The ACC did not have its best showing in the NCAA Tournament last season after looking like perhaps the best conference in the country leading up to the big dance. Virginia, who posted the most combined conference regular season and tournament wins in ACC history was the first ever 16 seed to lost to a one, Duke lost in overtime in its bid to make the Final Four, and North Carolina got housed by Texas A&M in the round of 32. The two lowest seeds to make the big dance, Florida State and Syracuse, both ironically overachieved with Florida Stats making the Elite Eight As a nine seed and Syracuse going to the Sweet 16 after being in the First Four.
As for this season, Duke is the team to beat in the conference once again as coach Mike Krzyzewski has the top three prospects in the 2018 recruiting class as rated by ESPN entering the program.
These freshman will be called upon to play bug minutes because unlike in most years, Duke does not have any big contributors back from a season ago to lead the charge. The team’s top returner down low is 6-foot-11 Marques Bolden, who had averages of 3.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and a block per game off the bench as a sophomore.
He and 6-foot-7 Zion Williamson will likely make up the team's staring frontcourt, with Williams being the number two rated prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by ESPN. Williamson is famous for his highlight reel dunks and is a guy that checks all the boxes. His jumper has range, can score down low, is a monster on the glass, and can guard nearly anyone on the court.
R.J. Barrett was rated number one in its 2018 recruiting class and figures to be plugged in in at the three spot with his 6-foot-7 frame. This is a kid that may leave a bit of something to be desired, but he is a good two slash three guard cross that finds ways to score and has very good range.
Tre Jones was rated as the top point guard guard by ESPN for the 2018 class and has solid size for a main ball handler at 6-foot-2. He is the younger brother of Tyus Jones, who ran the point when Duke won the 2015 National Championship and has a similar skill set. He is a superb ball handler and defender, though it would not be surprising if he struggles with outside shooting at times during the season.
Cam Reddish was the number three rated prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by ESPN and is another 6-foot-7 wing that does a bit of everything. He is not the shooter Barrett is, but is a better driver and can be a bit of a point forward when needed. He does not have great strength, but Kevin Durant didn't either and he played just fine in both college and the professional level. As an added bonus, Reddish has an uncanny ability to come up with steals.
At No. 41 in ESPN's top 100, forward Joey Baker is the lowest rated freshman entering the program. He reclassified from the 2019 class to 2018, so he will likely be a bit raw this season and might end up redshirting if he does not get a lot of playing time out of conference. The team has not just Bolden, but other reserve big men Javin DeLaurier, Jack White and Antonio Vrankovic back.
Of the three, the 6-foot-10 DeLaurier is the only player that got over six minutes per game, as he was more of a force on the glass with 3.4 points and four rebounds per game in a reserve roll. If there is a weakness with Duke, it is that its guard depth isn't great, which makes junior Alex O'Connell's progression paramount. He notched 3.3 points while making 48.9 percent of his 3-point attempts,
Last season, Duke's offense was masterful to begin last season and the tea, ended up shutting teams down on defense towards the end of the season. This year's team has more willing defenders coming in, so Duke will likely play a more consistent style throughout the season. The Blue Devils were second in the country in total rebounds last year and with all the size on this roster, should make hay on the glass again.
The team's biggest concern is not having great depth in the backcourt due to this team's glut of 6-foot-7 stretch players.
Syracuse has one of the best returning trios in America, one that led the Orange from the First Four to the Sweet 16 a season ago. Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Franklin Howard combined for 72.9 percent of Syracuse’s total points and started every game last season.
Brissett was the big man of the three at 6-foot-8, registering a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game to go with 14.9 points and 1.2 steals per game. Battle was the highest volume shooter of the three with a team-high 19.2 points to go along with 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
Howard served as the point guard, dishing 4.7 assists per game to go with 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Perhaps the biggest weakness of this trio was 3-point shooting, as they tried on about 19 triples per game between them, but none of the three had an outside shooting percentage north of 33.1 percent. It was a big reason the Orange were 328th in the country, as the team outside these three combined to make nine 3s for the whole 37 game season.
The rest of the team essentially rebounded for these three last season, the biggest of who was 7-foot-2 Paschal Chukwu. He started every game last season, averaging 5.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. His blocks per game ranked 19th in the country last season among qualified players as total blocks were 12th.
Coach Jim Boeheim will likely look to 6-foot-9 Marek Dolezaj for more offense after he started the final 17 games of the season as a freshman. As a starter, he made 57.8 percent of his shots from the floor with averages of 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.
Guard Braedon Bayer and forward Matthew Moyer both transferred in the offseason Moyer lost his starting spot to Dolezaj mid-season, averaging 10.7 minutes per game as a reserve compared to 21.3 as a starter, and shot 55.1 percent in a starting roll with averages of 4.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
This means Bourama Sidibe is the only player returning that saw more action in more than 18 games last season. The 6-foot-10 big man had 2.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game off the bench. He should have a similar role this season with 6-foot-6 East Carolina wing Elijah Hughes entering the program after notching 7.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a freshman two seasons ago, He made 27.3 percent of his 3s, which does not solve that riddle for the Orange.
The team will rely on Jaley Carey, who was rated by ESPN as the No. 38 freshman in the 2018 class. He was one of the best pure long distance shooters in the class and is good at getting steals on defense. If Howard Washington, who is more of a traditional point guard and played sparingly in 18 games last season, can also prove himself worthy of minutes, the Orange will finally be able to give its big three some help.
