Random #ACC Men’s Basketball Thoughts


Happy New Year from all of us at All Sports Discussion.  You can follow us on Twitter at @AllSportsDACC.

Let’s talk some awesomeness first – the ACC will likely have four teams in the Associated Press Top Ten most of the season – and will repeatedly play nationally televised scheduled games vs. each other over the next several weeks.  If you’re John Swofford, you can’t pay for better publicity.

 So – here it is – my random thoughts on each of the ACC men’s basketball teams (this is not a rankings blog post – that is done by my esteemed colleague, @ztevans).  Here we go!

  1. Notre Dame – Perhaps my ACC team of the week through Monday, January 5, 2015.  The Irish had a terrific two game swing in wins over Georgia Tech (and the Jackets are much better than everyone thinks – we’ll talk about the more below).  Nationally, the Irish have the second best assist-to-turnover ratio, the third best scoring offense, are tenth in total assists, and have the ninth best three-point field goal percentage.  The Irish have a master coach in Mike Brey (someone who was tutored by Coach K), a star player in Jerian Grant, and experienced seniors (including a Major League Baseball prospect in Pat Connaughton)  – everything you need for a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

  1. Duke – The Blue Devils have the fourth best scoring offense in the country (and the best in the ACC).  This is an offense that could take them very deep in March.  Ahh – but Duke has to improve on defense (and this has been a criticism of the Devils over the last couple of years).  While 60.6 points per game isn’t bad, it has to get better as ACC conference season rolls along.

  1. Virginia – The Hoos lost Joe Harris (Joey Hoops to the #GoACC clan) and might actually be better than last year.  The Hoos have second best scoring defense in the country (the best in the ACC).  Even though the Hoos have an aggressive defense, they only have the 16th fewest fouls in the country (which tells you that this is a smart, well-coached team).

  1. Louisville – Their defense, second in the ACC (giving up an average of 55.5 points per game), and their coach, Rick Pitino, is going to keep them in every contest.  Does the offense have to improve?  Yes – yes, it does – ranked 45th in country.

  1. North Carolina – If the Tar Heels put it together, they have a chance to crack the top four in the ACC.  Let’s talk some positives here:  The Tar Heels have the fifth ranked three-point field goal defense in the country.  The Tar Heels have are ranked third in the country for the total number of rebounds per game and are ranked 16th nationally in scoring offense.  A team that’s struggling needs to get the ball inside the post – and if North Carolina makes an effort to do that, they will get better (North Carolina shares the ball well in that they are seventh in the country in number of assists per game – so this bodes well for improvement throughout the year).  The Tar Heels have a high ceiling with that talent. They have to find another consistent perimeter scorer outside of Marcus Paige. That’s a must.

  1. North Carolina State – Quietly, the Wolfpack are 2-0 in ACC play.  That’s the quietest 2-0 team in the conference.  The Wolfies like to block shots – ranked seventh in the country in total blocks.  Mark Gottfried has proven that he’s a good coach, but a measuring stick for us will be what the Wolfies do vs. other teams in the 919.

  1. Miami  – As my friend @TalkinACCSports said, the Hurricanes’ guard play will keep them in every game (and I’d also add the coaching of Jim Larranaga)… just ask Virginia.

  1. Pittsburgh – If you’re looking for a team that could unexpectedly drop to the cellar in the ACC, look at the Panthers – I know I am being hard here, but they are at the midrange national for several of the offensive and defensive statistical categories – and could lose a game or two (or three) that you think they shouldn’t. They don’t have a single top 100 win this year.

  1. Syracuse – The Orange recently had a very disappointing performance in Blacksburg, VA.  In fact, I’d argue that Syracuse would have lost this game if the Hokies center, Joey Van Zegeren, was playing.  This is not the vintage Syracuse defense we are used to seeing.

  1. Georgia Tech – In Georgia Tech’s double overtime game vs. Notre Dame, I saw a team that will be much better than everyone thought before the season started.  The Jackets might well play themselves into the NIT. This team has issues scoring, but they have an underrated frontline that’s actually pretty good.

  1. Florida State – Sans a most likely win vs. Virginia Tech tonight, the Seminoles could very likely could be the ACC’s most disappointing team.  At the beginning of the season, I had the Seminoles as a bubble team to get into the NCAA tournament.  I think will be lucky to get into the NIT now.

  1. Clemson – One thing we can always say about Brad Brownell’s Clemson teams are that they will play hard every minute on the floor defensively –but, whoa boy, they are challenged on offense.

  1. Boston College – Is this the Erick Green show, part two, only with Olivier Hanlon?  He is their stud – and the Eagles fortunes will ride with him the entire season.

  1. Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons gave Louisville all they could handle on Sunday night.  Danny Manning has them fighting – and we expect the Deacs to pull an upset before the year is over.

  1. Virginia Tech – The Hokies are ranked tenth in the country (and 2nd in the ACC) in three-point field goal percentage.  The Hokies win-loss record will be most likely be at the bottom of the league with Wake Forest, Boston College, and Clemson fighting for the cellar when the season is over.  However, we think Buzz Williams might get a signature win before the conference season is over.

That’s it – have a great week – and stay tuned for our site podcast on Sunday!!

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