top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe ACC Guru

ACC Basketball '21-'22 Season Outlook

Welcome to The ACC Guru and thank you for taking the time to check out my first ever post. I have no inside connections to anyone in the ACC, I'm just a guy who cares way too much about sports and has always had a passion for the ACC, especially basketball. Some of my first ever sports memories are of watching Duke/UNC games. Nothing seemed bigger at the time. I've followed the league ever since, and I'm excited to bring you my thoughts and opinions on everything related to the ACC. I'll try to make a few posts on here a week (especially from August-April), but you can also find me on Twitter @TheACCGuru.

This is the first time I've ever publicly written anything, and the first time I've written anything since college, so I want to apologize if I don't sound exactly like Tom Rinaldi at first. Let me know what you guys think and if you like it, tell your friends!

Now for what you're all here for, basketball previews! We're officially one week away from the start of the 2022 NCAA basketball season, and I haven't been this excited about basketball in awhile. I'm glad we were able to have basketball last year, but with all the cancelations and empty arenas, it just never felt right. Well it's a new year and the fans are back! Arenas will be packed, hope is at an all time high, and the passion will be flowing. I'm going to be bringing you previews of the ACC all week including predicted standings, All-Conference picks, and my first ever edition of bracketology. But first, we start with a team by team breakdown and what you can expect out of all 15 programs this year.

Boston College Eagles

  • Head Coach: Earl Grant- 1st Season

  • Last Season: 4-16 (2-11), 15th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 146th- 15th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: G Jay Heath (Arizona State), F CJ Felder (Florida), G Wynston Tabbs (East Carolina), G Rich Kelly (UMass), F Steffon Mitchell (Graduation), F Kamari Williams (Miami OH)

  • Key Additions: F Gianni Thompson (3 Star Recruit), G Kanye Jones (3 Star), F T.J. Bickerstaff (Drexel), C Quinten Post (Mississippi State), G Brevin Galloway (College of Charleston)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Makai Ashton-Langford 9.7 PPG

G Brevin Galloway 15.0 PPG (College of Charleston)

G DeMarr Langford 6.7 PPG

F James Karnik 6.8 PPG

C Quinten Post 2.8 PPG (Mississippi State)

Bench Frederick Scott 7.6 PPG

Bench T.J. Bickerstaff 10.2 PPG (Drexel)

Bench Kanye Jones 21.0 PPG (HS)

2022 Season Outlook:

The Eagles have been near the bottom of the league for the last few years and decided to make a coaching change after a 3-13 start this past year. Jim Christian is out after 7 years and Earl Grant gets his first big time coaching gig after leading the College of Charleston the last 7 years, making one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018. As expected with a coaching change, there was major turnover on the Eagles roster. 7 different players either transferred or decided to not use their bonus year. With all of the out-bound players, Coach Grant hit the transfer market hard himself bringing in 4 transfers along with 3 freshmen into the program. The star of this transfer class is Brevin Galloway who followed his coach from the College of Charleston and averaged 11.7 PPG for him the last 2 years. Galloway will join brothers Makai Ashton-Langford and DeMarr Langford in the backcourt. These 3 will play a lot of minutes because they’re best option at guard off the bench is 3 Star freshman Kanye Jones who might not be ready for ACC basketball yet.

The depth of this team is in the frontcourt. James Karnik is back at the PF spot after a nice campaign last year. The other starting spot is completely up for grabs as transfers Quinten Post and T.J. Bickerstaff will battle it out for minutes. Frederick Scott will also figure into the rotation. He played well in limited action last year.

Time will tell if Earl Grant is a good hire or not, but this is not the year we’ll find out. There just isn’t enough ACC talent on this roster. It’s going to be a long, difficult rebuild for Grant in Chestnut Hill.

Clemson Tigers

  • Head Coach: Brad Brownell- 12th Season

  • Last Season: 16-8 (10-6), 5th in the ACC, Lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 59th- 11th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: F Aamir Simms (NBA), G Clyde Trapp (Charlotte), F Jonathan Baehre (German Professional League), G John Newman III (Cincinnati), F Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Marquette), F Lynn Kidd (Virginia Tech)

  • Key Additions: F Ben Middlebrooks (3 Star), F Ian Schieffelin (3 Star), G Joshua Beadle (3 Star), F Naz Bohannon (Youngstown State), G David Collins (South Florida)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Al-Amir Dawes 9.0 PPG

G Nick Honor 8.1 PPG

G David Collins 12.5 PPG (South Florida)

F Hunter Tyson 7.5 PPG

F Naz Bohannon 16.5 PPG (Youngstown St)

Bench Alex Hemenway 4.7 PPG

Bench PJ Hall 3.5 PPG

Bench Chase Hunter 2.9 PPG

2022 Season Outlook:

The Tigers quietly had a good season last year. They made the NCAA Tournament for only the 2nd time since 2011, but they have a lot to replace. All ACC Forward, Aamir Simms, is now playing in the G League and they lost 4 players to the transfer portal that were expected to contribute this year. They do bring in 2 projected starters as transfers in David Collins from USF and Naz Bohannon from Youngstown State. The Tigers were 2nd in the ACC in PPG allowed last year and will need to do more of the same this season if they’re going to be competitive. They’ll also need to continue to knock down threes this year, but they have the guards that are capable of doing that. The 4 guards expected to play the most for Coach Brownell can all shoot, and proved that last year with Collins shooting 37% from 3, Dawes 39%, Honor 37%, and Hemenway 39%. Chase Hunter will also get a chance to play some minutes in the backcourt.