Battle, Brissett, and Howard were three of just five players in America that averaged at least 38 minutes per game. It is a style that does not lead to success and with the added pieces, likely will not happen again. The Orange 2-3 zone and forced opponents' in the 14th highest percent of shots that came from long range in the country. With Syracuse holding opponents to the 22nd-worst 3-point shooting percentage among DI teams and fifth-worst overall field goal percentage, it led to to Syracuse having the 10th best overall defense in points per game allowed and helped them go 15-8 in games decided by nine points or fewer.
This team has one of the best three headed monsters in America and a defense that stifles opponents. The Orange should be in the ACC's top four and have the chops to get back to the second week of the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia had a 20-1 record against ACC opponents last season, the most wins against ACC foes in any single season in ACC history. The problem is, it was all squandered when the team lost to 16 seed UMBC by 20 points in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia had the nation's best defense in regards to points per game allowed, played the slowest pace of play in the country, and the Retrievers spoiled those stats by taking 3s before Virginia could set up its pack line defense and knocked down everything. It was surprising considering the team held opponents to the 10th-worst 3-point shooting percentage.and third-worst overall shooting percentage in America.
This team will still be playing its slow, defensive style, but hope its team can come up with enough offense to overcome a team having a hot shooting night. The leader of that bunch is Kyle Guy, who had 14.1 points and a steal per game with a 3-point shooting percentage of 39.2. The Cavaliers had the No. 41 3-point shooting percentage in America last season, but its most accurate outside shooter, Devon Hall, graduated in the spring.
He was second on the team in nearly every category with 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists to go with an 89.4 free throw shooting percentage and 43.2 3-point shooting percentage. The free throw hit rate was 29th in the country, though it might have been lower had teammate Ty Jerome had enough free throw attempts to qualify.
The 6-foot-5 junior is back after he made 90.4 percent of his free throws and 37.9 percent of his triples to go with averages of 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and team-highs 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Many feel Virginia's fate might have been different in the big dance had sixth man De'Andre Hunter not been out due to injury for the big dance. He registered 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds while making 38.2 percent of his 3s.
Senior big man Jack Salt started every game last season and might be called upon for more production on offense. He had 3.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. The team is hoping 6-foot-11 Jay Huff can give him some help after he was limited to just 12 games as a freshman. In the small sample size, he recorded 3.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game and also showed he has range to shoot 3s, though he hit just 28.6 percent of his limited amount of attempts.
These two could play a fair amount of minutes in tandem with Isaiah Wilkins out of eligibility after he had team-highs 1.4 blocks 6.2 rebounds per game to go with six points and 1.2 steals per game. Mamadi Diakite should also get a lot of minutes he gave the Cavaliers 5.4 points and three rebounds per game off the bench. He is a very good free throw shooter for being 6-foot-9 too, hitting 78 percent of them.
There is one big question with this team, and that is whether or not Alabama transfer Braxton Key will be eligible this season. He had 12 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game when starting full time as a freshman during the 2016-17 season, and saw those averages dip to 7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game when he only started half the Crimson Tide's games a season ago.
Whether or not Key is eligible, Virginia does have a solid group coming back, but the question is, did UMBC uncover the blueprint to taking down the pack line defense? The Cavaliers figure to be contenders for the ACC crown again, but is the backcourt of Kyle Guy and company enough to lift this team to victory if they fall behind in games? That will determine whether or not Virginia gets over the hump and makes the Final Four for the first time since Ralph Sampson was on campus.
North Carolina tied with four other squads for third place in the conference as it was a bit of an inconsistent year for the Tar Heels. They began the season with the biggest upset loss of the season, falling at home against Wofford as an over 25 point favorite and had three streaks of at least two losses in ACC play, but won four in a row in January and six in a row in February. The team was third in the country in rebound rate, but were 153rd in the country in 2-point shooting percentage and had the most offensive blocked shots of any team in the country, which had a lot to do with the team's inconsistent play.
The Tar Heels will look to avenge its first weekend bow out of last year's big dance by building around Luke May. The 2017 NCAA Tournament hero became a focal point of the offense last season with 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds,2.4 assists, a block, and a steal. He also shot a team-best 43.1 percent from 3-point range, which was massive for a team that had just seven guys log at least 10 minutes per game last season.
The top scorer and leader in minutes per game from that bunch, Joel Barry, is out of eligible after he registered 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He was also the team's best free throw shooter, making 89.4 percent of his attempts at the charity stripe, which ranked 32nd in the country among qualified players.
The team also loses its main distributor Theo Pinson, who it felt like was at Chapel Hill for 100 years. He was one of the few main ball handlers in the country with 6-foot-6 size and had 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He was a poor 3-point shooter and rarely took outside shots, as Kenny Williams checked that box.
Williams is back for his senior year after he had averages of 11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and a steal per game. At times he can take over a game with his outside shooting, as he converted 40.2 percent of his triples last season.
Cameron Johnson has a bit more size than Williams at 6-foot-7 and will be a hard guy for foes to defend at 6-foot-7. He had 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game with a 34.1 3-point shooting percentage and made 84.7 percent of his free throws. The team has lots of 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7 guys back, and it will be either Seventh Woods or Coby White who assumes the reigns at the point.
White is a true freshman that was rated as the No. 23 freshman in the country be ESPN for the 2018 class. At 6-foot-5, he has similar size to Pinson, though he isn't quite as solid on defense and is actually a far superior shooter. Woods missed 17 games a season ago due to a broken bone in his right foot and had a tough time getting into the floor with just seven minutes per game. He is a 6-foot-2 pass first guard that is perhaps the worst shooter on the roster. Jack Felton could also find himself running some point after he had 1.6 assists in 9.7 minutes per game as a freshman.
