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Power Ranking ACC Teams: 2023-24 College Basketball Season Preview

Kyle Filipowski - College Basketball Rankings, NCAA CBB DFS Lineup Picks

The ACC had a major down year in 2022-23, but there’s been some buzz around the conference heading into this season given the caliber of returning players, stud newbies, and coaching changes.

Three programs have new faces leading their teams into a different era of ACC basketball this year. A couple others have experienced similar changes within the past couple of years. How will this affect the overall competitiveness of the conference? Will the league receive more than the five NCAA bids they received last year?

The ACC's media day occurred about a week ago, releasing the all-conference teams and the preseason poll. While that is fun to glance at, here is a primer of each ACC team with some added info and of course, a conference ranking given to every team heading into the 2023-24 season. 

 

1. Duke Blue Devils

Head Coach: John Scheyer (2nd season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 1st

National Preseason AP Poll: 2nd 

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 9th 

2022-23 record: 27-9 (14-6)

Jon Scheyer’s first year as the conductor of the Duke men's basketball program was a definite success, even if the team didn’t necessarily live up to their preseason top-10 ranking. The Blue Devils won the ACC tournament and entered March Madness as what many thought to be an under-seeded five before bowing out in the second round to a physical Tennessee squad. It’s not an easy feat replacing arguably the greatest basketball coach in history, but Scheyer appears up to the task.

He returns preseason first-team All-American Kyle Filipowski, a dynamic stretch-five who can pass, shoot, rebound, and defend. The backcourt is also loaded, with senior Jeremy Roach providing the steady hand at point for the fourth straight year alongside athletic wing Tyrese Proctor (9.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists), a former McDonald’s All-American who is set for a breakout sophomore season. Scheyer also brought in the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, highlighted by sharpshooter Jared McCain (No. 14). He should be able to provide some immediate help from distance, along with Caleb Foster (No. 23) who will provide some important backup minutes for Roach. TJ Power (No. 17) and Sean Stewart (No. 22) will act as understudies to Filipowski and athletic wing/forward Mark Mitchell, but should also warrant some major minutes. 

Overall, Duke has more than enough returning and incoming talent to bring the National Championship back to Durham for the first time since 2015. If Kyle Filipowski can emerge into a legitimate All-American as many before him have, Duke is going to be a juggernaut and should secure another ACC regular season title. 

 

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

Head Coach: Hubert Davis (3rd season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 3rd

National Preseason AP Poll: 19th

National Preseason KenPom ranking: 17th

2022-23 record: 20-13 (11-9)

The 2022-23 season was a very forgettable one for UNC, as they became the first preseason No. 1 team to miss the NCAA tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. They were the darlings of 2022 Madness, fighting all the way to the title game as an 8 seed but squandering a 15-point halftime lead to Kansas. 

Caleb Love left for Arizona, but this may actually help the Tar Heels' offense. Love never saw a shot he didn't like, and while it was his heroics that propelled UNC to a near-title in 2022, the magic wore off last year. Pete Nance is also gone but he was a bit of a letdown, unable to fill that massive hole left by the long range ace Brady Manek. One of the better perimeter defenders in the country in Leaky Black unfortunately exhausted all of his eligibility, and forward Puff Johnson transferred to Penn State after three disappointing years in Chapel Hill. 

UNC still brings back two-thirds of that national title core in steady point guard RJ Davis and dominant big man Armando Bacot, giving them a solid floor for ‘24. Hubert Davis brought in five transfers to help account for the losses, highlighted by Harrison Ingram from Stanford (No. 25 in 247sports transfer portal rankings). Cormac Ryan from Notre Dame should also immediately slide into a starting role with his 12 points and 2.5 assists per night.

