Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

ACC Power Rankings Teams 1-6 : College Basketball Preview

Published on August 4, 2011 by Scott Shirley   ·   1 Comment

Before you know it college basketball will be right around the corner. I thought it would be a good idea to start my college basketball preview. In the following weeks and months I will be breaking down the teams in each conference as well as the top players, freshman, coaches and much more.

Today I look at the ACC; I ranked teams 7-12 yesterday. Today I ranked teams 1-6 in the ACC for the 2011-12-college basketball season.

1. North Carolina– Starters Returning (5) Barnes, Henson, Marshall, Strickland, Zeller

You need just one word to describe this team - loaded; they bring back everybody from a team that made the elite 8 last year. This team has the potential to be better than the team that won the national title in 2009. Harrison Barnes (15.7 ppg) could have been the number one pick in the NBA draft, but he decided to stay in school; he can do it all, and is as clutch as they come.Tyler Zeller (15.7 ppg) and John Henson (11.7 ppg)round out the best frontcourt in college basketball. Zeller has excellent post moves and can run the floor while Henson is the best-shot blocker in the nation. Leading the way in the backcourt is the best passer in college basketball Kendall Marshall (6.2 ppg) he gets the ball to the right people. At shooting guard Dexter Strickland (7.5 ppg) is fast as they come; needs to work on his shot. Look for Reggie Bullock (6.1 ppg) to contribute more he was hurt most of last season. The Tar Heels lose their best shooter Leslie McDonald (7 ppg) to a torn ACL this summer. North Carolina also brings in a top recruiting class leading the way is forward James McAdoo. If UNC has a weakness, its three point shooting recruit P.J. Hairston should improve that.

2. Duke – Starters Returning (3) Curry, Plumlee, Kelly

The Blue Devils lost their three best players, and they don’t have a player returning who averaged double figures in points, but still Duke gets reloads. Their best player will be a freshman, who is point guard Austin Rivers. Rivers can do it all from shooting threes to driving to the rim, but can he handle the pressure? Joining Rivers in the backcourt is Seth Curry (9.0 ppg), who is a deadly shooter. Andre Dawkins (8.1 ppg) is another great shooter off the bench and Tyler Thorntonis an adequate back up at the point. The Duke frontcourt needs to be tougher if they want to be an elite team, but they have the talent. Mason Plumlee (7.2 ppg) is the man in the middle, while Ryan Kelly (6.6 ppg) can shoot for a big guy. Miles Plumlee (4.8 ppg) provides a great spark off the bench for Duke. Besides Rivers, Duke also brings in 4 talented freshmen. Don’t be surprised to see small forward Alex Murphy start for the departed Kyle Singler from day one. Yes, another Plumlee, Marshall, will help in the frontcourt. Point guard Quinn Cook could also get a lot of playing time, and same goes with Michael Gbinjie.

3. Miami – Starters Returning (4) Grant, Scott, Johnson, Adams

The Hurricanes were in 6-10 in the ACC last year, but they lost so many close games. Now they have a new head coach in Jim Larranaga, and bring back 7 of their top 8 scorers. I really like this team. Leading the way is a very strong backcourt. Point Guard Malcolm Grant (14.8 ppg) is an excellent shooter, and a great passer. Durant Scott (13. 6 ppg) can get to the rim with the best of them. Rion Brown (4.4 ppg) provides depth off the bench. Center Reggie Johnson (11.9 ppg) is a beast in the middle for the Hurricanes. This year he should average a double double; he needs to continue to improve his conditioning. Julian Gamble (4.0 ppg)will likely start at the power forward, he is a tough player. Providing depth in the frontcourt areRaphael Akperjiori and Erik Swoope. The Hurricanes have two great options at the small forward spot in Garius Adams (7.3 ppg) and DeQuan Jones (4.5 ppg). Both are great athletes. The Hurricanes also bring in one recruit, but don’t expect him to do much. Can the Canes finish games this year that will be the question?

4. Florida State – Starters Returning (3) Snaer, James, White

Florida State has been the third best team in the ACC the past couple of years behind Duke and UNC. The Seminoles lose their top 2 scorers, but they return everyone else from a team that made the sweet 16. Micheal Snaer (8.8 ppg) is a very athletic player who needs to score more. Look for Ian Miller (5.5 ppg) to have a breakout year at the point or shooting guard. Deivdas Dulkys (7.3 ppg) is a very experienced guard, and can get hot with his shooting. Luke Loucks (2.9 ppg) can also play. Up front Bernard James (8.6 ppg) is an older player who is only going to get better. Okaro White (6.6 ppg) came on as a freshman; expect a big year from him. Xaiver Gibson (4.7 ppg)and Jon Kreft (3.2 ppg) all provide great depth up front. The Seminoles bring in four recruits; look for Antwan Space and Aaron Thomas to have the best chance to play. They also bring a transfer from Arkansas in guard Jeff Peterson. Florida State can defend, can they score will be the question.

5. North Carolina State – Starters Returning (3) Leslie, Wood, Brown

Sidney Lowe is gone, in comes Mark Gottried, Lowe did leave some talent for Gottried. The Wolfpack return 7 of their top 10 scorers. They lose their best player in forward in Tracy Smith, and the transfer of point guard Ryan Harrow hurts. Leading the way for the Wolfpack is power forward C.J. Leslie (11.0 ppg), many thought he would enter the draft. He has so much talent and athletic ability. Look for Richard Howell (7.4 ppg) to have a breakout year up front he will have a much bigger role. DeShawn Painter (4.6 ppg) and Jordan Vandenberg (1 pgg) provide solid depth up front. Scott Wood (9.7 ppg) is a deadly shooter from the small forward position. Lorenzo Brown (9.3 ppg) is very good at the point; he led the team in assists and steals last year. C.J. Williams (4.7 ppg) will help in the backcourt. Also look for transfer Alex Johnson to play in the backcourt. North Carolina State brings in three freshmen; Tyler Harris has the best chance to play.

6. Virginia – Starters Returning (4) Harris, Zeglinski, Evans, Sene

The Cavaliers had some rough years lately, they need to get back to the glory days of Virginia basketball. I think Tony Bennett has them headed in that direction. Their best player will be power forwardMike Scott (15.9 ppg) who took a medical redshirt last year; stats are from 2009. When healthy he is a double double machine. Assane Sene (5.1 ppg) is a great defensive center with no offensive game. The Cavaliers could be hurting for depth on the frontcourt, but Akil Mitchell and James Johnson will try to provide it. Virginia is very strong in the frontcourt. Joe Harris (10.4 ppg) has great size for a guard. Sammy Zeglinski (7.8 ppg) can really shoot the ball. Jontel Evans (5.7 ppg) is a solid point guard and an excellent defender. KT Harrell (8.0 ppg)will also help in the backcourt. Tony Bennett brought in three recruits; look for Malcolm Brogdon and Paul Jesperson to have some quality playing time.


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