The biggest question facing the Tigers this year, is what they are going to do in the frontcourt. Hunter Tyson and Naz Bohannon are their 2 best forwards, but they are undersized. Tyson is a stretch 4 that shot almost 3 threes a game. Bohannon is a nice player (he scored over 1200 points and had just shy of 1000 rebounds in his time as a Penguin), but he’s undersized at 6-6 and used to playing in the Horizon League. He may have a tough time adjusting to the ACC bigs. PJ Hall is the only other big with playing experience, but he didn’t show much as a freshman. Brownell also brings in 2 freshman big guys that may also get a chance to show if they’re ready to play.

I don’t think the chances of the Tigers making it back to the NCAA tournament are great, but they will be pesky all year. With the way they play defense and shoot 3s, they will beat some teams they aren’t expected to.

Duke Blue Devils

  • Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski- 42nd Season

  • Last Season: 13-11 (9-9), 10th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 15th- 1st in the ACC, AP Poll #9

  • Key Departures: F Matthew Hurt (NBA), F Jalen Johnson (NBA), G DJ Steward (NBA), G Jordan Goldwire (Oklahoma), F Jaemyn Brakefield (Ole Miss), F Henry Coleman (Texas A&M)

  • Key Additions: F Paolo Banchero (5 Star), F AJ Griffin (5 Star), G Trevor Keels (5 Star), G Jaylen Blakes (4 Star), Theo John (Marquette)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Jeremy Roach- 8.7 PPG

G Wendell Moore- 9.7 PPG

F AJ Griffin- 17.3 PPG (HS)

F Paolo Banchero- 22.6 PPG (HS)

C Mark Williams- 7.1 PPG

Bench Trevor Keels- 28.7 PPG (HS)

Bench Joey Baker- 2.9 PPG

Bench Theo John- 8.0 PPG (Marquette)

2022 Season Outlook:

The Coach K farewell tour begins with a big matchup against Kentucky on opening night, a year after not making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995 and Jon Scheyer has been named coach-in-waiting. I’m sure this team will look a lot different in February and March than they will in November, but it will be good to see all this talent actually on the floor instead of everyone in the media telling us how good they are. Duke was picked by the media to finish first in the ACC, even though they haven’t won the league since 2010. Paolo Banchero was picked as the Preseason ACC Player of the Year, even though he’s never played a minute of college basketball, but if you don’t understand where all the hype is coming from, just watch this video:

He is an incredible talent that can do it all, but I’m excited to see him play against 21- & 22-year-olds (and 23-& 24-year-olds in some cases thanks to Covid bonus years) instead of high school aged guys.

On paper, this team should be a lot better than last year’s squad. In the backcourt they’ve got Roach and Moore playing a bigger role with more experience now, they add 2 Five Star guys in Griffin and Keels and have 3-point shooting threat Joey Baker (do not call him Joey Buckets, as that nickname belongs to a guy playing in Brooklyn) getting more minutes.

In the backcourt they have the probable #1 NBA pick in Banchero, Mark Williams, who could compete for DPOY, and Theo John who brings in 4 years of experience from Marquette.

It’s very understandable why this team is winning the preseason again, but I want to see it first. I still expect them to be one of the top 4 teams in the ACC and could be rounding into form come March to make a run at a title.

Florida State Seminoles

  • Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton- 20th Season

  • Last Season: 18-7 (11-4), 2nd in the ACC, ACC Tournament Runner-up, Lost in the Sweet Sixteen

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 24th- 2nd in the ACC, AP Poll #20

  • Key Departures: F Scottie Barnes (NBA), G M.J. Walker (NBA), F RaiQuan Gray (NBA), Balsa Koprivica (Serbian Professional League), Sardaar Calhoun (Texas Tech)

  • Key Additions: G Caleb Mills (Houston), F Matthew Cleveland (5 Star), G Jalen Warley (4 Star), C John Butler (4 Star), Cam’Ron Fletcher (Kentucky), Naheem McLeod (JUCO)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Caleb Mills- 13.2 PPG (Houston ’20)

G RayQuan Evans- 5.1 PPG

F Anthony Polite- 10.1 PPG

F Malik Osborne- 5.9 PPG

C Tanor Ngom- 2.4 PPG

Bench Cam’Ron Fletcher- 1.7 PPG (Kentucky)