Sophomore forwards Garrison Brooks and Sterling Manley both become received very solid minutes at the beginning of the season, including 17 starts for Brooks, with each seeing their minutes fluctuate at the end of the 2017-18 season. The two had a combined 9.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game and should see more minutes this season since the Tar Heels will likely go with a bigger lineup.
North Carolina won the National Title two years ago with one of the most dominant rebounding teams in recent memory. A lot of those players left after winning the championship, leaving the team with a bunch of inexperienced post players. With guys like Brooks and Manley now having a year under their belt, this style should return. The team is also without Barry, which could lead to seldom-used guards Brandon Williams and Andrew Platek also becoming rotation players at some point,.
Luke May is one of the best stretch players in America and h's paired with a shooter in Williams that can take over a game at any time. The big question is who will run the point, which is why North Carolina will likely be more of a 23 win four seed this year in the tournament and could fall out of the top four in the ACC standings.
Florida State made it to the Elite Eight as a nine seed last season with a rotation that was 10 deep and had loads of size. The Seminoles had the 13th most blocks in the country last season, with one of the downsides being the team's free throw percentage being 267th with so many bigs.
Two of the four players that averaged at least eight points per game last season are gone, which means it's Terance Mann's team now. Phil Cofer, the 6-foot-8 forward, led the team in scoring last season with 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds and hit 37.5 percent of his 3s. He is back as a redshirt senior though, paramount with 6-foot-6 wing Braian Angola-Rodas being our of eligibility. He had 12.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, three assists, and 1.3 steals per game and was also good from deep, making 37.6 percent of his 3s. Only Mfiondu Kabengele had a better hit rate, and he took just 0.8 per game while averaging 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game off the bench as a 6-foot-9 freshman.
With 7-foot-0 0 Ike Obiagu transferring after starting 14 games as a freshman with averages of 2.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. His blocks were ranked 38th in the country on a per game basis among all qualified players in the country. This also makes the return of 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje all the more important after he notched 6.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.
This team will be anchored by guards with size, with Mann leading the charge as he gave the team 12.6 points. 5.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game as a 6-foot-6 stretch two. The team loses a backcourt starter to transfer in CJ Walker as he collected eight points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and a steal per game.
Fortunately, 6-foot-5 Trent Forrest is back to be the team's main distributor following a sophomore campaign that yielded 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds coupled with team-highs 1.6 steals and 4.1 assists per outing. He will be able to pass to PJ Savoy and M.J. Walker, who had a combined 14.2 point with Walker making 34.5 percent of his 3s and Savoy 37. They are also the only two returning players that made over 70 percent of their free throws a year ago.
The team has an additional guard option with David Nichols entering the program as a graduate transfer from Albany. Over the last two seasons, he shot 36 percent from distance and 80 percent at the free throw line with averages of 16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
Florida State had the 13th rated recruiting class by 247Sports for 2018, so the team will look to make it back to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament with this bunch. Leonard Hamilton is an awful in-game coach, and that's putting it lightly, but this team has so much talent that it won't matter much because this team should win a lot of games by over 10 points. It showed as the team was 7-7 in games decided by eight or fewer points.
If either lightly-used 6-foot-8 forward Wyatt Wilkes or Harrison Prieto can do enough to earn some minutes, the Seminols have the goods to be in the conference's top three and be a top 10 team.
From that same state, Miami made the NCAA Tournament last season, and overcame an injury to star guard Bruce Brown to tie for third in the ACC with an 11-7 conference mark and make the NCAA Tournament as a six seed. The team had a record of 22-10 and had its season ended by a Loyola Chicago buzzer beater.
Getting back into the top 25 might be a challenge as its three main starting guards from last season are gone as it will now be Chris Lykes engineering the offense. The 5-foot-7 sophomore had 10 starts at the end of last season, notching 9.6 points and 2.3 assists per game, with those averages jumping to 12.8 points and 2.9 assists per the final 2 games of the year. He was also the only player that took over 0.5 free throws per game that made over 72 percent of them as Miami had the No. 321 free throw shooting percentage in America.
The team's top scorer last season was Lonnie Walker, who turned pro and became a first round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He was most a shooter with 11.5 and 2.6 rebounds per game, making 34.6 percent of his outside shots. Brown was the most well-rounded of the backcourt pieces as he had a team-high 7.1 rebounds and four assists to go with 11.4 points and 1.3 steals per game. He turned pro too, but with him missing the final 14 games last season, the Hurricanes are already equip to play without him.
Senior Anthony Lawrence Jr. will also play a huge role this season as the 6-foot-7 wing made 43.2 percent of his triple tries and filled out the stat sheet with 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, a team-best 1.4 steals, and a block per game.
He may need to shoot a bit more with Ja'Quan Newton out of eligibility after he gave the team 8.8 points and 2.6 assists per game. He shot just 62 percent from the charity stripe and 25.9 percent from beyond the arc, which will mean that Florida Gulf Coast graduate transfer Zach Johnson will likely be an upgrade for the guard stable.
Johnson made 39.2 percent of his 3s during the 2017-18 season with averages of 16.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, three assists, and two steals per game. He was tied for 33rd in the country for steals per game.
Dejan Vasiljevic got 20 starts as a sophomore last season, and averaged nine points and 2.5 rebounds with a 41.1 percent 3-point shooting percentage. The key for him is getting to the free throw line more, as he made 87.5 percent of the 16 free throws he attempted last season.