Sophomores Seth Trimble and Jalen Washington will be counted on to make second-year leaps, having played sparingly as freshman. They both have talent being four-star guys in 2022, but need to show more. The best newcomer - point guard Elliot Cadeau - reclassed to 2023, so he enters the college ranks as an early high school graduate. Cadeau is a bonafide five-star prospect, but his age may show early on which could limit his impact in year one, although he doesn't seem to think that is going to matter.  Regardless, he has a great mentor in RJ Davis to learn from.

With Bacot and Davis back, UNC has two of the best and most experienced players at their respective positions in the entire country. Along with a talented cast of newcomers, and some returning pieces that should take the typical sophomore leap, the Tar Heels are in a prime position to challenge Duke for an ACC regular season title. 

 

 

3. Clemson Tigers

Head Coach: Brad Brownell (21st season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 5th

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 51st 

2022-23 record: 23-10 (14-6) 

The Tigers were unfortunately one of the few teams that just barely missed the NCAA tournament last season after their best finish since 2017. Brad Brownell’s squad still has a lot to be proud of, though. A 14-6 record conference record is no easy feat, even if the ACC had a down year, and there’s a lot to be hopeful for heading into 2023-24 as well. 

Clemson returns ACC Player of the Year candidate in bruising forward PJ Hall (15.7 points. 5.7 rebounds). Hall doesn't just live in paint, even if his Greek god-like physique would suggest so. He shot a career best 39.8% from downtown this past season, making him one of the biggest mismatches in the country at 6-10, 240 lbs.  Brownell also returns another rising senior in program staple Chase Hunter (13.8 points, 4.5 assists), who will run the offense yet again. He’ll be alongside Joseph Girard III, a four-year player under Boeheim at Syracuse who poured in 16.4 points on 38% from three last year. Him and Hunter form one of the best backcourt duos in the league. 

Sophomores Dillon Hunter and Josh Beadle will help provide guard depth. Leading scorer and rebounder Hunter Tyson left for the NBA which is a massive loss, but there are a few guys who can hopefully make up for his departure. Ian Schieffelin started over half of Clemson’s game last year so he should naturally step into more of a pronounced role. Forward Chauncey Wiggins came to school as a wiry project but has put on some weight and appears ready to contribute, along with 6-7 forward RJ Godfrey who has the size and athleticism to be an important player. Jack Clark also averaged 9.0 points per game for NC State last season so he is a proven high-major guy. 

Clemson’s big three of Hall, Girard, and Hunter can stack up against any in the conference. It’s the rest of the roster that has some question marks, but there is a lot of talent here and Brad Brownell has quietly been one of the most consistent coaches in the ACC. This is a guy who has only one losing season in his 13-year tenure as the head coach at Clemson. I’m betting on their big three and Brownell figuring out how the other pieces fit together and securing an NCAA bid this time around.

4. Virginia Cavaliers

Head Coach: Tony Bennett (15th season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 4th  

National Preseason KenPom ranking: 33rd

2022-23 record: 25-8 (15-5) 

This season could really go either way for head coach Tony Bennett who is entering somewhat of a transition period in his 15th year at the helm of Virginia. Losses are aplenty, as starters Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, Kihei Clark, and Kadin Shedrick depart, along with key bench piece Ben Vander Plas. That equates to 72% of points, 65% of rebounds, and 60% of assists. Out the door. 

The good news is that Bennett returns an all-league player in Reece Beekman who should be in contention for the Cousy award come season’s end. Beekman tested the NBA waters and was a projected second-round pick, but ultimately chose to return to Charlottesville. The importance of that decision really cannot be overstated, as the outlook of this team would be quite bleak without Beekman. The Louisiana native will need to be more aggressive on the offensive end, but he might just be the best on-ball defender in the country, having won the ACC defensive player of the year this past season. He was the fifth Virginia player to win in the last decade, following in the footsteps of De'Andre Hunter, Isaiah Wilkins, Malcolm Brogdon, and Darion Atkins.