Bench Matthew Cleveland- 22.8 PPG (HS)

Bench Wyatt Wilkes- 3.9 PPG

Bench Jalen Warley- 15.6 PPG (HS)

Bench Naheem McLeod- 5.8 PPG (JUCO)

Bench Quincy Ballard- 1.2 PPG

2022 Season Outlook:

I’m really impressed with the program that Leonard Hamilton has put together in Tallahassee. It’s a shame that the 2020 NCAA tournament never happened, because FSU had a real shot at winning it. They bounced back last year and managed to finish 2nd in the league and make a Sweet Sixteen. They lose their top 3 scorers from last year, but this team is still deep and talented.

I’m pretty sure Leonard Hamilton has a cloning machine that just pops out 6-8 wings and 7-1 Centers. As always, this team is LONG. In the backcourt, they’ll hand the reigns over to Caleb Mills (6-5) who was the preseason AAC POY last year at Houston before opting out and transferring to FSU. He’ll be joined by Evans (6-4) and Polite (6-6) in the starting lineup and they have Fletcher (6-7) who’s a former top 50 recruit from Kentucky and current top 50 recruit Warley (6-6) coming off the bench. 5 Star Matthew Cleveland (6-7) will be their do-it-all 6th man that they normally have.

They’ll need a couple guys to step up in the frontcourt for this team to be as good as it can be. Osborne (6-9) and Ngom (7-2) should get the initial shot as they played minutes last year, but McLeod (7-4), Ballard (7-0), and Butler (7-1) will all get their chance to impress.

I would be shocked if the Seminoles finish worse than 4th in the ACC, and that’s why I’m picking the “New Bloods” to win the league this year. They’ll look to improve upon last year’s Sweet Sixteen and get to their first Final Four since 1972 this year.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

  • Head Coach: Josh Pastner- 6th Season

  • Last Season: 17-9 (11-6), 4th in the ACC, ACC Tournament Champions, Lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 54th- 9th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: G Jose Alvarado (NBA), F Moses Wright (Graduation)

  • Key Additions: G Dallan Coleman (4 Star), G Deivon Smith (Mississippi State), G Miles Kelly (3 Star), F Jalon Moore (3 Star)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Bubba Parham 6.7 PPG

G Michael Devoe 15.0 PPG

F Khalid Moore 4.8 PPG

F Jordan Usher 11.6 PPG

C Rodney Howard 1.6 PPG

Bench Dallan Coleman 24.7 PPG (HS)

Bench Deivon Smith 5.2 PPG (Mississippi State)

Bench Kyle Sturdivant 3.5 PPG

Bench Saba Gigiberia 1.1 PPG

2022 Season Outlook:

The Yellow Jackets had a magical season last year, winning the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1993, but Coach Pastner is facing a major challenge this year. The Jackets have to find a way to replace the ACC Player of the year (Moses Wright) and ACC Defensive Player of the Year (Jose Alvarado). Michael Devoe and Jordan Usher both decided to return, and the senior wings will be the leaders of this team. Joining them in the backcourt will either be Bubba Parham or Mississippi State transfer, Deivon Smith, both of whom will be seeing an increase in meaningful minutes. Talented Freshman Dallan Coleman will also join the rotation. The 4 Star shooting guard is Josh Pastner’s 2nd best recruit in his time at Georgia Tech.

Jordan Usher will anchor the frontcourt, but they have a major question and a major hole to fill at the center position. The Georgia Tech Center has been on the ACC’s All Defensive team for 5 consecutive years, so someone is going to need to step up in a big way. Rodney Howard should get the first chance to fill in for Moses Wright, but Saba Gigiberia will also get a shot.

This will actually be one the deeper teams that Coach Pastner has had, but I think the losses of Wright and Alvarado are too much to overcome. Pastner has built a nice program in Atlanta, but this feels like a team on the wrong side of the bubble this year.

Louisville Cardinals

  • Head Coach: Chris Mack- 4th Season

  • Last Season: 13-7 (8-5), 7th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 36th- 4th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: G Carlik Jones (NBA), G David Johnson (NBA), F Quinn Slazinski (Iona)

  • Key Additions: G Jarrod West (Marshall), G Noah Locke (Florida), C Roosevelt Wheeler (4 Star), F Michael James (4 Star), F Matt Cross (Miami), G El Ellis (JUCO), F Sydney Curry (JUCO)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Jarrod West 12.5 PPG (Marshall)

G Noah Locke 10.6 PPG (Florida)

G Samuell Williamson 9.6 PPG

F Jae’Lyn Withers 10.0 PPG

C Malik Williams 5.0 PPG

Bench Dre Davis 7.5 PPG

Bench Matt Cross 6.9 PPG (Miami)

Bench El Ellis 17.7 PPG (JUCO)

Bench JJ Traynor 3.9 PPG

Bench Roosevelt Wheeler 15.8 PPG (HS)

2022 Season Outlook:

The Cardinals just missed the NCAA tournament last year, being listed as one of the Covid alternates, but if they’re as good on the court as they are on paper, then they shouldn’t have an issue making the tournament this year. Chris Mack has done a great job since taking over as the head coach of Louisville winning over two-thirds of the games during that span, but he’ll be suspended for the first 6 games this year for his part in an extortion attempt by one of his former assistant coaches.

