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2013-14 College Basketball Preview: ACC
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 10/17/2013  at  12:00:00 PM
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The 2013-14 college basketball season tips off Friday, Nov. 8, and StatFox has you covered by previewing all the major conferences with predicted standings. The ACC begins the run of the big conference previews, as the conference has added three powerhouse Big East teams with Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, making it a 15-school conference this season.

Once the college basketball season begins on Nov. 8, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks. StatFox Gary had an outstanding 56.1% ATS Best Bets success rate during the 2012-13 season, while StatFox Dave was also profitable at 53% ATS Best Bets.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE 2013-14 PREVIEW

The three conference newcomers should all challenge Duke for the top spot in this powerhouse conference.

Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Duke
2. Syracuse
3. Virginia
4. North Carolina
5. Notre Dame
6. Pittsburgh
7. Florida State
8. Maryland
9. Boston College
10. Miami
11. North Carolina State
12. Georgia Tech
13. Wake Forest
14. Clemson
15. Virginia Tech

DUKE BLUE DEVILS
2012-13 SU Record: 83% (30-6)
2012-13 ATS Record: 53% (19-17)
2012-13 Over (Total): 48% (15-16)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 7/1

Duke made an Elite Eight run last season before running into eventual national-champion Louisville on a team led by three seniors: Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly, all of whom are now gone to the NBA. But this season's squad has no shortage of talent, highlighted by incoming freshman Jabari Parker, who will be integral to an offense that fans can expect to be high-paced and resemble head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Olympic teams that opted for smaller and more athletic lineups. Parker, a 6-foot-8 wing, will likely start at the four with sophomore Amile Jefferson (4.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG in 12.7 MPG) at the five. The team’s real strength, though, is on the perimeter where it will be bolstered by 6-foot-8 wing Rodney Hood, who will be a key to the offense after sitting out last season while transferring from Mississippi State. He was an All-SEC freshman in 2011-12, averaging 10.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG. Parker and Hood’s height and athleticism should help make up for Jefferson not being a true center, while 7-footer Marshall Plumlee will play a reserve role. Also on the perimeter, Rasheed Sulaimon (11.6 PPG, 37% 3-pt FG) should be poised to improve in his sophomore campaign, already having demonstrated he can be an effective breakdown scorer. Quinn Cook (11.7 PPG, 5.3 APG) will run the show again, though he must be more consistent than he was as a sophomore. The final key piece could be Andre Dawkins, who rejoins the team after sitting out last year for personal reasons. He is one of the best 3-point shooters in the nation when he’s on his game (40% 3-pt FG in career), though he could be challenged for minutes by both Tyler Thornton and freshman Matt Jones.

SYRACUSE ORANGE
2012-13 SU Record: 75% (30-10)
2012-13 ATS Record: 56% (20-16)
2012-13 Over (Total): 46% (13-15)
Returning Starters: 2
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 25/1

Despite losing three starters, Jim Boeheim’s squad may be the most ready of the three new ACC additions to immediately compete. The losses of Michael Carter-Williams, James Southerland and Brandon Triche will be difficult to adjust to for a team that made a Final Four run, but the team’s leading scorer C.J. Fair (14.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG) is a strong weapon on both ends of the floor and should be able to pick up his production more. The team also has some untapped talent in the post in Rakeem Christmas (5.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG in 20.8 MPG) and DaJuan Coleman (4.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG in 12.7 MPG) who both played well in fluctuating minutes throughout the season. Perhaps most important for this team is a strong recruiting class headlined by PG Tyler Ennis, who has the potential to be even better than Carter-Williams if everything breaks right. Sophomores Trevor Cooney (3.4 PPG in 11.2 MPG) and Jerami Grant (3.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG in 14.3 MPG) will play bigger roles at the two and three spots, but Cooney (32% FG, 27% 3-pt FG) needs to find his stroke on a more consistent basis to earn a starting spot over Duke transfer Michael Gbinije. Freshman Ron Patterson should also factor in for minutes in the unproven backcourt, giving Boeheim no shortage of options when crafting his lineups.

VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
2012-13 SU Record: 66% (23-12)
2012-13 ATS Record: 56% (18-14-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 47% (7-8)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 75/1

Tony Bennett’s slow style of play and defensive coaching style make the Cavaliers a frustrating opponent for any team, and this season's team may finally have the right combination of talent to really make a run. Led by returning seniors Joe Harris (16.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG) and Akil Mitchell (13.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG), this team has a savvy veteran presence. The team’s only loss, point guard Jontel Evans, should easily be replaced by incoming freshman Devon Hall who is already a deft passer. And with Evan Nolte (39% 3-pt FG) on the perimeter and getting more touches and an improved Mike Tobey (6.8 PPG in 13.9 MPG) manning the post, the offense should be more potent than last season when the Cavs scored just 64.2 PPG (11th in ACC).