The team lacked pure low post players last season, with 6-foot-10 Ebuka Izundu and 6-foot-9 Sam Waardenburg being the only two that saw minutes last season. Waardenburg played 21 games as a freshman with 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. With making 87.5 percent of his free throws and 43.8 percent of his 3s, it would not be surprising if the team tries ti get him more open looks.
Izundu was more of a traditional big man as he had five points and 3.8 rebounds per game off the bench. He also made 69.2 percent of his field goals, which would have been in the top five in the country if he attempted enough shots to qualify.
Miami does not bring in a single true freshman, so this time will look to 6-foot-10 Deng Gak for some minutes after he took a redshirt last season. With a 7-foot-5 wingspan, he and junior Dewan Huell should be the main rim protectors for the Hurricanes. Huell is 6-foot-11 and registered 11.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, and a block per game.
Miami now has a mix of solid rim protectors and complimentary 3-point shooters. Losing Brown last season has a chance to pay dividends as it gave other guys minutes they may not have received otherwise. This team has the goods to make the second weekend of the tournament and be the top for the ACC.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell entered the 2017-18 season on the hit seat and led the team to a 25-10 record overall, which included an 11-7 mark in the ACC. The team lost Donte Grantham, who was second on the team in points and rebounds, early on in the conference season and managed to go 9-7 in his absence. He has moved on along with fellow forward Mark Donnal and Gabe DeVoe, but have a skilled backcourt returning.
Grantham gave the team 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds along with shooting percentages of 78 percent at the free throw line and 41.9 from downtown. DeVoe also made 78 percent of his free throws while notching 14.2 points per game, though he paired it with 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
Donnal hit at a 47.6 percent clip with 3.7 points per game off the bench, as Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell are the only two returning players that made more than 14 triples last season. Reed was the team's top scorer and did it all with 15.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and a team-best 1.7 steals per game.
Mitchell was the team's top distributor with 3.6 assists to go with 12.2 points and three rebounds, as he made 36.8 percent of his 3s and Reed 35.4. An issue for the Tigers was depth as they used a seven man rotation throughout much of the season.with forwards Aamir Simms and David Skara needing to aid in replacing the departed big men.
The two had a combined 19 starts, most of which came after the Grantham injury, as the two had a total of 7.3 points, six rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Both took a few 3s with Simms making 32.6 percent of them and Skara 22.7. Starter Elijah Thomas is also back for another year as he gave Clemson 10.7 points and led the team with 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. His blocks per game rated 27th among all DI players in the country last season.
The frontcourt will get a boost with 6-foot-10 Oral Roberts forward Javan White coming in after he put up 10.2 points and nine rebounds per game for the Summit League program last season. Him entering the program is big because Clemson had the No. 12 rated 2018 recruiting class according to 247Sports.
It would not be surprising if 6-foo-5 freshman John Newman III sees minutes as he is the best recruit the team brought in and is a solid defender. Both Clyde Trapp and Anthony Oliver II might also be rewarded with additional playing time as both averaged just under eight minutes per game in specialty backcourt roles. Trapp is the better passer while Oliver is more of an outside shooter, making 34.6 percent of his triples.
Clemson overachieved a bit last season, but this is still a solid team that should be in the middle of the ACC this season and receive a respectable seed to the NCAA Tournament. This team has a similar feel to that of Florida State last season minus the depth, lots of size and length, but not a ton of good guards to turn to outside of the guys in the starting five.
NC State was also 11-7 in ACC play last season, earning a number nine seed to the NCAA Tournament, going 21-12 overall behind an eight man rotation. This team will look much different with five of those players gone, including top scorer Allerik Freeman, who had 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 assists per game.
Freeman also led the team in 3-point attempts with 5.5 per game, making 38.5 percent of them and hit 77.6 percent of his free throws as well. This is big as the Wolfpack were 251st in the country in free throw shooting percentage, as only Braxton Beverly has a better percentage among returning players.
Beverly helped in a number of ways last season, posting numbers of 9.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and a steal per game. He made 38.5 percent of his five 3s per game and converted 81.6 percent of his free throws as a freshman. He will be passing to Torin Dorn a lot in the backcourt as the 6-foot-5 senior had 13.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and a steal per game. He is not a guy that lights it up from distance, making 31.1 percent of his 2.2 triples per game last season, which makes Markell Johnson's return all the more important.
As a sophomore, he shot 40.9 percent from long range and ran the point with averages of 8.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game, His assists per game were fifth in the country . The with Sam Hunt's 5.5 points per game being the only other piece from last year's guard stable gone, the team should have a solid backcourt.
With that said, nearly every big man from last season is gone, including Turkish 7-foot-0 center Omer Yurtseven. Before turning pro in the offseason, he led the team in rebounds with 6.7 and blocks with 1.8 per game and made 50 percent if his 44 3-point attempts during the 2017-18 season. He also chipped in 13.5 points per game, which is magnified by the graduations of Lennard Freeman and Abdul-Malik Abu.
Both were part-time starters last season with Abu having 5.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and Freeman contributing 7.9 points and 4.3 boards while also ranking second on the roster in blocks. The team brings in 6-foot-10 Derek Funderburke, the number four rated JUCO recruit in the 2018 class by jucorecruiting.com to help solidify the post. He originally recruited to Ohio State, and decided to play at the lower level for the 2017-18 season after a coaching change in the summer. He registered Averaged 11.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game at the lower level and has pretty good range on his shot.
Samford graduate transfer Wyatt Walker should also receive a lot of minutes in the post as he averaged 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He was also a 76.1 percent free throw shooter, but was limited to just two games last year due to injury. His ailment had a lot to do with the team going from 20-16 the season before to 10-22 last season.