During the offseason, Mack had to replace both of his starting guards after Carlik Jones and David Johnson decided to turn pro. He did a phenomenal job of replacing the duo by bringing in Jarrod West from Marshall, Noah Locke from Florida, and the #1 JUCO prospect El Ellis, all of whom shot over 40% from three at their previous schools. Samuell Williamson and Dre Davis will join them in the backcourt on the wing. They combined for 32 starts last year, so it will be nice for Coach Mack to be able to bring some of that experience off of the bench.

In the frontcourt they’ll be anchored by big man Malik Williams who was limited to 3 games last year due to an injury. He’ll be a massive help to get back for the Cardinals. Joining him in the frontcourt will be Jae’Lyn Withers who averaged 10 PPG and 7.7 RPG last year. Matt Cross will also come off the bench for the Cardinals and will be able to play at the 3 and 4 spots. He’ll give them some nice versatility off the bench with his size and shooting ability (40% from 3 at Miami). The best option they have to back up Williams is Roosevelt Wheeler. At 6-10 240 lbs., the 4 Star freshman has the size to immediately contribute at this level.

This is an incredibly talented team, and they may make me (and a lot of other people) look foolish for where I have them in my projected standings, but that just shows you how deep the top of the league is this year. I think Louisville will still find themselves comfortably into the field of 68 at the end of the year.

Miami Hurricanes

  • Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga- 11th Season

  • Last Season: 10-17 (4-15), 13th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 83rd- 12th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: G Chris Lykes (Arkansas), G Elijah Olaniyi (Stony Brook), C Nysier Brooks (Ole Miss), F Matt Cross (Louisville), G Earl Timberlake (Memphis)

  • Key Additions: G Charlie Moore (DePaul), F Jakai Robinson (4 Star), G Bensley Joseph (4 Star), G Nisine Poplar (3 Star)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Charlie Moore 14.4 PPG (DePaul)

G Isaiah Wong 17.1 PPG

G Kameron McGusty 13.3 PPG

F Anthony Walker 9.6 PPG

F Sam Waardenburg 5.9 PPG (’20)

Bench Harlond Beverly 6.7 PPG

Bench Deng Gak 2.2 PPG

Bench Jakai Robinson 19.0 PPG (HS)

Bench Bensley Joseph 15.4 PPG (HS)

2022 Season Outlook:

Larrañaga has had his ups and downs during his time at Miami. They won the regular reason and tournament titles in 2013, but they haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament in 3 years after making it for 3 consecutive years before that. Miami lost a lot of talent to the transfer portal after last season, but they do have the trio of Isaiah Wong, Kameron McGusty, and Harlond Beverly returning in the backcourt. None of these guys are a true point guard and they struggled with that last year at times, but they bring in journeyman Charlie Moore (most recently with DePaul) to be the distributor. 4 Star recruit Bensley Joseph will gain some nice experience this year off the bench as he is likely their PG of the future. Jakai Robinson is another big-time scoring threat Freshman from a really nice recruiting class by Larrañaga.

In the frontcourt they get 6-10 big man Sam Waardenburg from New Zealand back after missing all of last year, but he started 24 games as a Junior in ’19-’20. Next to him will be Anthony Walker at PF who had a nice season last year averaging 9.6 PPG. Deng Gak is the only other big that played meaningful minutes for them last year which might lead them to playing a lot of small ball this year. The guards are the strong point of this team anyway so that may be a better style for them as long as they can hang on the defensive end.

The Hurricanes have some nice talent, but they’re still young and they’re weak down low. They should win more than the 4 conference games they did last year, but I still think they’ll finish in the bottom third of the league.

North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Head Coach: Hubert Davis- 1st Season

  • Last Season: 18-11 (10-6), 6th in the ACC, Lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 40th- 6th in the ACC, AP Poll #19

  • Key Departures: F Day’Ron Sharpe (NBA), C Walker Kessler (Auburn), F Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State)

  • Key Additions: F Dontrez Styles (4 Star), G D’Marco Dunn (4 Star), F Brady Manek (Oklahoma), F Justin McKoy (Virginia), F Dawson Garcia (Marquette)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Caleb Love 10.5 PPG

G Kerwin Walton 8.2 PPG

G Leaky Black 5.6 PPG

F Armando Bacot 12.3 PPG

F Brady Manek 10.8 PPG (Oklahoma)

Bench RJ Davis 8.4 PPG

Bench Dawson Garcia 13.0 PPG (Marquette)

Bench Anthony Harris 3.2 PPG

Bench Justin McKoy 3.5 PPG (Virginia)

2022 Season Outlook:

Roy Williams lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his career last year, and he decided to retire at the end of the season. Hubert Davis was named the new coach of the Tar Heels, and holy cow did Roy leave him with a gift. This roster is loaded from top to bottom with both talent and experience. I still think Carolina should have hired Wes Miller, but Hubert Davis has a great opportunity to succeed with this roster.

