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2017-2018 Preseason ACC Basketball Power Rankings

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Virginia vs North Carolina-Wilmington Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

With just TWO days separating us from UVA basketball, here is your Streaking the Lawn staff’s preseason ACC Power Rankings.

Rankings were based on averaging across the ballots of 15 staff members. Scroll to the bottom for full rankings from each writer as well as overall means and standard deviations for each team.

1. Duke Blue Devils (KenPom #6)

Last year: 28-9, 11-7 ACC. Made Round of 32.

Duke is this year’s team to beat once again, as they’ll surround the objectively terrible Grayson Allen with a new trio of five-star mercinaries in guard Trevon Duval, forward Wendell Carter, and the 6’11” ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year Marvin Bagley III. Bagley has the particular potential to be scary good. While the freshman-heavy weighting always leaves some question marks, Duke will be annoyingly good.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels (KenPom #13)

Last year: 33-7, 14-4 ACC. National Champions

Last year’s national champions experienced significant turnover this offseason, with starters Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks, and Nate Britt all either graduating or declaring for the draft. Joel Berry will be surrounded by a strong five-man recruiting class and graduate transfer Cam Johnson, who will move over from Pittsburgh. Expect some growing pains, but UNC has the talent to compete at the top of the conference again; however, they probably lack the high ceiling of last season.

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (KenPom #22)

Last year: 26-10, 12-6 ACC. Made Round of 32.

Notre Dame will feature another high-powered offense with star Bonzie Colson, picked as preseason ACC Player of the Year, returning for his senior season along with sharp-shooter Matt Farrell. Last year’s Notre Dame squad was Mike Brey’s strongest defensively in 5 years (at #61 on KenPom). Keeping this year’s team at a similarly non-terrible level could be the difference between a good team and a great one this season.

4. Louisville Cardinals (KenPom #16)

Last year: 25-9, 12-6 ACC. Made Round of 32

Interim head coach David Padgett will take the reigns for Louisville, who I believe will be allowed to field a basketball team this season. (Let’s hope that Padgett retain’s his predecessors proclivity toward losing badly to Virginia.) On the court, the Cardinals should also be well within the “top tier” of the conference this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are underrating the team because of their off-court issues.

5. Miami Hurricanes (KenPom #27)

Last year: 21-12, 10-8 ACC. Made NCAA Tournament.

The Hurricanes, who came on strong last year, are poised to take another step forward. SI projects them to return more minutes (67%) than any other team in the ACC, and their “missing” minutes will be well spoken for as well. Coach Jim Larranaga has had Miami playing strong defense the past few years; this time around, they’ll have the offensive weapons to match it.

6. Virginia Cavaliers (KenPom #9)

Last year: 23-11, 11-7 ACC. Made Round of 32.

Hoping that UVA is underranked by ~5 spots in this power ranking. But it wasn’t the fault of resident STL optimists Paul Wiley (who had UVA 2nd) and Eric Hobeck (1st)!

7. Virginia Tech Hokies (KenPom #53)

Last year: 22-11, 10-8 ACC. Made NCAA Tournament.

Buzz Williams snapped a 9-year NCAA Tournament drought last season, and VT is well-positioned to make it two years in a row this season. They return all 5 starters...but that’s a little misleading because they graduate their two best players from last year in Seth Allen and Zach LeDay. (What a bizarre lineup decision!) Depth will be a significant concern for a team that went with a 7-man rotation last year.

8. Florida State Seminoles (KenPom #55)

Last year: 26-9, 12-6 ACC. Made Round of 32.

A returning combo of Dwayne Bacon, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jonathan Isaac would have been ridiculously good. Unfortunately for Seminole fans, all three decided to leave FSU early. Fortunately, Florida State has another top-15 recruiting class coming to replace them.

9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (KenPom #44)

Last year: 21-16, 8-10 ACC. Made NIT Final.

Georgia Tech finished last year on a high note, advancing all the way to the NIT Final, where they were handily beaten by TCU. They start this one on a low note, as Josh Pastner has been implicated in recruiting violations, and their two best players, Josh Okogie and Tadric Johnson, are suspended indefinitely.

The news came a bit too late to be completely captured by our preseason poll, so GT may be artificially high here.

10. Syracuse Orange(KenPom #68)

Last year: 19-15, 10-8 ACC. Made NIT.

After falling just short of the NCAA Tournament last year, Syracuse had a rough offseason punctuated by the transfer of promising freshman Taurean Thompson to Seton Hall. Their lineup this year will feature zero seniors and just one junior, guard Frank Howard. Expect some growing pains and lots of complaining from Jim Boeheim.

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons(KenPom #57)

Last year: 19-14, 9-9 ACC. Made NCAA Tournament.

After a painful 6 years for Demon Deacon fans, the team returned to the NCAA Tournament last year behind a banner year from John Collins. He has gone on to the NBA (and Dinos Mitoglou left to play professionally overseas), but Wake won’t be the bottom feeder they were under Jeff Bzdelik. PG Bryant Crawford is a breakout player to watch this season.