Joining Beekman in the backcourt is deadly shooter Isaac McKneely (39.2% 3pt) who is expected to take on a much larger role in his sophomore season. It's early, but the West Virginia native seems like a program guy that you can build a contending team around. He wasn’t quite as accurate from deep as Virginia legend Kyle Guy was his freshman year (49.5%) but they each hit the exact same number of long range shots (51) their first year in C'ville. A sign of things to come perhaps? McKneely has all the intangibles to be a future leader of this program.

Sophomore Ryan Dunn should also be a major contributor but Virginia fans need to cool it with the De’Andre Hunter comparisons. Dunn is not going to play his way into being a top-five NBA draft pick, but should be a dependable two-way player that has the potential to develop into all-conference his third or fourth year.  

After that, Bennet has a lot of new faces to sort through. Three transfers came to Charlottesville this offseason, with former Merrimack forward Jordan Minor the most important, hoping to fill the rangy four role that Jayden Gardner has held down for the past two years. Dante Harris (Georgetown) should provide some pop in the backcourt but it will be interesting to see how Bennett pairs him with Beekman and McKneely.  Jake Groves (Oklahoma) has played a lot of college basketball and is a serviceable spot up forward off the bench. Bennett will be relying on Groves to provide more of an impact than Vander Plas did last season. 

Leon Bond isn't a new face, but he'll be new to the hardwood having redshirted last season for the Hoos. He's an uber-athletic former four-star who is known for his defense and ability to attack the paint. I've also heard some rumblings about pegging him for the De'Andre Hunter path given the redshirt and similar intangibles coming out of high school. He still hasn't played a single minute at the collegiate level but could be a major X factor for the Cavaliers this year.

The Hoos have a lot of departures and quite a few unknowns, but Tony Bennet is a master developer and roster constructionist. While there is still concern with Bennett's system translating to tournament success when he doesn't have great offensive talent (five different first or second round losses in the NCAA tournament since 2015), this should be a year where he bucks that trend.

5. Miami Hurricanes

Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga (12th season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 2nd

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 45th

2022-23 record: 29-8 (15-5) 

Jim Larrañaga has enjoyed a rejuvenation in the waning days of his legendary career, leading Miami to its first ever elite eight appearance in 2022, and then only a year later he was able to reach the final four for the first time in school history. The Hurricanes start and end on offense, finishing 19th and 6th in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2022 and 2023, respectively. 

Led by the 2023 ACC Player of the Year in lighting rod point guard Isaiah Wong, Miami was an offensive juggernaut last season. Unfortunately they lost Wong to the pros, but return his backcourt running mate in marksman Nijel Pack who should be an all-conference first teamer this coming year. Rebound extraordinaire Norchad Omier also comes back to Coral Gables and should once again be a double double machine for the Hurricanes. Junior Wooga Poplar has been more of a 3&D - glue guy his first two seasons at Miami but is primed for a major breakout. He's also being gassed up by his coach which is always a good sign. 

Miami also loses their second leading scorer in guard/forward Jordan Miller who often played the four in Larrañaga's potent small-ball lineups with Omier manning the middle. Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland can maybe step into that role, but doesn't provide the same mismatch that Miller did on the offensive end.

With some vital pieces from their final four team returning, a great coach, and some promising newcomers, Miami should be a contender in the ACC yet again. They definitely have some major shoes to fill, but return enough firepower that should get them to the NCAA tournament. I ultimately think the loss of Wong will be very tough for Larrañaga and Co. to overcome which is why I dropped them down a few spots, but if Poplar can blossom into the player his coach think he can, the Hurricanes could definitely finish above the fifth spot in the conference standings. 

6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Head Coach: Steve Forbes (4th season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 6th

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 73rd 

2022-23 record: 19-14 (10-10) 

Wake Forest had a very solid season in 2022-23 when they tied for 8th in the conference standings. They earned double-digit wins over No. 14 Duke and No. 19 Clemson, also hanging 92 points on UNC that resulted in another victory. It wasn’t enough to get the Demon Deacons to the Big Dance, but they had a respectable year under head coach Steve Forbes who took a step in the right direction in his quest to get Wake back to the NCAA tournament. 