Carolina has a returning starter at PG for the first time in a few years in former 5 Star, Caleb Love. He should have a much better control of the game in his 2nd year. Joining Love in the backcourt will be Kerwin Walton, Leaky Black, RJ Davis, and Anthony Harris. I know there’s plenty of Tar Heel fans that still aren’t sold on Black, but I think he still gets the starting nod because of his versatility on the defensive end. RJ Davis will challenge for 6th man of the year, if he does end up coming off of the bench.

In the frontcourt, Coach Davis will look to play two traditional bigs most of the time, just like Roy did. Armando Bacot is a beast on the inside. He averaged 12.3 PPG and 7.8 RPG last year and could shoulder even more of the load this year. They bring in transfers Brady Manek and Dawson Garcia that can both stretch the floor. They’ll both play plenty of minutes, but I think Manek will be the starter. The Super Senior could be a nightmare to defend in the pick-and-pop with Love. If they decide to play some small ball, look for Justin McKoy to get some minutes at the 4 spot.

This team has the talent to compete for championships, but will first time coach, Hubert Davis be able to make the necessary in-game adjustments and get this team to play together and up to their potential? Only time will tell. The Tar Heels get 3 warmup games before getting a real test in the Hall of Fame Tip Off where they’ll play Purdue and either Villanova or Tennessee. I’m excited to watch this Carolina team all year.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

  • Head Coach: Kevin Keatts- 5th Season

  • Last Season: 14-11 (9-8), 9th in the ACC, Lost in the Quarterfinals of the NIT

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 56th- 10th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: F D.J. Funderburk (Graduation/Professional Career), G Devon Daniels (Graduation), G Braxton Beverly (Eastern Kentucky), G Shakeel Moore (Mississippi State)

  • Key Additions: F Ernest Ross (4 Star), G Terquavion Smith (4 Star), G Breon Pass (3 Star), G Casey Morsell (Virginia), F Greg Gantt (Providence)

  • Projected Lineup:

G Cam Hayes 7.8 PPG

G Thomas Allen 7.4 PPG

G Dereon Seabron 5.2 PPG

F Jericole Hellems 12.9 PPG

F Manny Bates 9.8 PPG

Bench Casey Morsell 4.4 PPG (Virginia)

Bench Greg Gantt 4.0 PPG (Providence)

Bench Terquavion Smith 25.6 PPG (HS)

Bench Ernest Ross 17.9 PPG (HS)

2022 Season Outlook:

NC State has been middle-of-the-pack in the ACC since Kevin Keatts took over, and they may be looking at more of the same this year. They’re a pretty talented roster, but they’re not good enough to break into the top of the standings in the league. The big loss they have to replace is D.J. Funderburk, but they do return 4 of their top 6 scorers.

In the backcourt, Cam Hayes takes over as the unquestioned starter at PG after taking over for Devon Daniels when he tore his ACL mid-season. Thomas Allen will also return to the starting lineup after missing time with an ankle injury last year. Dereon Seabron will likely start at SF but look for transfers Casey Morsell and Greg Gantt to get plenty of minutes at the wing spots. I really like what Morsell brings to the table on the defensive end, and he can be a major contributor if he can shoot better. Freshman Terquavion Smith will get to show off his scoring potential off the bench as well.

The Wolfpack have one of the best frontcourts in the league with Hellems and Bates, both of whom can find themselves on All ACC teams this year. They’re not very deep in the frontcourt and may struggle a bit when Bates is off the court, as they don’t have much size behind him.

This should be a very deep team that looks to run a little bit more than past NC State teams. And while I think this will be a good team, as deep as the ACC is, I expect the Wolfpack to be squarely on the bubble come March.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Head Coach: Mike Brey- 22nd Season

  • Last Season: 11-15 (7-11), 11th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 27th- 3rd in the ACC

  • Key Departures: F Juwan Durham (Graduation), G Nikola Djogo (Northeastern)

  • Key Additions: G Blake Wesley (4 Star), F J.R. Konieczny (3 Star), F Paul Atkinson (Yale)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Prentiss Hubb 14.6 PPG

G Cormac Ryan 9.9 PPG

G Dane Goodwin 11.8 PPG

F Nate Laszewski 13.3 PPG

F Paul Atkinson 17.6 PPG (Yale ’20)

Bench Trey Wertz 8.3 PPG

Bench Robby Carmody 5.4 PPG (’20)

Bench Blake Wesley 27.1 PPG (HS)

2022 Season Outlook:

Trivia Time… Outside of the two obvious ones in Coach K and Boeheim, who’s the most tenured coach in the ACC with their current school? He wouldn’t have been my first guess either, but it’s Mike Brey. Entering his 22nd season as their leader, the expectations for the Irish are much lower than they were just a few years ago. They made back-to-back Elite Eight Appearances in 2015 and 2016.