12. Clemson Tigers (KenPom #47)

Last year: 17-16, 6-12 ACC. Made NIT.

Clemson may have been 6-12 in the ACC last season, but bad luck was a major culprit: 9 of their 12 losses were by 6 points or fewer. Despite the loss of Jaron Blossomgame this year, the Tigers have the weapons to have some upset potential and a decent amount of experience, including now-eligible transfers David Skara and Mark Donnal. Still, a tournament berth will be an uphill climb. There was a high degree of variation in our rankings, with STL staff pegging Clemson as high as 8 and low as 13.

13. NC State Wolfpack (KenPom #109)

Last year: 15-17, 4-14 ACC. No Postseason.

NC State canned perennial underachiever Mark Gottfried in favor of perennial overachiever, UNC-Wilmington coach Kevin Keatts, but prospects are still dim. Dennis Smith has moved on to the NBA, though the Wolfpack is bringing in promising freshman Lavar Batts Jr. The team will likely struggle defensively - they did the past few seasons, and it wasn’t Keatts’s teams’ strong suit at UNC-W.

14. Boston College Eagles (KenPom #95)

Last year: 9-23, 2-16 ACC. No Postseason.

BC will look to end its 2-year stint in the ACC basement this season, but don’t have much in the cupboard. Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson will make a servicable backcourt duo and the Eagles will hope a little more experience will bolster the team’s prospects on both sides of the ball; still, there’s not a ton of reason for optimism in Chestnut Hill.

15. Pittsburgh Panthers (KenPom #121)

Last year: 16-17, 4-14 ACC. No Postseason.

Year 1 of the Kevin Stallings era resulted in a disappointing 4-14 ACC record, and Pitt would be lucky to get to 4 wins this season with all five of their starters from last year either graduating or transferring. (Only two players, both reserves, return.) The Panthers add a large freshman class, and a couple transfers...but it’s going to be a rough year.

STL Rankings

Rank Team Avg Ranking St Deviation
Rank Team Avg Ranking St Deviation
1 Duke 1.07 0.27
2 North Carolina 2.64 1.15
3 Notre Dame 3.93 1.44
4 Louisville 4.29 0.99
5 Miami 4.36 1.28
6 Virginia 4.79 1.63
7 Virginia Tech 7.50 0.85
8 Florida State 9.00 1.47
9 Georgia Tech 9.64 2.10
10 Syracuse 10.36 1.28
11 Wake Forest 10.57 1.28
12 Clemson 10.71 2.09
13 NC State 12.29 1.49
14 Boston College 14.00 0.55
15 Pittsburgh 14.86 0.36

All Ballots

Caroline Will Brian S Brian L Tim Tiki Neckel Trogs Wiley Ellis Ryan Hobeck Alex Luke Pierce
Caroline Will Brian S Brian L Tim Tiki Neckel Trogs Wiley Ellis Ryan Hobeck Alex Luke Pierce
Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Duke Virginia Duke Duke Duke
North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina Notre Dame Virginia North Carolina Notre Dame Duke North Carolina Notre Dame Notre Dame
Louisville Louisville Louisville Miami Miami Miami Miami North Carolina North Carolina Notre Dame Miami North Carolina Notre Dame North Carolina Miami
Virginia Notre Dame Notre Dame Louisville Notre Dame Notre Dame Virginia Louisville Louisville Louisville North Carolina Notre Dame Louisville Miami Louisville
Miami Miami Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Louisville Miami Notre Dame Miami Louisville Louisville Miami Virginia Virginia
Notre Dame Virginia Miami Notre Dame Louisville Louisville Notre Dame Virginia Miami Virginia Tech Virginia Miami Virginia Louisville North Carolina
Georgia Tech Florida State Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Florida State Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Georgia Tech Virginia Virginia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Clemson Clemson Florida State Syracuse Florida State Florida State Clemson Florida State Wake Forest Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Syracuse Clemson
Clemson Wake Forest Wake Forest Florida State Syracuse Virginia Tech Georgia Tech NC State Virginia Tech Syracuse Georgia Tech Florida State Syracuse Georgia Tech Florida State
Florida State NC State Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Syracuse Wake Forest Florida State Wake Forest Syracuse Wake Forest Florida State Florida State Syracuse
Wake Forest Syracuse Florida State Syracuse Clemson Clemson Clemson Syracuse Wake Forest NC State NC State Syracuse Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest
Syracuse Georgia Tech Syracuse Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest Wake Forest Georgia Tech Syracuse Clemson Florida State NC State Clemson NC State Georgia Tech
NC State Clemson Boston College NC State NC State NC State NC State Clemson Boston College Georgia Tech Clemson Clemson NC State Clemson NC State
Boston College Pittsburgh NC State Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College Boston College NC State Boston College Boston College Boston College Pittsburgh Boston College Boston College
Pittsburgh Boston College Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Boston College Pittsburgh Pittsburgh