The team also has a pair of rated four-star recruits by 247Sports coming into the program in 6-foot-9 Ian Steele and 6-foot-7 Jericole Hellems. Steele is a bit more of a traditional back to the basket producer while Hellems has a bit more range on his shot.
The team also brings in a transfer to fortify the guard rotation in Blake Harris. The NCAA made him immediately eligible in the summer after he played 14 games as a freshman at Missouri during the 2017-18 season. He appeared in 14 games starting nine with 3.8 points, 3.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. He is not a guy with good range though, as he missed ever 3-pointer he attempted.
Topping things off is Florida International graduate transfer Eric Lockett, who will be one of the team's most important wings. He made just 29.2 percent of his 3s last season, but did not take many of them and did a lot of other things with averages of 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
NC State does not have a tons of guys will light the world on fire from distance, but the ones that take deep shots are pretty darn good. The Wolfpack be solid on the glass and have a guard in Johnson that has the potential to lead the nation in assists per game. This team likely will not be back in the ACC top three, but should have a similar overall record to last season and should be a fringe top 25 team that makes the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Tech went 10-8 in league play and made the NCAA Tournament as an eight seed last season on the back of a guard-heavy squad that was sixth in the country in field goal and 2-point shooting percentage. Buzz Williams' team was 21-12 overall with five of its top six scorers all shooting at least 39.2 percent from 3-point range.
The only player gone from last season is guard Justin Bibbs, who averaged 13.3 points per game as mostly a designated scorer. He took a team-high 5.4 3s per game, making 39.8 percent of them. Having point guard Justin Robinson back is a good deodorant for this loss as he had 14 points and 2.8 rebounds per game along with team-bests 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill are a pair of 6-foot-5 double-digit scorers that Robinson will be able to pass to. They combined to record 21.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game with the two making 40.1 percent of the 9.2 triples per game they hoisted.
The team was 239th in rebound rate last season as just two players taller than 6-foot-5 played last season. The top rebounding force was Chris Clarke, who also shot 42.4 percent from long range and dished three assists per game to go with 8.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a sixth man. With him being suspended days before the start of the season, it really affects this team’s rotation.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. was the team's staring center, accounting for 30 of the team's 74 blocks last season with 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. As an added bonus, he was the second-best free throw shooter on the team, making 74.7 percent of his attempts.
The team also has undersized 6-foot-5 forward hybrid P.J. Horne, who had 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game as a freshman. How many minutes he gets is very dependent on how quickly freshman wing Landers Nolley, who is the 6-foot-7, integrates into the system. Nolley did a good job of getting stronger and had a growth spurt late in his high school career as he is a guy that can not only shoot and hit jumpers, but also do a fairly decent job of being a rim protector.
Guards like Isaiah Wilkins and Jonathan Kabongo, who also come in as a part of the 2018 recruiting class, will likely not see a lot of playing time with how deep the backcourt is. Nolley is the only ESPN top 100 prospect entering the program this season, as he was No. 93 in the four-letter network's rankings.
The Hokies should be a bit better on the glass and have a roster that can shoot with almost anyone in the country sans a team like Villanova from the 2017-18 season. If this team can bear down a bit on defense, as Williams' team was 142nd in defensive efficiency, were 165th in 3-point shooting defense in regards to percentage, and 319th in percentage of shots blocked on defense.
This team is efficient on offense though to make opponents be near flawless themselves though with the nation's No. 23 assists to turnover ratio. This style should lead Virginia Tech to a similar season to what they had in the 2017-18 campaign with a few head scratching losses, a few huge wins, and the Hokies making the NCAA Tournament as a fringe top 25 team with Clarke’s suspension.
Notre Dame was hit by Murphy's Law last season, going from a top five team to not even making the NCAA Tournament due to a laundry list of injuries. The return on Bonzie Colson late was not enough to get the Irish into the field of 68, due in large part to the team going 8-10 in ACC play as the team finished with an overall record of 21-15 overall.
The injuries to Colson and starting guard D.J. Harvey did give the young guys on the roster a lot more playing time than they expected though and could pay dividends this season. Colson averaged 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 2.2 steals per game, which is a ton of production to lose, and the team was 15-6 with him in the lineup, which is a bit deceiving because the 6-9 mark the team had without him was against ACC opponents.
With the 6-foot-5 swing man being gone for so many games last season, perhaps the biggest loss is that of guard Matt Farrell, who had averages of 16.3 points, 5.5 assists, and a steal per game. The assists were 45th among qualified players in the country and the team went 2-3 in the five games he missed last season. Farrell also made 37.7 percent of the 8.4 3-pointers per game he took, as he was 18th in the country in 3s attempted per game as well while Colson was more of a down low presence despite being undersized.
An underrated departure from last year's group is that of 6-foot-9 forward Martinas Geben, who had 11.1 points and eight rebounds per game and started all 36 of them. He was the team's best free throw shooter at 85 percent and was a big reason the Irish were 38th in free throw shooting percentage as a team last season.His graduation means John Mooney will likely step into the starting lineup.
As a sophomore, he was the team's most accurate 3-point shooter, converting 41.9 percent of his 3s, though he shot just 53.1 percent at the charity stripe while posting 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Six-foot-6 wing Rex Pflueger will also be a huge cog in the 2018-19 squad as he started all but one contest last season and was a valuable asset with his ability to help in a bevy of way.
As a junior he had averages of eight points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game, though his shooting percentage of 35.8 percent needs to improve. He will have help with T.J. Gibbs back following a junior year in which he took a big leap forward with 40.3 3-point shooting percentage on 5.6 attempts per game to go with averages of 15.3 points, 2.8 rebounds. three assists, and a steal per game. He also converted 83.8 percent of his free throws.
