Forest should be an NIT program this year, but could sneak into the 2023 NCAA Tournament if the right dominoes fall their way.