Forbes loses his best player in first-team All-ACC guard Tyree Appleby, who led the conference in scoring at 18.8 per game. While Appleby left some sizable sneakers behind, three starters return that all averaged double figures. Guards Damari Monsanto (13.3 points, 40.5 3pt) and Cameron Hildreth (12.4 points, 2.8 assist) anchor a sizable backcourt yet again, checking in at 6-4 and 6-6, respectively.  Forward Andrew Carr is a reliable post-threat that also has some outside game (33 made threes last year). 

With the NCAA allowing first-time transfers to play immediately nowadays, it’s become just as important (if not more important) to recruit from the portal as it is from the high school ranks and Forbes took that to heart. He brings in a pair of Gonzaga transfers who were two of the most highly sought after players in the pool. Hunter Sallis and Efton Reid III are former five-stars who haven’t been able to find the right home in college yet, but posses a ton of talent.

With Appleby gone, Forbes is hoping Sallis can grow into the player he was expected to be coming out of high school and help keep Wake in the tournament conversation. As a second-time transfer, Reid is currently still waiting on his waiver to be approved by the NCAA. If that doesn’t happen, Matthew Marsh, a 7-1 junior who shot an almost impossible 88% from the field last year should see a lot more minutes. 

If Sallis doesn’t quite pan out, then maybe Central Michigan guard Kevin “Boopie” Miller can be the guy. Miller only played four games last season for the Chippewas due to a foot injury but averaged 18.5 points and 5.3 in those contests. Abrama Canka, a 6-6 rangy forward barely played at UCLA but has the skill to play in a major conference. 

A lot hinges on the development of Sallis and the status of Reid’s waiver. If both are able to flirt with their potential and a couple of the other talented new guys mesh well with the returners, this team can challenge for a top five spot in the ACC. If not, it will be Wake’s sixth straight tournament miss and 11th in the last 12 years. 

7. Virginia Tech Hokies

Head Coach: Mike Young (5th season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 8th 

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 65th overall

2022-23 record: 19-15 (8-12) 

The Hokies got off to a great start a year ago, beating Penn State, Dayton, Oklahoma State,

and UNC en route to an 11-1 start. Conference play proceeded to hit them harder than a Juwan Howard right hook, as they dropped seven straight before finally getting back on track vs. Duke in late January. Tech ultimately dug themselves too deep a hole with that conference start, as they won a few games here and there but eventually ended their regular season in a blowout loss to NC State in the ACC tournament.

Mike Young has his two backcourt aces returning. Point guard Sean Pedulla (15.0 points, 3,8 assists) is one of the more underrated players in the conference, and Hunter Cattoor (10.8 points) may just be the best shooter. The latter led the league in 3 point percentage (42%) and is also a great perimeter defender. Sophomore guard Rodney Rice also returns after a promising freshman campaign (7.4 points in 20 minutes per game), although an injury limited him to only eight appearances. The former top-50 recruit will be counted on to increase his scoring and improve his play-making ability (only seven assists last year). MJ Collins was inefficient last season but gained a ton of experience with the injuries to Rice, and should be a decent fourth guard for Mike Young. 

VT does lose three very productive players in Grant Basile (16.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 39% 3pt), Justyn Mutts (13.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists), and Darius Maddox (8.5 points), but have an encouraging group of newcomers. Perhaps the most intriguing is former top-100 recruit Tyler Nickel, a small forward that barely saw the court at UNC this past year but has the reputation as a knockdown shooter. Young also brings in two grad transfers with a ton of experience - Robbie Beran (Northwestern) and Mekhi Long (ODU) - who should help make up for the losses of Basile and Mutts down low. Junior center Lynn Kidd also started five games a season ago and could wind up being the mainstay at the five spot for the Hokies, though it’s unclear if he’ll be able to handle a larger role. 

