Each week, the TNIAAM basketball staff will be ranking all 15 ACC teams in a completely subjective manner, just like everyone else on the internet does. Feel like we're completely off base?
Can it Chime in with your own ACC power rankings below.
We're a day away from our first game as members of the ACC. So it's time to evaluate where we're at in comparison to every other team in the conference. Folks seem to be pretty high on the Orange this season, which is nice, because then we don't feel like we're the only ones saying positive things. But rather than care about what other people are saying about our basketball team, what do we think about them? Well, that's what the post below is for...
Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown? Check out the Google Doc here!
Opening Game: vs. Davidson (11/8)
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 3
Whether you think Duke is the top team in the ACC or not probably depends on whether you buy into Jabari Parker being a once-in-a-generation scoring talent at forward. There's also the issue of the Blue Devils' bench, which was a major factor last year and could be once again this year. Injuries (like 2012-13) or not, there's a lot of pressure on Parker to deliver immediately.
Opening Game: vs. Cornell (11/8)
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 2
Gone are James Southerland, Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche. In are Tyler Ennis, Michael Gbinije, Tyler Roberson, Ron Patterson and a host of other newer faces. The quality of SU's recruiting classes over the past five years have set this team up to reload vs. rebuild, which should pay huge dividends here in the ACC.
Opening Game: vs. Oakland (11/8)
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
P.J. Hairston's potential extended absence puts a damper on the early part of this season, though we're still not sure exactly how much time he'll miss. If he comes back fairly quickly though, this Heels team could be off and running. They're deep with scorers, and between Hairston and James Michael McAdoo alone, UNC could boast at least two potential NBA lottery picks, if not more.
Opening Game: vs. James Madison (11/8)
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 6
The Hoos are arguably the top "sleeper" team in the country -- a squad that's lurking outside that top 10-12 conversation, but might find themselves knocking on the Final Four door come season's end. The issue might be that they're only about two-deep though, with Joe Harris, Akil Mitchell and not much else. Granted, a team like that will still get you to the tournament. But we'll see how that impacts their ability to become more than just a "competitive squad" in this conference.
Opening Game: vs. Miami (OH) (11/8)
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 6
Remember all those annoying three-point shooters Notre Dame would always toss out against us? Well, they've got plenty more on this year's roster. Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant (Jerami's brother) should be improved from last season, and will anchor the outside scoring for a Notre Dame team that may over-achieve once again.
Opening Game: vs. Savannah State (11/8)
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 8
I wasn't overly impressed with Steven Adams last year, but I understand that could just be some personal bias on my part. As always, Pitt will be a tough out though, with the ability to really hammer teams down low. Some of the new rule changes will mean adjustments for Jamie Dixon's rough-and-tumble squad, and we'll see to what extend early in the non-conference schedule.
Opening Game: vs. Connecticut (11/8)
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 9
We'll know a lot about Maryland early on, with the opening night test against a ranked UConn squad. Dez Wells should grow as the team's most dynamic scorer, and what's most interesting is how much length the Terps have overall. With seven different players listed between 6'8" and 6'9", this is a team that should challenge the opposition on defense and wreak some havoc in half-court sets as well.
Opening Game: at Providence (11/8)
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 14
The Eagles are a very experienced bunch, but start their season off with a deceptively tough test up with (former) regional rival Providence this Friday night. Both Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan are expected to lead BC, but perhaps the biggest difference-maker could be center Dennis Clifford. The 7'1" junior stands head-and-shoulders above much of the ACC and could show a big leap in production this season.
T-8. Florida State Seminoles
Opening Game: vs. Jacksonville (11/8)
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 10
Outside of big forward Okaro White, there's not a whole lot to love about this Florida State team. But is it really worth counting out coach Leonard Hamilton after such a successful run in recent years? They may not be a conference title contender, however, the 'Noles should do some damage in the middle of the conference and could spend the season hanging around the NCAA Tournament bubble.
10. NC State Wolfpack
Opening Game: vs. Appalachian State (11/8)
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 12
Four out of five starters are gone from last year's Wolfpack team, including standouts C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, who both opted to forgo their senior seasons for the NBA. So instead of a strong nucleus coming back for a tournament run, State ends up being a pretty young and inexperienced group led by T.J. Warren. Like FSU, they could surprise some, but this team appears to have a ceiling of about 20 wins or so.
11. Miami Hurricanes
Opening Game: vs. St. Francis (NY) (11/8)
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 12
From ACC champs to a very realistic shot at last place, the 'Canes have spent the offseason trying to figure out how to replace all five starters from last season. It's the price of success, and without the types of recruiting classes UNC, Duke and SU pull in every year, it will be hard to reload. Jim Larranaga could have a few surprises up his sleeve, but it would take a pretty big miracle for this team to return to the tournament -- never mind repeat their ACC title.
Opening Game: vs. Presbyterian (11/8)
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13
Georgia Tech struggled to score last season, and that won't change this year, especially after the league added three times near the top. Despite returning four starters, expansion could force the Wreck down a few pegs and stunt the growth of this team somewhat. They were never going to be worldbeaters, of course. But of all the teams in this lower third, they may have the most potential to rise up to the middle.
Opening Game: vs. Colgate (11/8)
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 15
Wake Forest basketball has become a train wreck over the past few seasons, and this year is unlikely to help that perception. With a miserable defense and no more C.J. Harris, this Deacons team could find itself involved in some very ugly games throughout the year. Doubt Wake fans will complain though, as it likely means Jeff Bzdelik has been shown the door by season's end.
14. Clemson Tigers
Opening Game: vs. Stetson (11/8)
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 15
Your leading returning rebounder is 6'6". Who is he (K.J. McDaniels) going to get those boards against this year? Clemson is severely undersized this season and lack a real dynamic scorer, all of which explains why they'll spend the year hanging around the ACC's basement.
Opening Game: vs. SC Upstate (11/9)
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 15
So replacing Erick Green (25 ppg) is going to be rough. Can second leading scorer Jarrell Eddie step up and fill the void? This offense should be interesting to watch, if nothing else, as they try to run-and-gun without a truly elite scorer guiding the ship. The Hokies aren't miles away from 12th in the conference, and you can expect a lot of jockeying between these bottom teams throughout the year.
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