Coach Mike Brey had three ESPN top 100 recruits coming , the top rated being 6-foot-9 forward Nate Laszewski. He is a similar player to Mooney in that he is solid down low, but also a very good 3-point shooter. He was rated as the No. 54 prospect in the 2018 class and should be at the very least a priority reserve right away. The team is also hoping 6-foot-9 senior Elijah Burns takes off after being named a captain despite having just 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game during the 2017-18 season.
Six-foot-11 transfer Juwan Durham has also been brought in to give this team even more depth in the post. He sat out the 2017-18 season per NCAA transfer rules after a freshman year at the AAC school that yielded just 8.3 minutes, 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He was the No. 52 prospect in ESPN's top 100 recruits for 2016.
Dane Goodwin at 6-foot-5 has a similar body type to the 6-foot-6 Harvey, who had 5.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, but is a cleaner shooter. Harvey shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and 62.1 percent at the free throw line in his 19 games a season ago. With 6-foot-7 wing Nikola Djogo back after getting 15.7 minutes per game off the bench more for defensive purposes as he shot just 28.4 percent from the floor with 2.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game a year ago, Goodwin could take his place in the rotation.
Robby Carmody will also vie for minutes in the rotation as he enters as ESPN's No. 85 rated 2018 prospect, though he is a bit of a better rebounder and loss of a shooter as a 6-foot-4 wing. This team has just about everything, expect a point guard.
Freshman Prentiss Hubb, who is coming off a torn ACL suffered in September of 2017 and is a rated four-star prospect by 247Sports, is expected to run some point as the distributing will likely be done by committee. Pflueger is a very good passer for his size, Gibbs is a shooting guard, but has good court vision as well.
Notre Dame does not have a starting five that will strike fear into opponents, but this team has tons of players at every spot except the point. This team has the low post play and guard depth to win a lot of games, but this is a team that will likely be experimenting with a lot of combinations, which gives the Irish both a high ceiling and a low floor.
This is a team that could finish just below .500 or in the top 25. The middle ground is this team being around 8-10 in ACC play and being on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Louisville had one of the most tumultuous years a program could with losing coach Rick Pitino and ESPN top 15 recruit Brian Bowen before the season started. It led to a potential top 10 team missing the big dance and going 9-9 in ACC play and 22-14 overall. The team was coached by a guy in his early 30's in David Padgett that had never been a DI head coach, and that has changed in a big way with Xavier's Chris Mack being hired in the offseason.
Louisville had all size and no backcourt last season, which will undergo a face lift, especially with top shot blocker Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility. He was 11th in the country in blocks per game with 2.8 to pace a team that was fourth in the country in total blocks. He chipped in 6.8 points and five rebounds per game as he was primarily a defensive stopper.
The team also loses its top rebounder in 6-foot-10 Raymond Spalding, who was drafted in the second round of the NBA draft after he went for 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game. It makes Akoy Agau's second go around with the school all the more important after he began his career with the ACC school, and spent last season at SMU. He hardly played in two seasons with the Cardinals, and the past two seasons at Georgetown and SMU, had 17 starts and 59 games played overall with averages of 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. As an added extra, he made 78 percent of his free throws.
The scoring mantle will be passed to junior V.J. King, as he is the team's top returning scorer after pouring in 8.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a starter. He shot 32 percent from distance, something he will likely have to do more of as Deng Adel and Quentin Snider, who led the team with a combined 8.8 triple tries per game, are both gone.
Adel led the team in scoring last year as a 6-foot-7 combo guard with 15 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Snider, meanwhile, ran the point with 11.8 points, a team-high four assists per game, and 2.7 rebounds per game. He also made 41.6 percent of his 3s and a team-high 86.6 percent of his free throws.
The team will need to rely on transfers to carry the backcourt with Ryan McMahon being the Cardinals' top returning guard. He has 6.1 points per game and made 40.8 percent of his 3s and 84.4 percent of his free throws. Dwayne Sutton also returns after notching 4.3 points and four rebounds per game off the bench as a 6-foot-5 hybrid wing.
These two will be joined by Richmond graduate transfer Khwan Fore and Samford's Christen Cunningham, who was limited to just nine games last season due to injury. He started in 110 games at Samford, averaging 11.4 points and 6.3 assists per game in his last full season, which was the 2016-17 campaign. He shot 35.4 percent on the few 3s he took and made 81.7 percent of his free throws.
Fore started 26 games for the A10 school a year ago, making just 27.5 percent of his 3s, but logged 11 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Darius Perry, who is 6-foot-2 like the two transfers, is back for his sophomore season after he made 41.6 percent of his 3-point attempts the last 16 games of the 2017-18 season and averaged 3.9 points per game to go with an 86.4 free throw shooting percentage.
Wyatt Battaile is the lone incoming freshman and is not expected to contribute, which makes the addition of 6-foot-10 UConn transfer Steven Enoch all the more important. As a sophomore during the 2016-17 season, he averaged 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench. He and 6-foot-8 Jordan Nwora, who delivered 5.7 points per game and had 43.9 percent of his 3s, should provide this team with enough depth for a decent rotation.
Six-foot-11 Malik Williams, who started 12 games last season, will also need to take strides this after as he is coming off a freshman season that yielded 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. He has the potential to be a dangerous stretch player, as he took 1.9 triples per game last season, converting 32.3 percent of them.