With all of that said, things could be looking up a bit more for the Irish this year. They return 4 starters and added the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year in Paul Atkinson from Yale. Their offense is going to be elite; they just have to figure out how to make some stops on the defensive end of the ball. Prentiss Hubb is a great Point Guard and will probably lead the league in minutes. He’ll be joined in the backcourt by Cormac Ryan, who averaged just shy of 10 PPG last year. They’re deep at wing with Goodwin, Laszewski, and Wertz and may have to play some small ball this year just to get their best players on the court. Brey was able to keep McDonald’s All-American and Top 100 Recruit, Blake Wesley from South Bend, at home, and he should be able to provide some nice minutes for this team as well.

The Irish has some good talent and I look for them to stay near the middle of the league this year and I’m going to make a somewhat bold prediction and say they make the NCAA tournament this year.

Pittsburgh Panthers

  • Head Coach: Jeff Capel- 4th Season

  • Last Season: 10-12 (6-10), 12th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 145th- 14th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: F Justin Champagnie (NBA), G Xavier Johnson (Indiana), G Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas), F Karim Coulibaly (St. Bonaventure), F Terrell Brown (San Diego)

  • Key Additions: F Mouhamadou Gueye (Stony Brook), F Nate Santos (3 Star), G Jamarius Burton (Texas Tech), F Chris Payton (JUCO), F Dan Oladapo (Oakland)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Femi Odukale 6.6 PPG

G Ithiel Horton 8.9 PPG

G Nike Sibande 6.9 PPG

F Dan Oladopo 12.9 PPG (Oakland)

F Mouhamadou Gueye 9.7 PPG (Stony Brook)

Bench Jamarius Burton 4.3 PPG (Texas Tech)

Bench Chris Payton 12.5 PPG (JUCO)

Bench William Jeffress 2.4 PPG

Bench John Hugley 5.1 PPG

2022 Season Outlook:

I’m not sure what’s going on in Pittsburgh, but the Panthers had 5 players transfer out last year, 2 of which left before the season was even over. Jeff Capel has done a nice job on the transfer market of rebuilding this team, but he’s still going to have his hands full this year, and his seat is starting to get warm. Not only do they have to replace the transfers, but All ACC forward, Justin Champagnie, is now playing in the G League. He averaged 18 and 11 last year and it’s going to take a team effort to replace that production.

The good news for Pitt, is that after Johnson and Toney transferred mid-season, the trio of Odukale, Horton, and Sibande all played and gained experience together. The bad news is that they lost 10 of their last 12 games. They bring in multi-stop transfer Jamarius Burton who couldn’t crack the starting lineup for Texas Tech last year but started 52 games for Wichita State in his first two years and averaged 10.3 PPG as a sophomore.

In the frontcourt, they’ll mainly be relying on transfers coming from smaller schools. Oladopo and Gueye will look to bring their mid-major success to the ACC. Oladapo averaged 12.9 PPG and 8.8 RPG at Oakland and Gueye was the America East Conference DPOY. JUCO transfer Chris Payton will get an opportunity along with William Jeffress and John Hugley, who are the only two returning players with experience in the frontcourt.

This version of Pitt will have to focus more on a team effort as opposed to Champagnie being the center of attention, but someone is going to have to step up in a major way if this team is going to have any success. Unfortunately for the Panthers, I don’t think they have the talent to compete in the ACC this year and Pitt might be looking for a new coach in the offseason.

Syracuse Orange

  • Head Coach: Jim Boeheim- 46th Season

  • Last Season: 18-10 (9-7), 8th in the ACC, Lost in the Sweet Sixteen

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 41st- 7th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: F Quincy Guerrier (Oregon), F Alan Griffin (NBA), F Marek Dolezaj (Graduation/Professional Career), F Kadary Richmond (Seton Hall), F Woody Newton (Oklahoma State), F Robert Braswell (Charlotte)

  • Key Additions: F Benny Williams (4 Star), F Cole Swider (Villanova), G Symir Torrence (Marquette), F Jimmy Boeheim (Colgate)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Joseph Girard III 9.8 PPG

G Buddy Boeheim 17.8 PPG

F Cole Swider 5.7 PPG (Villanova)

F Jimmy Boeheim 16.7 PPG (Cornell ’20)

C Jesse Edwards 1.9 PPG

Bench Benny Williams 16.3 PPG (HS)

