So last week, we talked about an introduction to the Triangle teams for this basketball season. Since then, the Associated Press has released their preseason poll, and North Carolina sits atop of it for the record ninth time.
Duke is fifth in the preseason poll, and Virginia, another ACC team is in at number six.
As good as the ACC was last season, could it be even better this year? Well, the answer is yes.
Obviously Duke, the National Champion came out of the ACC last year, and North Carolina, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Louisville all were in the top ten nationally at one point or another last season. While Louisville may be down a little this year, expect Florida State and Miami to pick up their slack a little. The conference is once again the deepest in the nation, and poses the threat of another national champion, as Carolina, Virginia, or Duke could all legitimately be considered right now to be cutting down the nets come April.
The ACC starts with Carolina and Duke, and that kind of seems like how it should be. Virginia is right there too, and those teams seem to be in a different echelon than everyone else. The next five spots in the conference are really a toss-up, which will make for some great basketball.
The preseason also calls for some individual predictions. Here’s my Preseason All-ACC team.
Marcus Paige- the Tarheel Senior is the front runner for conference Player of the Year. If he stays healthy, there’s no better point guard in the country.
Brandon Ingram- the Duke Freshman will win Freshman of the year, almost undoubtedly, as long as he stays healthy. He is going to be huge for the Devils, who are looking to replace a lot of scoring from the National Championship team last season.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes- Florida State’s sophomore showed how explosive he could be last season. If he is playing at a high level, expect to see the Seminoles in the top 25 in the country.
Malcom Brogdon- The Virginia Senior was money down the stretch last season. He and the Cavs have their eyes set on another regular season title in the ACC. It would be their third straight.
Brice Johnson- The Tarheel Senior is poised to have his best season ever, as he has as much offensive talent as any power-forward in the conference. If he can keep his head on straight, he can have a breakout season.
Teams begin exhibition play this week. Basketball is almost back. And this year’s ACC could be the best yet.