Louisville's rebuild should lead to this program being in the upper half of the ACC standings fo the 2019-20 season, but this year might be a slog. Unless King can have a huge year, the Cardinals lack a guy that can take over a game. This team lacks scorers, has lost a lot of its shot blocking from a year ago, and are relying on graduate transfers, none of whom are natural point guards, to run the offense. This will be a team in the bottom half of the ACC and possibly below .500 overall.
After badly overachieving during the 2016-17 season with a trip to the NIT Final, Georgia Tech came back to Earth last season, going 6-12 in ACC play and 13-19 overall. The team did have point guard Jose Alvarado play rather well last season, but must replace the team's other three double-digit scorers from last season.
The biggest loss is leading scorer Josh Okogie, who led the team in scoring with 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and a block per game, all while shooting a team-best 38 percent from 3-point range and 82.1 percent at the free throw line.
Tadric Jackson joined him in the backcourt in his final year of eligibility as he had 12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. His shooting percentages were poor as he knocked down 28.6 percent of his 3s and 61.2 percent of his free throws. Alvarado was much more efficient as he made 37 percent of his 3s, 80.2 percent of his free throws, and registered 12.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
With Georgia Tech ranking 325th in 3-point shooting percentage and 335th in 3-point shooting rate, the team needs to uncover some outside shooting. Curtis Haywood II could be a guy that supplies some as in 15 games last season he started seven games and made 37 percent of his 3s and 83.3 percent of his free throws while chipping in 5.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
The frontcourt also needs much help with 6-foot-10 Ben Lammers out of eligibility after he 11.7 points and 1.2 steals to go with team-highs 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He ranked 20th among DI players in blocks per game. Abdoulaye Gueye will now be the main man in the post after he started 23 games last season and had 5.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
Six-foot-9 sophomores Moses Wright and Evan Cole will also need to take steps forward after they had a combined 6.8 points, six rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game. Both are trying to develop the range to shoot 3s, Cole made 27.3 percent of his 3s last year and Wright 6.5 percent.
The team has a pair of three-star freshmen big men entering the program, as the real prize in the 2018 recruiting class for coach Josh Pastner is Mike Devoe. ESPN rated him as the No. 45 prospect in the 2018 class, though he may need to play more of a two guard role even though he is a natural point guard. At 6-foot-3, he more capable of getting off a 3 over defenders and the 6-foot-0 Alverado.
The team also has transfer Shembari Phillips now eligible, who started 24 games in two seasons at Tennessee and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range during the 2016-17 season with averages of 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. The team also returns Brandon Alston, who at 6-foot-5 and having registered 5.4 points while making 35.6 percent of his 3-pointers a season ago, has a chance to fill in for some of what is lost with the departure of Okogie.
A year similar to the 2017-18 season should be the expectation for Georgia Tech. The team was 320th in the country at defending the 3-point line and with a very odd mix of players this season, is not expected to get a heck of a lot better. Pastner had his struggles as the coach of Memphis and might be in a bit too far over his head with the Yellow Jackets.
After making the 2017 NCAA Tournament, it was a miserable 2017-18 season for Wake Forest, going 4-14 in ACC play and 11-20 overall. With three of the top five scorers from a year ago gone, including 7-foot-1 Doral Moore who turned pro, this will be a very different looking squad.
Much like Georgia Tech, Wake Forest was not good at guard the 3-point arc, ranking 317th in opponents' 3-point shooting percentage. The team got off on the wrong foot with losses to Georgia Southern, Liberty, and Drake to begin the year and it took the Demon Deacons completely out of rhythm and set the ton for close losses for the season. Wake Forest was 6-15 in games decided by 10 points or fewer, with the team's defense, which was 228th in points per game allowed, being the biggest crux.
All of that heightens the loss of Moore, who had 11.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and two blocks per game last season. He did this while shooting 68.9 percent from the field, the fifth-best mark of any DI player last season.
His blocks per game ranked 48th among all DI players as the rest of the team had a combined 1.6 blocks per game and nobody else also had four or more rebounds per game. The team's next-best in crashing the glass was 6-foot-7 Terrence Thompson, who had 3.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game as a senior starter, so he's also out of the fold.
This puts pressure on 6-foot-8 five-star prospect Jaylen Hoard to produce immediately, as ESPN had him rated as the No.22 prospect for the 2018 class. He is a bit thin for his size, but can sky up to pull down rebounds and can serve as a stretch forward. Isaiah Mucius, ESPN's No. 74 prospect, is a similar player at 6-foot-7, though he is not as good in the post or on the glass as Hoard.
These two will have a good point guard passing to them in Bryant Crawford, who led the team with 16.9 points, 4.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game last season. He shot 35.8 percent from distance on a team-high 5.1 triples per game and converted 86.8 percent of his free throws, a team-high as well.
Crawford could move to the two though with Brandon Childress possibly running the point after he had 9.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and a steal per game as the team's sixth man. He also shot well, making 37.9 percent of his 3s and 83.8 percent of his free throws.
His main running mate, Keyshawn Woods had 11.9 points per game while making 84.5 percent of his free throws and 37.4 percent of his 3s, but transferred in the offseason to Ohio State. Coach Danny Manning also loses Mitchell Wilbekin from last year's backcourt as he shot 42.5 percent from deep but just 33.8 percent from inside the arc while giving the team 8.6 points per game. Northern Arizona graduate transfer Torry Johnson should also help fill the void left by Woods after he had 11.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game
The Demon Deacons will look to Oliver Sarr for a lot of minutes in the post. The 7-foot-0 sophomore is the only player taller than 6-foot-8 from a year ago that saw meaning minutes, averaging 3.2 points and three rebounds per game off the bench. He will team up with Buffalo transfer Ikenna Smart to man the paint after he put up averages of 3.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per game per game for last season's MAC Champions. He did not take enough shots to qualify for being one of the DI leaders in field goal percentage, but shot 67.7 percent from the floor.