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
2012-13 SU Record: 69% (25-11)
2012-13 ATS Record: 61% (20-13)
2012-13 Over (Total): 47% (14-16)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 20/1

The Tar Heels have been in the wrong news this offseason due to the legal woes of P.J. Hairston, but this team returns most of its talent from last season and has room to grow. Hairston (14.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG) led the team in scoring last season and he should be available for most of the season while James Michael McAdoo (14.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG) is back for his junior campaign, always having been touted for his star potential. Meanwhile, rising sophomore Marcus Paige (8.2 PPG, 4.6 APG) is coming into his own as a distributor while PF Isaiah Hicks could be an impact freshman from day one. Same goes for point guard Nate Britt, who will challenge Paige for minutes.

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
2012-13 SU Record: 71% (25-10)
2012-13 ATS Record: 48% (15-16-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 55% (12-10)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1

It will be a new-look Notre Dame squad in its first campaign in the ACC, one without Jack Cooley to put up double-doubles every night. The backcourt won't change with Jerian Grant (13.3 PPG, 5.5 APG), who is still an effective scorer who should be able to put up even more points as a senior while still distributing the ball well. Same goes for Eric Atkins (11.2 PPG, 5.5 APG), who also handles some of the ball-handling duties. What could make or break Mike Brey’s team could be how quickly freshman Demetrius Jackson adjusts to college ball. The 6-foot-1 guard is among the most highly-touted incoming perimeter players in the nation and could make this team difficult to deal with in transition and from beyond the arc. The frontcourt is comprised of a pair of fifth-year seniors in Tom Knight (5.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG) and Garrick Sherman (7.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG) who are both 6-foot-10. Sophomore Zach Auguste (3.7 PPG in 10.7 MPG), also 6-foot-10, will also log key minutes once he returns from a broken hand in 4-to-6 weeks.

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
2012-13 SU Record: 73% (24-9)
2012-13 ATS Record: 48% (13-14)
2012-13 Over (Total): 58% (11-8)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 75/1

There appears to be little chance that Pittsburgh has as much potential as it did last season with the losses of C Steven Adams and leading scorer Tray Woodall, but playing postseason basketball is certainly not out of the question, especially with Jamie Dixon at the helm. The team will be led by senior forwards Lamar Patterson (10.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG) and Talib Zanna (9.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG), who know the game and should make the transition to a new conference easier. Add in a heralded recruit in Michael Young, who at 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds has a college-ready body, and heady sophomore point guard James Robinson (6.1 PPG, 3.5 APG), who led the Big East with a 2.8 Ast/TO ratio as a freshman, and this team has a potentially bright future.

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
2012-13 SU Record: 53% (18-16)
2012-13 ATS Record: 42% (13-18-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 57% (12-9)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 80/1

The Seminoles lose their best player from last year, Michael Snaer, but return a veteran crew that should be able to improve on a mediocre 2012-13 campaign. Okaro White (12.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG) may prove to be among the more dynamic big men in the ACC while Devon Bookert (6.5 PPG, 53% 3-pt FT) is an emerging star in the backcourt. Ian Miller (5.3 PPG in 18.8 MPG) should also play a big role in filling Snaer's wing position. The biggest question mark will be at the center position, but the team is hoping one of its three raw 7-footers (Kiel Turpin, Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo) can provide a consistently strong presence in the paint.

MARYLAND TERRAPINS
2012-13 SU Record: 66% (25-13)
2012-13 ATS Record: 59% (17-12-2)
2012-13 Over (Total): 47% (9-10)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 80/1

This will be a new-look Maryland squad without center Alex Len, who took his talents to the NBA. Heading into the school's final year in the ACC, Dez Wells (13.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.0 APG) should lead the charge, even more so with Pe’Shon Howard transferring. The key for this team will be the development of two sophomores in Charles Mitchell (5.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG in 15.7 MPG) and Shaquille Cleare (3.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG in 12.0 MPG), who will be tasked with replacing Len in the paint. Cleare is a hefty 6-foot-9 center, who has the potential to be a load to deal with down low. Mitchell made the most of his limited time as a freshman, and also provides a hefty rebounding presence that could prove difficult for opponents to deal with. Sophomore Seth Allen (7.8 PPG, 2.3 APG) and freshman Roddy Peters will be tasked with running the point, which will allow junior Nick Faust (9.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG) to concentrate more on scoring from the two-guard spot.

BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
2012-13 SU Record: 49% (16-17)
2012-13 ATS Record: 55% (16-13)
2012-13 Over (Total): 67% (6-3)
Returning Starters: 5
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 500/1

Despite finishing below .500 last season, Boston College made huge strides and should be able to at least reach the NIT, returning all five starters. Leading that crew is last year’s ACC Freshman of the Year Olivier Hanlan (15.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG) while Ryan Anderson (14.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG) provides a steady post presence. This crew showed lots of potential last season, including a near upset of Duke, and won’t be a fun team to play in conference season as an improving perimeter-oriented squad that likes to play four guards at times with Joe Rahon (10.1 PPG, 3.7 APG), Lonnie Jackson (8.7 PPG, 38% 3-pt FG) and Patrick Heckmann (8.0 PPG, 38% 3-pt FG) joining the two stars. Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich (34% 3-pt FG in 2011-12) will be counted on for long-range shooting.

