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An Early Look At Next Season’s ACC Race

This is for the most part a pretty savvy look ahead.

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Duke v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 15: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils drives the ball past Marial Shayok #4 of the Virginia Cavaliers during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on February 15, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images

For college basketball fans the off-season is for two main things: recruiting and speculation about next season.

The NBA playoffs are in there, but it’s not the same.

So speculation! has an early stab at next season’s ACC race. Here’s how they see it:

  1. Virginia
  2. Louisville
  3. Duke
  4. Virginia Tech
  5. Miami
  6. UNC
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Florida State
  9. Wake Forest
  10. NC State
  11. Syracuse
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. Clemson
  14. Boston College
  15. Pitt

It’s way too early for this but that’s half the charm. So here’s our way-too-early-take on their way-too-early-take.

UNC, Notre Dame and Syracuse are all used to success. They're all losing key pieces of course, but year after year they succeed. It’s not by accident. They won’t finish 6th, 7th and 11th.

We’re not sold on Virginia as #1 though the idea the recent transfers are due to improved talent is intriguing. Here’s something to consider though: if Mamadi Diakate and Jay Huff can both block shots effectively, Virginia’s defense is going to be devastating - more so than usual.

We think Louisville will finish near the top as will Duke.

Buzz Williams did a brilliant job las season despite injuries. This year? That’s a healthy team presumably and should be ready to really make a move in the ACC. We’re really impressed with how he’s transformed that program. The Hokies are on the verge of their greatest basketball era.

Miami seems about right.

UNC may have to go to small ball but Cameron Johnson’s situation isn’t yet resolved and would help a lot. Inside play takes a big hit though regardless.

We’ll have to reserve judgment on FSU but Christ Koumadje showed periodically that he could be a real force and as they say, you can’t teach 7-4. If he improves significantly, look out.

Wake Forest and NC State are both tricky. Danny Manning is building a program around an athletic core. John Collins is gone but aside from that big hit, Wake is still pretty athletic and growing up. We’re not ready go go out on a limb here but the Deacs are growing up.

Syracuse has some issues but like UVA, having a potent defender in the middle of their defense changes things and 7-2 Paschal Chukwe is back.

We might take Clemson ahead of Georgia Tech but the Yellow Jackets surprised everyone last year and return Ben Lammers and Josh Okogie, who we loved last year.

Brad Brownell is a very good coach who is stuck in a tough spot at Clemson because the ACC is just so potent. He may be on the hot seat but who could do better?

Good news for BC as the the unfolding disaster at Pitt moves the Panthers to the bottom of the league race.

BC at least has a dynamic backcourt. No one knows what Pitt has but it won’t be pulling a Georgia Tech next season.

One general theme to keep in mind: guard play should be really good almost everywhere in the conference next season. UNC is picked #6 here and will have a tremendous backcourt. Even BC’s is outstanding.

Guard play should be a major highlight in the ACC next season.

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