Wake Forest faces an uphill battle with playing in so many good teams in the conference. Crawford is a stud, but how this season goes hinges on this team's two blue chip freshmen. If they can make a big impact and be versatile stat sheet fillers, this team will get into the conversation for a postseason birth. If they cannot make an impact, this team will get pummeled down low and have another losing season.
Boston College took big stride forward last season, going 19-16 last season and 7-11 in ACC play last season, the team's best record since the 2010-11 season. The team did all this despite senior starting forward Deontae Hawkins being lost for the year after eight games and not having a very deep bench
Jerome Robinson was an all-conference player that led the team with 20.7 points while shooting 40.9 percent on 3s and 83 percent at the free throw line. He added 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, and is essentially the only piece not returning from last season's bunch.
Ky Bowman filled it up as a sophomore, running the point with averages of 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He and shooting guard Jordan Chatman took a combined 12.8 3s per game, as all the other returning players attempted a combined 4.8 per game. Chatman returns after 12.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He made 39.5 percent of his 3s and 89.9 percent of his free throw, as his charity stripe conversion rate was 23rd in the country.
The team's two starting forwards Nik Popovic and Steffon Mitchell combined for 16.3 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game as underclassmen. The 6-foot-11 Popovic only shot a few triples while Mitchell hoisted up 2.4 per game, making 27.5 percent of them, though he made just 52.1 percent of his free throws to Popovic's 71.3.
John Carlos Reyes is the only other player on the roster that saw over 10 minutes per game last year, as the 6-foot-10 forward chipped in 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game off the bench. Freshmen Vin Baker Jr. and 6-foot-10 Lucas Kraljevic also played in nearly every game last season, but saw so few minutes at a time that they could not accumulate much of anything stats-wise.
The team will not have a lot of backcourt depth to start the year, but Jared Hamilton's arrival in the second semester should help. He comes into the ACC after playing eight games at Georgis Southern last season, notching 6.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and a steal per game. He did not pull the trigger on a single 3 last season, but is a solid defender, getting a steal per game
The team's biggest woe was allowing the 11th-most 3s of any team in the country, Hamilton should help in that aspect, but everyone on the team will need to up their game on the defensive end.
If 6-foot-8 Jairus Hamilton, who was the No. 58 rated prospect in the ESPN 100 for 2018 can give the team some defense and a bit of added scoring, this team has a chance to get back to the 18 or 19 win mark. The team has a pair of very good guards, but zero depth behind them and do not play great defense. This team will likely have some big upset wins and disappointing losses, much like a season ago.
Pittsburgh went 0-18 in ACC play and 8-24 overall, a record the got Kevin Stallings canned after just two seasons with the school. Former Duke assistant and Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel takes over a colossal mess and will look to guard Jared Wilson-Frame to lead a group of very young players.
The 6-foot-6 senior was the team's top scorer and free throw percentage shooter as he registered 13 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season. He also made 32 percent of the 7.2 3s per game he took for a team that had the ninth-highest 3-point shooting rate in the country. Considering the team was 308th in the country in 3-point shooting percentage and 337th in total field goal percentage, it led to the team ranking 335th in the country in offensive efficiency.
The frontcourt did not help out Wilson-Frame very much as the team was 332nd in rebounding rate with Ryan Luther being the only player that had over 4.4 rebounds per game. He appeared in just 10 games a year ago, notching 12.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He transferred in the offseason after the team went 5-5 with him in the lineup last season, and 3-19 without him.
Guards Marcus Carr and Parker Stewart both transferred after averaging a combined 19.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in the starting lineup. Both shot at least 80 percent at the free throw line while Stewart made 38.7 from beyond the arc and Car 33.3 percent. Carr was the point guard with a team-high four assists per game, though his efforts weren't enough as the Panthers were 322nd in turnovers per possession on offense and were just 337th in turnovers per game forced on defense.
This means Shamiel Stevenson, who was a part-time starter with 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 37.5 percent from deep. He is the team's top returning rebounder and is 6-foot-6, so he will be relied upon to contribute in a variety of ways. Six-foot-10 Terrell Brown should aid on the glass after he had averages of 4.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and a team-best 1.5 blocks per game last season while getting 17 starts.
Jonathan Milligan is also gone after he had five points and 1.5 assists per game in his senior year, which should lead to sophomore Khameron Davis seeing a lot of minutes this season. He shot 37.1 percent from long range last season with four points and 2.8 rebounds per game and started 23 games. Kene Chukwuka started 13 games in the frontcourt last season and must also step his game up after he had averages of 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
The team's three freshman will likely see a lot minutes from the jump with Capel needing to rebuild a program that was completely stripped of talent by Stallings. Trey McGowens is the top rated incoming freshman, getting a four star rating by 247Sports, and should be one of the team's best outside shooters. Xavier Johnson might run some point as a 6-foot-1 three-start freshman guard and 6-foot-6 Au'Diese Toney may not see a ton of time given he is the most raw of the trio, but can play as a three or undersized four.
Pittsburgh fans should not be looking at wins and losses to gauge success this season because Capel has been handed a huge mess to clean up. This team should be able to fair a bit better than 0-18 in ACC play this season and should be a team that takes fewer, but better 3-pointers this season. This all code for, Pitt is still the worst team in the conference, but are not as pathetic as they were last season.