MIAMI HURRICANES
2012-13 SU Record: 81% (29-7)
2012-13 ATS Record: 70% (21-9-3)
2012-13 Over (Total): 44% (10-13)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 200/1

The Hurricanes were the surprise story of the ACC last season but lose almost all of last season's talent, mostly through graduation, while star PG Shane Larkin made the early leap to the NBA. Rion Brown (6.4 PPG) is the top talent, as the only returning player who averaged at least 2.0 PPG last season. Seven-footer Tonye Jekiri should be a defensive force, while DePaul transfer Donnavan Kirk (6.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.6 BPG) will get plenty of minutes at power forward. Head coach Jim Larranaga is good, but this will be a rebuilding year for the Hurricanes who have some respectable freshmen coming in, but nobody good enough to make them competitive in the tough ACC. Six-foot-1 volume shooter Deandre Burnett will probably log the most minutes among the incoming class.

NC STATE WOLFPACK
2012-13 SU Record: 69% (24-11)
2012-13 ATS Record: 53% (17-15-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 50% (12-12)
Returning Starters: 1
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1

The Wolfpack disappointed last season with a senior-heavy roster, going one-and-done in the Big Dance and now lose seniors C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood and Richard Howell. Furthermore, former top recruit Rodney Purvis is gone, transferring to UConn. That places a heavy burden on T.J. Warren (12.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG 62% FG, 52% 3-pt FG) to lead this team. However, head coach Mark Gottfried did add three top recruits in point guard Anthony "Cat" Barber and forwards BeeJay Anya and Kyle Washington. This trio will need to contribute significantly from day one for this team to threaten, but JUCO Desmond Lee and LSU transfer Ralston Turner (9.1 PPG, 37% 3-pt FG in 2011-12) also give this team some hope.

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
2012-13 SU Record: 52% (16-15)
2012-13 ATS Record: 48% (14-15)
2012-13 Over (Total): 60% (6-4)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 500/1

The Yellow Jackets made solid improvements under second-year head coach Brian Gregory and with the team mostly returning from last season, it should be able to do just that again, even if they will struggle to compete in the deep ACC. The loss of Mfon Udofia at point guard will be difficult to deal with, but Solomon Poole (1.8 PPG, 1.0 APG in 9.0 MPG) should be able to fill that role adequately in a full season of work. He will often be feeding Trae Golden (12.1 PPG, 3.9 APG), who received an NCAA wavier to play immediately after transferring from Tennessee, and should lead the team in scoring. And as Marcus Georges-Hunt (10.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG) and Robert Carter (9.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG) continue to develop, this could be a team that threatens for a few big upsets in ACC play, even if they inevitably won’t be dancing in March.

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
2012-13 SU Record: 42% (13-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 57% (16-12-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 63% (5-3)
Returning Starters: 4
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 500/1

It will be tough for the Demon Deacons to cope with the loss of last season's leading scorer C.J. Harris, but Travis McKie (13.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG) and Devin Thomas (9.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG) give this team surprisingly talented weapons in the post. The big question mark is if players such as Codi Miller-McIntyre (8.1 PPG, 2.6 APG) will be able to step up enough to make the squad competitive on the perimeter.

CLEMSON TIGERS
2012-13 SU Record: 42% (13-18)
2012-13 ATS Record: 50% (13-13-1)
2012-13 Over (Total): 36% (5-9)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 500/1

Clemson struggled to compete last season, and the outlook is worse for the 2013-14 campaign with a dearth of talent in the post to replace the losses of Devin Booker and Milton Jennings. Shooting guards K.J. McDaniels (10.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG) and Jordan Roper (7.9 PPG, 41% 3-pt FG) will have to bear a heavy burden and put up a lot of shots for the offense to have any life, while junior point guard Rod Hall (5.7 PPG, 3.5 APG) will be the glue to this three-guard offense. This appears to be another rebuilding season for the Tigers and head coach Brad Brownell.

VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
2012-13 SU Record: 41% (13-19)
2012-13 ATS Record: 42% (11-15-3)
2012-13 Over (Total): 45% (6-5)
Returning Starters: 3
Odds to win 2014 NCAA Championship: 100/1 (Field)

The only positive for this Virginia Tech team is that it will be the second year for head coach James Johnson, but otherwise the outlook appears grim. Last year’s leading scorer and ACC Player of the Year Erick Green is gone and so is Robert Brown, who transferred to UAB. And with an offense that may have to be centered around Jarell Eddie (12.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 40% FG) and Cadarian Raines (6.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG), this team appears destined for the ACC’s cellar yet again.

Other Conference Previews

ATLANTIC COAST Conference
BIG 12 Conference
BIG TEN Conference
PAC-12 Conference
SOUTHEASTERN Conference
OTHER Notable Schools

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