ACC Basketball Preview: Part One

By Andrew Godnick

After a dramatic year ending in a Notre Dame ACC title, the season is right around the corner, and the excitement is buzzing. With multiple teams set to make deep runs in the big dance, and others ready to shock the world, this season will be a fun one. Here’s a preview of what to expect from each program this season*:

Boston College: After failing to reach the tournament last year, it will a tough road to change their destiny this upcoming season. The Eagles are losing their top four scorers last season. Dennis Clifford, the only player returning who averaged over 20 minutes per game last year, will have to dominate both sides of the ball for the Eagles to see any success this year.

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Clemson: Another team who struggled in the conference last season, Clemson will hope that last year’s leading scorer Jaron Blossomgame improved enough to carry the team to success. With a team mixed with seniors and underclassman, Clemson may shock a few teams in “meaningless” games.

Duke: The reigning National Champions have high expectations, even with the departures of Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, and Quinn Cook. They return key players in Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, and Marshall Plumlee; to compliment the championship experience, Duke added top recruits in Chase Jeter, Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton, and Brandon Ingram. This mix of leadership and youth should provide Duke fans with excitement and confidence for this year’s quest to repeat.

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Florida State: After struggling to reach .500 in the conference last year, Florida State hopes to utilize their returning players for their success. They return three of their top four scorers from last year, including leading scorer Xavier Rathan-Mayes. The Seminoles hope new recruit Dwayne Bacon will compliment Mayes’ game and possibly shock some of the powerhouse schools.

Georgia Tech– After a dismal season last year, the Yellow Jackets are hoping senior Marcus Georges-Hunt will turn a year for the ages. After leading the team in scoring last year, Hunt decided to return to improve from last year’s 3-15 in conference record. While there may be some hope from the senior, look for the Yellow Jackets to be fighting for the cellar with Boston College this year.

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Louisville– After a deep run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament last season, Louisville is hoping for some new names to fill in some big shoes. With the departures of Terry Rozier, Luke Hancock, and Montrezl Harrell, the Cardinals hope guard Quentin Snider and big man Chinanu Onuaku can match the same energy from last year’s leaders. With Rick Pitino on the pine, anything can happen.

Miami (FL)– After an up and down season last year, the Hurricanes will look to their leaders to maintain success throughout the year. They return point guard Angel Rodriguez, leading scorer Sheldon McClellan, and leading rebounder Tonye Jekiri. This could be the year for Miami to make a run in both the conference tournament and the big dance—all that stands in their way is consistency.

*This is part one of a two part preview on ACC basketball

All stats from ESPN.com unless otherwise stated

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