While 2022-23 didn’t end how Hokie fans wanted, taking taking an 11th place ACC finish to a first round exit in the NIT, there is some hope for the year ahead. Tech will need to improve on their 138th adjusted defensive efficiency to be a player in this conference, but they have enough leadership and production returning, along with some other interesting pieces that should complement each other well. Don’t be surprised if this team sneaks into the tournament come March. 

8. NC State Wolfpack

Head Coach: Kevin Keatts (7th season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 7th 

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 61st overall

2022-23 record: 23-11 (12-8) 

NC State featured one of the best trios in the conference last year with microwave scorer Terquavion Smith (17.9 points, 4.1 assists), Ole Miss transfer Jarkel Joiner (17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists), and behemoth DJ Burns Jr. (12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds). The Wolfpack were inconsistent, but put up some huge scoring games that helped them secure their first tournament appearance since 2018. 

Smith and Joiner are both on NBA rosters now, but Burns returns along with Casey Morsell (11.8 points, 41% 3pt), a 3 and D guy who came over from Virginia in 2021. Burns only played 23 minutes last season, but that should increase in his fifth and final year. The lefty is almost impossible to stop him when he catches the ball on the block given his size (6-9, 275 lbs.) and touch around the basket. 

Those two will be the unquestioned leaders on this team, but five high-impact transfers join the fold to help Keatts keep the momentum of the program going. DJ Horne, a former Arizona State Sun Devil comes back to his hometown for his fifth and final year of eligibility. He hasn’t been very efficient in his career, converting 41% of his field goals, but he's a decent replacement for Smith and Joiner who were both at or below below that mark. Jayden Taylor from Butler has size at 6-4, 195 lbs, but he matched Horne’s poor FG rate of 41% on only 12 points per game last year so there are some concerns there. Going from Smith and Joiner to Horne and Taylor is a major drop off. 

Former McDonald’s All-American and Kansas transfer MJ Rice may make the biggest impact of the incoming portal guys. He only played 7.5 minutes last season for Bill Self, but Kansas was loaded on the perimeter. Rice is a big, physical guard who should contribute from day one. 

The main issue for this team will likely be taking care of the ball, as there isn’t really a true point guard on the roster. Michael O’Connell from Stanford has played a lot of college basketball, but he’s averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 assists in three years so he may not be good enough to warrant a start, especially with a team vacating so much of their offensive production. Kam Woods is a former 17 point-per-game scorer at NC A&T who should be able to carry some of the load but he isn’t a true one. Keatts has a lot of dudes who can play and two rock-solid program guys in Morsell and Burns, but I’m not sure there is enough talent for this team to return to the NCAA tournament. 

 

9. Syracuse Orange

Head Coach: Adrian "Red" Autry (1st season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 10th 

National KenPom Preseason Ranking: 105th

2022-23 record: 17-15 (10-10) 

Syracuse did not waste any time in announcing their legendary head coach Jim Boeheim will not be returning, as mere hours after the Orange lost on a buzzer in the ACC tournament to Wake Forest, the school released a statement on the matter. Jim Boeheim -  the second winningest coach in college basketball history behind Mike Krzyzewski - will hand the program off to Red Autry, a former Syracuse point guard that had been an assistant on Boeheim’s staff for over ten years. 

New coaching protégés taking over has been the theme for a number of these high-level ACC Programs lately. Duke last year, UNC a year prior, Notre Dame and Syracuse this upcoming season. It’s an exciting new chapter beginning in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  

As is usually the case when head coaching changes occur, Syracuse lost some really important players to the portal. Four-year guard Joseph Girard went to Clemson and took 16.4 points & 88 made threes with him. Forward Jesse Edwards was one of the best big men in the conference last season, posting 14 double doubles and nightly averages of 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. He is off to West Virginia. 

