We’re on the cusp of concluding, or in some cases already have concluded, ACC teams’ nonconference schedules. Tossed in the mix in these mid-December results were a smattering of ACC matchups.
So far, at least, there hasn’t been notable dropoff among teams that were leaders in 2022. And last year’s laggards, Pitt and NC State, already are within sight of matching their ‘22 win totals.
That’s even as Florida State and Louisville, the only ACC teams with losing records, have fallen off the end of Kyrie Irving’s flat earth.
The decline at Tallahassee is a bit of a shock. A 2-9 mark to this point makes it difficult to avoid Leonard Hamilton’s first losing season since 2005. As for the 0-9 hole dug by Louisville, the worst start bar none in ACC history, the trick will simply be to remain upbeat and competitive under Kenny Payne, a previously untried coach.
Boston College has hopes of keeping its head above water for the first time since 2018. Watching the Eagles in action, they’re clearly a bit short of conference-quality talent and polish. At .268 they’re also in the running for the worst team 3-point accuracy in ACC history, rivaling the .267 by Georgia Tech in 2015.
BC has 19 ACC games ahead after a triumph against Stonehill College, a Massachusetts school that left DII to join the Northeast Conference this season. The going is tough from here on out: the Eagles host Duke and face eight home and home contests against last year’s upper-division teams.
Pitt has made a good start on ending a dispiriting run of six consecutive losing seasons. After four sub-.500 efforts in four tries, coach Jeff Capel’s job security might depend on a positive result this time.
Success navigating a schedule rated 229th by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today suggests NC State may be in recovery after losing more games in 2022 than any squad in school history. Then again, there were the Wolfpack’s late collapses against Kansas and at Miami in their few meetings with quality opponents.
Home-and-home series remain in the future against ‘22 upper-echelon ACC finishers Duke, North Carolina and Wake. Visits also are in store to formidable Virginia and Virginia Tech. Those eight outings may well determine just how far Kevin Keatts’ program has rebounded. (Speaking of which, on a positive note the Pack is second in rebound margin in the ACC compared to a measly 14th in 2022.)
Notre Dame is back to finessing its way to victory, excelling in assist-turnover ratio, hitting threes, and converting free throws at an .820 rate, exceeding its 2017 ACC team record (.800). North Carolina, with a wealth of veteran talent, is trying to figure itself out, experiencing enough highs and lows already to fill a season.
And Clemson, surprisingly the ACC leader in 3-point accuracy (.420), is well on its way to its 10th straight winning season, extending a school record set last year.
Results Through Dec. 13, 2022
(W-L During 21st Century or Since Season Joined League,
Year Of Entry In Parentheses, Asterisk Upper Division ACC)
|W-L Since '01
Or Joined ACC