Bench Symir Torrence 2.4 PPG (Marquette)

Bench Bourama Sidibe 1.5 PPG

2022 Season Outlook:

The word out of Syracuse is that Coach Boeheim (be ready to read that last name a lot in this write up) thinks he has the best perimeter shooting team he’s ever had there, and from what I saw in their exhibition game last night, it might be true. That’s a scary thought when you combine it with their 2-3 zone. They were actually middle of the pack in the ACC last year defensively, but they add some length in Cole Swider (6-9), Jimmy Boeheim (6-8), and Benny Williams (6-8) that should help strengthen the zone. The Orange will have a strong backcourt combo in Buddy Boeheim and Girard with Boeheim shouldering most of the offense. He almost single-handedly carried them to the Sweet Sixteen last year by scoring 25 points or more in every postseason game other than the loss to Houston in the Sweet Sixteen. He could very well average over 20 PPG this year and is my pick for ACC Player of the Year. The only other true guard in the rotation is Symir Torrence. He was never more than a rotational piece at Marquette, but the former 4 Star recruit will look to provide big minutes for the Orange off of the bench this year.

In the frontcourt, their biggest contributors will all be new faces to Coach Boeheim’s program. Cole Swider from Villanova and top 30 recruit, Benny Williams, will join Boeheim’s oldest son Jimmy Boeheim who’s taking his Covid bonus year at Syracuse after leading Cornell in scoring as a Junior. One of these three will likely come off the bench, though, as Boeheim likes to play a traditional center in the middle of the zone. I’m projecting Jesse Edwards to get the final starting spot since he saw action in 18 games last year.

They will probably only go 7 deep of players that play meaningful minutes, but those 7 should be able to get the job done. Boeheim hasn’t said anything publicly about it, but this feels like it could be his last year. He’ll be 77 in a couple of weeks, and he has both of his sons playing for him in their final years. The three Boeheim’s should be able to lead the Orange comfortably (by their standards) into the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia Cavaliers

  • Head Coach: Tony Bennett- 13th Season

  • Last Season: 18-7 (13-4), ACC Regular Season Champions, Lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 45th- 8th in the ACC, AP Poll #25

  • Key Departures: F Trey Murphy III (NBA), F Sam Hauser (NBA), C Jay Huff (NBA), F Justin McKoy (North Carolina), G Casey Morsell (NC State), G Tomas Woldetensae (Graduation), F Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Georgia)

  • Key Additions: F Jayden Gardner (East Carolina), G Armaan Franklin (Indiana), F Taine Murray (4 Star), Igor Milicic Jr. (NR)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Kihei Clark 9.5 PPG

G Reece Beekman 4.7 PPG

G Armaan Franklin 11.4 PPG (Indiana)

F Jayden Gardner 18.3 PPG (ECU)

C Kadin Shedrick 2.5 PPG

Bench Francisco Caffaro 1.2 PPG

Bench Kody Stattmann 3.5 PPG

Bench Carson McCorkle 0.6 PPG

2022 Season Outlook:

Tony Bennett has built one of the best and most consistent programs in the country during his time in Charlottesville. Last year’s group surprisingly struggled at times on the defensive end, but still managed to finish strong down the stretch and win the regular season title. Covid knocked them out of the ACC Tournament and was probably the main reason for their upset loss against Ohio in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Now looking towards this year, they have to find a way to replace 3 starters, 3 role players, and a guy they were expecting to contribute this year. Bennett hit the transfer market hard and got his top 2 targets in AAC First Teamer F Jayden Gardner from ECU and three-point threat Armaan Franklin (42.4%) from Indiana.

Virginia will look to be much better on the defensive end this year and will probably play more inside-out than normal. All 3 bigs (Gardner, Shedrick, and Caffaro) have more offensive game than the Cavaliers normally do, and Jayden Gardner is the best back-to-the-basket player at UVA since Anthony Gill. Kody Stattmann will also get some minutes in the frontcourt when they decide to go small, as he gives Bennett versatility with his ability to play at the 3 or the 4.

But ultimately, this team will go as far as their backcourt can carry them. Specifically, NCAA Champion Kihei Clark, who is their leader and an extension of Coach Bennett on the court. The biggest issue UVA had last year was figuring out how to play Clark and Beekman (both on-ball guards) at the same time. That should still be a problem year, but they’re the 2 best guards on the team and they have to figure it out. From what I’ve seen and heard from practice and scrimmages so far, is that Beekman is going to be a much better scorer and may be more comfortable playing off-the-ball. Look for him to have a big breakout in his sophomore campaign, increasing his shooting percentage while still being able to get to the rim and create his own shot. As for the rest of the backcourt, Franklin will lock down the other guard spot and Carson McCorkle will look to provide more three-point shooting off the bench. Freshmen Taine Murray and Igor Milicic Jr. will also get an opportunity early in the season to crack the rotation. This Cavalier team, though inexperienced in areas, will be tough all year and should remain near the top of the league.