Autry was able to convince star guard Judah Mintz to stay in upstate New York, perhaps the highest priority for the new head coach. Mintz is a great playmaker who was quietly one of the best freshmen in the country last year with 16.3 points and 4.6 assists. He was also selected as a preseason second team all-conference player, but could easily wind up on the first team. 2022 five-star recruit JJ Startling comes over from Notre Dame to give the ‘Cuse a dangerous one-two punch in the backcourt. 

Other returnees besides Mintz include Benny Williams, a versatile 6-9 forward who could be one of the most improved players in the ACC this year if he stays out of trouble. Chris Bell provides size (6-7) and shooting (39 made threes last year) at the three spot, and Maliq Brown is another forward who can defend and will be expected to take another step offensively in his sophomore season. 

Three other high-major transfers join this new-look Syracuse squad for 2022-23, but all are very unproven. 7-4 center Naheem McLeod only played 12 minutes per game in his first two seasons at Florida State but if Autry can turn him into a formidable rim protector it would help shore up the gaping defensive hole left by the Edwards. Chance Westry is a former four-star recruit that barely saw playing time amidst a crowded Auburn backcourt and Kyle Cuffe Jr. (Kansas) has played a total of six collegiate minutes. 

Autry finds himself in a relatively favorable situation as a first year head coach in a tough conference. With a stud point guard returning, a five star joining him in the backcourt and some other talented pieces, Syracuse could be a darkhorse ACC tournament candidate. 

10. Pittsburgh Panthers

Head Coach: Jeff Capel (6th season)

ACC Preseason Poll ranking: 9th 

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 62nd

2022-23 record: 24-12 (14-6) 

When the topic of “hot seat” was brought up last offseason, Jeff Capel’s name was at or near the top of most lists. The former Duke player and assistant never had a winning season in his five years at the helm of the Panthers. That was until Pitt shocked the college basketball world winning 14 conference games in 2022-23, earning themselves a first-four bid that they used to win two tournament games. 

Capel was able to finally break through on the shoulders of a top-30 offense (No. 29 in adjusted offensive efficiency), led by Ole Miss transfer Blake Hinson who blossomed into one of the most feared mismatches in the entire country. The 6-8 junior put up 15.3 points and 6 rebounds per game, while knocking down a ridiculous 97 three-pointers on 38% that earned him All-ACC second team honors. Hinson is a legitimate ACC POY candidate for 2023-24. 

While Hinson returns, three starters - Greg Elliot, Jamarius Burton, and Nelly Cummings - are gone and take over 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists combined with them. That is a ton of production gone.  

The Panthers are hopeful Rhode Island transfer Ishmael Leggett (16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists) can make an easy transition to high-major ball. Zack Austin from High Point also was a major producer in the Big South but it remains to be seen if his play will translate. 

Capel also brings in a four man recruiting class, the most highly touted of the bunch being 6-1 point Jaland Lowe who will likely be counted on early to help fill the void left by Elliot. Crowd favorite Federiko Federiko started almost every game last season and while he was primarily a rim protector, he flashed an ability to score, with double digits in eight games. The 7-foot Diaz Graham twins (Jorge and Guillermo) will also return with Federiko in the front court and will hopefully give the Panthers a bit more production on the offensive end this year.

There’s no denying Capel did a great job in the portal last year, buying himself another year or two in Pittsburgh, but there are too many holes in this roster behind Hinton to be confident he can do it again. If I had to bet on Pitt returning to the tournament or finishing below .500 again, I would take the latter. 

11. Florida State Seminoles

Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton (22nd season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 11th

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 88th

2019-20 record: 9-13 (7-13) 

There’s no doubting that Leonard Hamilton is a great college basketball coach, the wheels may be starting to fall off for the potential hall-of-famer. FSU had their worst record in Hamilton’s tenure last season, failing to reach double digit wins for the first time in his lenghty career. 

