Sunday, December 9, 2007

ACC Season is here.....and I'll be jumping up and down like I'm in a student section. So should you.

With the regular season officially kicking off tonight it is a great time to revisit the ACC basketball predictions. Many teams have played between 7 and 9 games and the coaches have further established which rotations they will use. Not much has changed at the top but the middle of the pack looks a little bit different. This year the ACC is very competitive as the conference won the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the ninth straight year. ACC teams went a combined 8-3 in the challenge this year proving that once again it is the premiere conference in the country. With this said, here are the updated rankings:

Team Predictions (updated 12/9/07):

1. North Carolina: Still the best. Simply put this team has an unreal amount of talent. They are getting a combined 38.4 points per game from their top 3 wing players (2 starters, 1 bench player). Danny Green is averaging 14 a game on 55% shooting from the field.
2. Duke: Solidly the second best team in this conference. They could have a scare against more experienced opponents like Clemson but they should finish no worse than second this year. Things are going well for you when your 8th man (Taylor King) shoots 50% from three point range and averages just under 10 points per.
3. Maryland: Gary is relying on a lot of freshman this year to provide valuable minutes but they have still have great experience at both guard sports. The key for them is that Eric Hayes is looking to score more. They'll be in good shape all season because their starting backcourt can create scoring opportunities for everyone else. Hayes and Vasquez are averaging a combined 11.4 assists per game.
4. Virginia: Big win at Arizona, tough loss at home against Syracuse (should be noted Sean Singletary had strep throat). The biggest surprise here is the vastly improved play of Adrian Joseph. The 6'7 forward is averaging 12 points and about 9 rebounds per game. Virginia will get some much needed help on defense when Tunji Soroye returns in mid to late January.
5. Clemson: Clemson is undefeated again at this point in the season but this year they have played some more formidable opponents. They also have 4 guys scoring in double figures each night.
6. North Carolina State: They have dropped due to 3 bad losses. I know they are lacking a point guard but you can't lose to East Carlina, get blown out at Michigan State, and lose to New Orleans at home. They'll be better once Tennessee transfer Marques Johnson becomes eligible next semester.
7. Florida State: This team is off to a great start (9-2). They have a great resume win against in-state rival Florida and really haven't gotten much from their highly touted freshman big men yet. Once Julian Vaughn becomes a bit more comfortable he and Alabi should really help this team inside.
8. Boston College: They are also off to a decent start but they still lack scoring and outside shooting. Two of their top 3 point shooters are freshmen.
9. Georgia Tech: Their record (4-4) doesn't indicate the type of team they have. They have played quality competition thus far while trying to recover from losing their starting point guard and small forward from last season. Getting 6-8, 235lbs. Zach Peacock will help the Jackets in both three point shooting and rebounding. He's tough on the opponents big man.
10. Miami: Undefeated Miami has more than exceeded expectations up to this point. I still think they will struggle in the ACC but they have definitely much better than last year. Great win on the road at Providence as well.
11. Virginia Tech: Less than impressive point guard play and youth in the backcourt will be difficult for them to overcome.
12. Wake Forest: Wake is slowly rebuilding. They have a very talented freshman in James Johnson and highly touted recruiting class coming in next year.

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