ACC Basketball: Predicting the Final Standings in Conference Play
When dealing with a conference as tough as the ACC is for basketball , it is difficult to predict how conference play will work out when judging teams solely on non-conference schedules.
Thus, now that every team has played at least one conference game, I will look at where I think each team will finish the season in the ACC standings.
Just for the record, this has nothing to do with the postseason (i.e. ACC tournament, NIT, NCAA Tournament) so please don't make any comments about how I am wrong because so-and-so is winning it all this year—that's not what this article is about.
12. Boston College
Following a 5-9 regular season where the Eagles lost at home to a 3-13 Rhode Island team, things weren't looking too bright for Boston College fans. Their stock certainly didn't improve following the 23-point shellacking they took at the Dean Dome to open conference play.
The bottom line is that this BC team is just plain bad. They will probably win a conference game this year, but only because the ACC is having a down year. Any other season and BC would be extraordinarily lucky to even have a close game in the conference schedule.
Predicted Final Record (Conference Record, Standing): 7-23 (2-14)
11. Georgia Tech
Despite having one of the all-around best players in the conference (in my opinion at least), in Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech just can't seem to get it together. After losing to Mercer at home, the Jackets have now lost four straight games. Their ACC opener was a loss to Duke, so that certainly hasn't helped the confidence around this team.
Georgia Tech is a solid team and should be competitive but I just don't see them doing very well in conference play this year. But if Glen Rice Jr. decides to stay for next year—which he probably will—then at least Tech fans have something to look forward to.
Predicted Result: 11-19 (4-12)
The main problem facing Miami is that their defense is sketchy. Sometimes their defense looks great and then they have games—such as the UNC-G game—where it looks like the defenders might as well be cardboard cutouts.
While Miami had a hard fought battle against UVA, I just don't see them pulling that off for the rest of the season.
Miami is still a tough team and shouldn't be underestimated—and has the potential to do much better than my predictions.
Predicted Final: 15-14 (6-10)
T-9th. Virginia Tech
Sorry Hokies, while it looked possible that this would be the year you finally popped the NCAA tournament bubble, I don't think it's going to happen. While VT had a strong non-conference schedule, once ACC play started their weak play was exposed.
Following losses to both Wake Forest and FSU, Virginia Tech will have to wait another year for their chance to go to the dance.
Predicted Results: 18-13 (6-10)
Clemson had a rough non-conference schedule. Not because of difficulty—in that respect it was easy—but in the fact they lost to many teams they should have beaten. Coming into their game against FSU, I had Clemson pegged to be in the ranks of Boston College and Georgia Tech at the bottom of the conference. Then they beat FSU by twenty points.
I believe that while this Clemson team will be inconsistent in conference play and their defense will be suspect, Clemson can still make a few wins especially against the teams in the lower half of the conference.
Predicted Final: (15-15, 7-9)
T-7th: Wake Forest
Wake Forest is coming off of one of the worst years in program history. Many, including myself, believed this year would be more of the same. CJ Harris and Travis McKie have had something to say about that. They are two of the top three scorers in the conference and McKie had an astounding 15 rebounds against Virginia Tech.
This will be a turnaround year under Coach Jeff Bzdelik, and once Tony Chennault gets more in-game experience this team could be pretty good. Next year will certainly be one to watch with Bzdelik also pulling in a nationally ranked top-fifteen recruiting class of six players for next year.
Final Predicted: (16-14, 7-9)
To start the year, Maryland looked like it was going to be a bottom dweller in the ACC. The early season blowout loss to Iona was especially condemning. But Terrell Stoglin and Alex Len are both great players and cornerstones of a Maryland team that could contend for the ACC title in the next few years.
The one thing hurting Maryland is inexperience and injuries. Len is a freshman and has had little time on the court due to some NCAA troubles. Len's TO rate of 3.3 is horrendous, especially considering the fact he is a big man and thus is not asked to carry the ball on every possession.
Final Predicted: 18-12 (8-8)
5. Florida State
Florida State puts out another solid team this year, looking to build on last year's team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Luke Loucks is a solid guard and Bernard James is good at rebounding, but neither is the dominant offensive threat needed to get above .500 in the ACC.
Florida State can challenge the best teams in the conference, but I don't see the Seminoles keeping up with offensive powerhouses like UNC and Duke.
Although they will have the same conference record as Maryland at 8-8, FSU wins the tiebreaker by winning on their home court in the only contest between the two teams this year.
Final Predicted: (17-13, 8-8)
4. NC State
Wow, NC State certainly has turned itself around. Mark Gottfried is a legitimate coach of the year candidate and has the Wolfpack looking at its first NCAA berth since 2006. NC State's return to power has been led by Richard Powell and Lorenzo Brown, who are another one of the ACC's great forward-guard combos.
NC State still has a ways to go from being back in the talks on the national level, but with their talent level in a weakened ACC, State should do just fine.
Predicted Final: 20-11 (9-7)
Virginia has certainly improved a lot in recent years. What used to be a one man team with Sean Singletary has finally put together an entire team of all-ACC caliber players. Mike Scott is an absolute beast and Jontel Evans is a great defensive guard.
However, as good as this team is, they are not at the UNC/Duke level that is required to win the regular season championship.
Final Predicted: 25-5 (12-4)
Duke has fielded another strong team and Krzyzewski should be able to power them to another top finish in conference play. But Austin Rivers has not been the force many expected him to be and that hurts this team. Regardless, Seth Curry and the Plumlee brothers should ensure that Duke finishes in the top two of the ACC yet again.
Predicted Final: 26-5 (13-3)
1. North Carolina
Outside of Duke fans, I think pretty much every one saw this coming. UNC is just a dominant team this year and will have very little trouble tearing up their opponents in ACC play. Enough has been said about their team in other articles so I'll keep this brief...
There is no way the Tar Heels won't win the regular season ACC championship.
Predicted Final: 27-4 (14-2)