This is a new year for the ACC, and some would say a new era because of the new teams joining the ACC. This year Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh will be joining the ACC. It will be hard to know exactly how they will do against ACC opponents instead of their familiar Big East opposition. While you might assume that playing in the Big East would make them ready to take on the challenge of playing in the ACC, you never know how things will turn out with new teams.
Without further ado, here is how I see the ACC shaking out this season.
1. Duke Blue Devils
The Duke Blue Devils should be one of the best teams in the ACC, with one of the best, if not the best, starting fives in the conference. If they can compete on the boards, they should win the ACC this coming season.
2. Syracuse Orange
Their first year in the ACC should be a successful transition as they compete for a title. They lost a key player to last season’s team in Michael Carter-Williams, but should have a replacement for him in incoming freshman Tyler Ennis.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
This team is hard to place because of everything that has happened in the offseason. However, it’s still North Carolina, and they have great recruits coming in and should be a threat to win the ACC again this year.
4. Pittsburgh Panthers
They didn’t lose much from last year and get some important talent back. This team should improve from last year, and being a team that always plays hard can help them get back to the NCAA tournament.
5. Maryland Terrapins
They lost one of their biggest parts to last season’s team in center Alex Len, but getting Des Wells back should help them take a step forward this season. They will have more experience, which will benefit them coming into the 2013-14 season.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The last of the teams coming over from the Big East should do fine in their first year in the ACC. Their playing style and their coach, Mike Brey, could make them an interesting team in the ACC and put them on the bubble at the end of the year.
7. Virginia Cavaliers
8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech is bringing everyone back from last season’s team that struggled a year ago, but with the experience they’ll have, should make a run at the tournament this season. This will be the first team outside of the bubble talk and looking for an NIT bid.
9. Florida State Seminoles
An NIT team a year ago and a team bringing back almost everyone should have an improved team. However, Michael Snaer was a crucial part of their team last year and will be hard to replace.
10. N.C. State Wolfpack
The Wolfpack are one of the teams that will move the most, as they were one of the best teams in the ACC a season ago. This team could have been a NCAA tournament team, but with the key players lost from a season ago such as C.J. Leslie, they will be lucky to make the NIT this year.
11. Clemson Tigers
A team that didn’t lose much from last season however, lost their best player in Devon Booker and he won’t be easy to replace. He helped space the floor by giving them a great post player and still a very young team.
12. Boston College Eagles
These last few teams are teams getting almost everyone back but are still very young teams without much experience. Boston College should do better than these other two teams because they were better a season ago.
13. Miami Hurricanes
The team that will move the most from a season ago, a potential Final Four team to the bottom of the ACC. This team lost an immense number of players from the team a season ago and it will show this year. They will go from a team that opposing players were scared to play to a team they can’t wait to play.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Another young team, but should be improved. They lack the experience that most of the other teams have. This could be another long year for Demon Deacon fans.
15. Virginia Tech Hokies
This is another young team like all of them at the bottom of the ACC but they lost some players this season. This team is losing a major piece from a season ago in Erick Green who will be hard to replace and should leave them at the bottom of the ACC.
This is a big year for the ACC because of the new teams coming in to the conference. They should be able to get more teams in the tournament then a year ago and become a deeper conference. This should be an interesting and fun year for ACC fans and they will get to watch more than their fair share of great games.