Virginia Tech Hokies

  • Head Coach: Mike Young- 3rd Season

  • Last Season: 15-7 (9-4), 3rd in the ACC, Lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 39th- 5th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: G Tyrece Radford (Texas A&M), G Jalen Cone (Northern Arizona), G Wabissa Bede (Graduation)

  • Key Additions: C Lynn Kidd (Clemson), G Storm Murphy (Wofford), G Sean Pedulla (3 Star), F Jalen Haynes (3 Star)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Hunter Cattoor 8.5 PPG

G Storm Murphy 17.8 PPG (Wofford)

G Nahiem Alleyne 11.1 PPG

F Justyn Mutts 9.5 PPG

F Keve Aluma 15.2 PPG

Bench Lynn Kidd 1.1 PPG (Clemson)

Bench David N’Guessan 2.6 PPG

Bench Sean Pedulla 17.6 PPG (HS)

2022 Season Outlook:

Mike Young was left absolutely nothing when he came to Blacksburg, and he has turned this team into a real competitor for the top of the league in just two years. I’ve got to eat some crow on this one, because I did not think this was a good hire, but the New River Valley local has been impressive since returning to the area. The Hokies surprised everyone last year by making the NCAA Tournament and finishing 3rd in the ACC; however, they did only play 13 conference games due to Covid cancellations. They lose Tyrece Radford to former VT coach Buzz Williams and Texas A&M, but I’m still impressed by their starting 5.

Coach Young went back to his former team, Wofford, to bring in All SoCon player, Storm Murphy to be his point guard. I really like this guy. Remember the Wofford team from 2019 that had Fletcher Magee hitting what seemed like thousands of threes that almost beat Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, well it was Murphy, not Magee that stood out to me from that team. Murphy will be joined in the backcourt by Hunter Cattoor and Nahiem Alleyne, and you can expect all 3 of them to shoot over 40% from three-point range this year. In the frontcourt you have potential Player of the Year in Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts who can stretch the floor a little bit while also being strong inside. I hope that their starters are ready to play 30+ minutes per game, though, because I’m not sure how much depth they’re going to have. They’re going to need at least a couple guys to step up because currently none of their bench has much experience.

A ton of people are picking the Hokies to be a dark horse to challenge for the ACC title this year. I don’t think they’re going to be that good, but I think they will finish 5th or 6th in the conference and comfortably be in the NCAA tournament again.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • Head Coach: Steve Forbes- 2nd Season

  • Last Season: 6-16 (3-15), 14th in the ACC, No Postseason Tournament

  • Pre-Season Rankings: Kenpom: 104th- 13th in the ACC

  • Key Departures: F Ismael Massoud (Kansas State), G Ian DuBose (Graduation), F Ody Oguama (Cincinnati), G Jahcobi Neath (Wisconsin), G Jalen Johnson (Mercer), G Jonah Antonio (Graduation), G Isiah Wilkins (Longwood), C Emmanuel Okpomo (Temple)

  • Key Additions: G Alondes Williams (Oklahoma), F Khadim Sy (Ole Miss), G Cameron Hildreth (3 Star), G Robert McCray (3 Star), G Lucas Taylor (3 Star), C Dallas Walton (Colorado), F Jake Laravia (Indiana State)

  • Projected Lineup (2021 Stats):

G Daivien Williamson 12.9 PPG

G Alondes Williams 6.7 PPG (Oklahoma)

G Carter Whitt 4.7 PPG

F Isaiah Mucius 10.3 PPG

C Dallas Walton 6.5 PPG (Colorado)

Bench Jake Laravia 12.5 PPG (Indiana State)

Bench Khadim Sy 3.1 PPG (Ole Miss)

Bench Cameron Hildreth 20.9 PPG (British League)

2022 Season Outlook:

Steve Forbes took over a really bad team from Danny Manning a year ago and last year went pretty much as expected with the Demon Deacons finishing 14th in the league. They may be a little bit better this year, but it will be with an almost entirely new roster. They only return 3 players that played meaningful minutes a year ago. 2 of those returners are guards Daivien Williamson and Carter Whitt. Williamson had a nice year last season and should be their leader but will need to cut down on the turnovers if they’re going to be successful. Joining them in the backcourt will be Oklahoma transfer Alondes Williams. After that, they do not have much depth at guard. They’ll either have to rely on freshmen or play bigger lineups.

The depth and experience is better in the frontcourt. Isaiah Mucius is back after scoring in double figures last year. Dallas Walton comes over from Colorado to start at center and transfers Jake Laravia and Khadim Sy (who started at Virginia Tech) will provide nice depth for the Demon Deacons.

Forbes is in the middle of a full-blown rebuild, but he’s starting to get his guys into the program, and it will be nice to see them make improvements this year. They’ll still be in the bottom third of the league, but I think they’ll be more competitive.

100 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page