Injuries decimated the Seminoles, as two key players - Jaylan Gainey and Cam’Rom Fletcher - both tore their ACLs, with another (fresman De'Ante Green) recovering from the same injury suffered in high school. Those guys should all be back, with Fletcher the most likely to lead the team in scoring as a Kentucky transfer for four-star recruit. Their second leading scorer from a season ago - Darin Green Jr. - is also back and hopes to expand his offensive game being primarily a shooter. 

Three transfers also join Hamilton this season - Primo Spears (Georgetown), Joshua Nickelberry (La Salle) and Jamir Watkins (VCU) - and will all compete for starter’s minutes.  Spears is the most talented of the three, but it will be interesting to see him in an actual offensive system as opposed to at Georgetown where he was playing hero ball 90% of the time last year. 

Four star Taylor Bol Bowen joins the fold and should be a contributor right away. If injury luck is on the Seminoles side this year they should easily hit double digit wins and maybe compete for a spot in the top-half of the conference, but an NCAA tournament berth seems a bit too lofty for this group. 

12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Head Coach: Damon Stoudamire (1st season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 13th

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 118th 

2022-23 record: 15-18 (6-14) 

The Josh Pasnter era finally came to an end directly after the 2022-23 season concluded, as the former Memphis Head coach was fired after seven seasons in Atlanta, failing to reach a single NCAA tournament.  Longtime NBA point guard Damon Stoudamire takes over a program desperately in need of some juice. 

He was able to convince a gamut of players to return, highlighted by leading scorer Miles Kelly (14.4 points) and shooter Lance Terry (10.0 points, 39% 3pt). Bouncy wing Dallan Coleman (9.5 points) and guard Kyle Studivant (8.6 points) also return to give the Yellow Jackets a solid foundation to build on.

Newcomers consist of 6-7 glass-eater Tyzhaun Claude, a grad transfer who put up 15 points and almost 9 rebounds per night for Western Carolina. Florida man Kowacie Reeves Jr. will give Stoudamire a sort of microwave guy off the bench but could also battle for a starting position. Baye Ndongo, a former Rutgers commit who has four-star pedigree, may also contribute in year one. 

Stoudamire definitely has his work cut out for him in his first season as a high-major collegiate basketball head coach. He has a good crop of returners, although that crop was only able to muster six conference wins a year ago. Does he have enough talent to drag Georgia Tech out of the dregs of the ACC? Unlikely in 2023-24. 

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Head Coach: Micah Shrewsberry (1st season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 15th

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 165th overall

2022-23 record: 11-21 (3-17) 

The fast-rising Micah Shrewsberry takes the reigns at Notre Dame from a potential future hall-of-famer in Mike Brey. The longtime Irish head coach usually had the Irish as a shoe-in for the NCAA tournament year after year but only made the big dance once since 2017. The only reason I don't have Notre Dame at the very bottom of this list is because I am a huge believer in Shrewsberry. Make no mistake, this is probably the worst roster in the conference, but I have confidence that Notre Dame's new coach won't accept a last place finish. 

"Shrews" comes to South Bend from Penn State after only two seasons of head coaching experience, though he already took the program to heights they had not experienced in quite some time. The Nittany Lions narrowly lost to No. 1 seed Purdue in the B1G championship, but that run helped them earned their first NCAA tournament berth since 2011, which they turned into their first tournament win in over 20 years. Shrewsberry’s team was one of the most fun to watch in 2022, as they broke the Big Ten record for three-pointers made in a season. 

Enough about Penn State, though. This is about the expectations for a Notre Dame team that are about as low as you can imagine. The Irish return the third-fewest points in the country, although this may not be that detrimental when you consider this team went 3-17 in conference. which somehow was not the worst record. You can't hide, Louisville!

