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Our ACC Predictions!

Predicting the ACC isn't as easy as it used to be, and this year is going to be extremely competitive.  You can, we think, break the conference roughly in half and be just about right.  UNC, Duke, Wake, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech should finish in the top six.  If Georgia Tech, Maryland, Florida State, B.C., Virginia, or State moved up sharply, it'd be a bit of  surprise - and having said that, someone probably will.

The other factor which now plays in is the unbalanced schedule.  Maryland, for instance, gets Duke and UNC twice annually (we're told we were wrong about this), which may have something to do with their recent tournament struggles.  Why should they have to play both league powerhouses twice? If things went according to form, not that they always do, but still, they'd have four losses to dig out from under.  Not an ideal situation, obviously.

We broke it down with just the top six teams (projected) to see who got the harder path.  For UNC and Duke, it shouldn't be that big a factor.  UNC gets four road games against the top six; so does Duke. Duke gets rising power Wake twice, UNC twice, and Miami once.

Wake gets Duke home-and-home and UNC at home, Miami on the road, Clemson home-and-home, and Virginia Tech at home.  Not a bad draw, really, especially for a young team.

All of Miami's games against the top six, with the exception of Duke and UNC on the road, are at home.

Clemson gets Duke at home, UNC at Chapel Hill, which is the eternal loss since they've never won there, Wake home-and-home, Miami on the road, and home-and-home with Virginia Tech.

In the projected bottom half, Georgia Tech gets Duke at home, UNC on the road, home-and-home with Wake and Clemson, Miami at home, and Virginia Tech away.

Maryland gets the Duke and UNC matchups as mentioned, Wake at home, Miami home-and-home, Clemson away and Virginia Tech at home.

Florida State gets five of the games against the top six at home, with Duke, UNC, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech coming to Tallahassee.  They also travel to Duke, Wake, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.

B.C. gets Duke at home, UNC in Chapel Hill, Clemson at home, and home-and-homes with Wake, Miami, and Virginia Tech.

UVa gets Duke on the road, Wake and Miami at home, and home-and-homes with UNC, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.

State travels to Durham, Clemson, and Virginia Tech, and has home-and-homes with UNC, Wake, and Miami.

So who benefits and who got shafted? Well, Miami looks best.  They do get Duke once and UNC twice, but the rest is at home.  State by contrast gets UNC, Wake, and Miami at home but has to go on the road to play Duke, UNC, Wake, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech gets three at home and four on the road, including Duke, Wake and Miami.

None of this, of course, counts the unbalanced aspects of the bottom of the schedule, and so when someone like, say, B.C. gets hot at the end. Who knows?  It's always a crap shoot, but at least when there's a return visit for everyone, it's an understandable crap shoot.

As it is, like everyone else, we'll take UNC and Duke #1 and #2.  Marcus Ginyard's injury is a real problem for UNC's defense, and we're very tempted to take Duke first, not because we're Duke fans, but because we've seen enough ACC basketball to know that the margin is usually pretty thin between first and second.  We also like the potential for Duke's defense, and that could push Duke up as well.

We would take Wake third, because of their backcourt and their now-imposing frontcourt, but Miami's schedule is a major gift.

Clemson and Virginia Tech could easily flip-flop, but all six of these teams should make the tournament.

The bottom six, as we see them, are even tougher.  People are down on Virginia, but we could see a solid lineup.  Same for State.  B.C. has some nice young talent to put around Tyrese Rice.

In short, this could be a remarkably competitive season.  But you have to make some picks somewhere, so here are ours.

Duke NC Wake Miami Clemson Va. Tech
1 North Carolina H/A X A H/A H A
2 Duke X H/A H/A H A H/A
3 Miami A H/A H X H H
4 Wake Forest H/A H X A H/A H
5 Clemson H A H/A A X H/A
6 Virginia Tech H/A H A A H/A X
7 Georgia Tech H A H/A H H/A A
8 Maryland H/A H/A H H/A A H
9 Florida State H/A H A H/A H/A H/A
10 North Carolina State A H/A H/A H/A A A
11 Boston College H A H/A H/A H H/A
12 Virginia A H/A H H H/A H/A
This mag is a DBR joint!
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