Shrewsberry brings in three power-five transfers who will be forced to play major minutes - Julian Roper (Northwestern), Tae Davis (Seton Hall), Kebba Njie (Penn State). None of these guys were focal points of their previous teams, but should be improved under their new head coach's regime. Four freshmen also join the fold, and among them is Micah’s son Braedon who has some shooting chops, though he is not a highly coveted recruit by any means. 

Notre Dame will likely experience many road bumps in Shrewsberry’s first season at the helm and should struggle in the non-con against the likes of Auburn and Marquette. If Shrewsberry is able to get some guys to develop and mesh quicker than expected, the Irish should be good enough to finish at least a couple spots from the bottom of the ACC. 

14. Boston College Eagles

Head Coach: Earl Grant (3rd season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 12th 

National Preseason KenPom Ranking: 128th overall

2022-23 record: 16-17 (9-11) 

Similar to Georgia Tech, the Eagles have been in the basement of the ACC for quite some time. Sorry BC fans, there are just some teams who are destined to stay at the bottom, and you seem to be one of them. Similar to DePaul of the Big East or Washington State in the Pac-12. 

Earl Grant has actually done an admirable job as the head man in Chestnut Hill thus far, achieving the highest winning percentage at the school since the 2010-11 season. Which was still not above .500. Nonetheless, there is some optimism that BC could break that streak this year. 

Grant returns his best player in 7-footer Quentin Post (15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds). The Amsterdam native is not just a “post” player, but also showed a proclivity to step out and hit the occasional three efficiently (42.6%, 23 made threes). Starting PG Jaeden Zackery (10.7 points, 2.7 assists) returns as well, and will be joined in the backcourt by Charleston Southern transfer Claudell Harris Jr. (17.4 points) who has the size and talent to make a smooth transition to tougher competition. The bench is full of guys who don’t have a ton of experience, so that will likely be a major issue with this team in 2023-24 along with their three-point shooting, which was second to last in the conference this past season. While Grant did overachieve in his second year winning nine conference games, it’s unlikely BC sees even that kind of success this year. 

15. Louisville Cardinals

Head Coach: Kenny Payne (2nd season)

ACC Preseason Poll: 14th 

Preseason KenPom Rankings: 109th overall

2022-23 record: 4-28 (2-18) 

You simply cannot hit more rock bottom than Louisville did last year. I'm talking Ron Burgundy drinking a half gallon of milk on the street levels of rock bottom. This team may have even set a new standard for the phrase. Chris Mack didn’t leave the program in a good place but Kenny Payne somehow managed to plummet it even further down the gutter. Two conference wins and four total on the year, Louisville finished No. 290 in KenPom’s rankings (and #318 in NET), a whole 20 spots below a 3-29 California team. The next closest power-five after Cal and Louisville was Georgetown at No. 219. Is there any hope for Kenny Payne and the Cardinals in 2023? 

Payne cleared house this offseason. Seven players sought greener pastures elsewhere, which is probably a good thing given how bad this team was. He did bring back two starters in guard Mike James (10.1 points) and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (6.7 points, 5.4 rebounds), but the rest of the roster will be almost entirely new faces.  Skyy Clark (Illinois) and Tre White (USC) were productive players last year and figure to get the most burn out of the incoming bodies. Koron Davis is a JUCO star that has size at 6-6 but those players seldom pan out given the major jump in competition level. 

Payne was able to snag a top-25 recruit - the 7-foot-1 Dennis Evans out of Riverside, CA - who should be a force on the defensive end from day one. Three other freshman round out the incoming crop and figure to see some minutes early on given how many should be available.  

The silver lining is that things truly cannot get any worse for this program. Payne has brought back a couple guys he trusts and actually did well in the portal and on the recruiting front. The Cardinals should be improved from a season ago but not enough to make any sort of noise next season. 

I'm going to be completely honest here, I had Louisville at No. 14 until seeing this pop up on the TL, which prompted me to do a bit more digging. In the post-game presser Payne also made some head-scratching comments. Just inexcusable. Right where they left off a season ago.

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