ACC Media Day is tomorrow, providing fans and press with one of just two chances to really chat with the entire conference at once (the other being the ACC Tournament) all season. As announced this morning, seniors Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson will be in attendance for the Syracuse Orange. Jim Boeheim will also be there, as one would expect.
While SU is the most important of the league’s 15 teams in our minds, there are obviously other narratives and important things to discuss for the ACC, too.
Below are five big questions for ACC Media Day. Feel free to ponder these leading up to tomorrow’s event in Charlotte, N.C., and hopefully we get some answers as the season begins.
1. Can the conference expand upon last year’s success?
Syracuse and North Carolina both made the Final Four this past season, and four ACC teams made the Elite 8. Unfortunately those teams all proceeded to knock each other out along the way. But still, despite failing to win the ultimate prize, the ACC still proved itself to be the country’s preeminent basketball conference. Duke also won just the year before, if you forgot...
So how, other than just winning it all this year, can the league expand upon what they pulled off last year? A lot will focus on how the non-traditional “powers” assert themselves. Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse are your odds-on favorites to win the conference most years, and ultimately carry the flag through the tournament. This year’s preseason rankings see additional hype for teams like Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech, however.
If at least one of those teams can break through and be a consistent top-25 team all year, it should continue to build the ACC’s reputation as not just a collection of the country’s upper crust, but a very deep and talented conference from top to bottom.
2. Do punishments await North Carolina and Louisville?
The Heels’ and Cardinals’ current NCAA issues will certainly come up, even if coaches Roy Williams and Rick Pitino respectively refuse to discuss them much. The NCAA’s inconsistent penalties and potential punishments with regard to UNC and Louisville, versus Syracuse’s own issues, is likely to come up. The Cards took a self-imposed postseason ban last year with hopes for leniency. Pitino could still get hit with a suspension and show-cause, mind you. TBD on North Carolina, which increasingly looks like they’re going to skate despite widespread academic corruption.
3. Who’s going to start complaining about transfers?
The transfer market (and especially wit regard to grad transfers) has grown exponentially in recent years, and that’s true in the ACC this season too. Syracuse alone has three active transfers on the roster in John Gillon (Colorado State), Andrew White III (Nebraska) and Paschaul Chuwkwu (Providence) — and that’s coming off Duke transfer Michael Gbinije helping lead them to the Final Four in April.
Virginia adds Memphis transfer Austin Nichols this year, and he could very well be an all-conference player in year one (and only). Six different ACC schools added at least one grad transfer for 2016-17, and Boston College added three. Expect one or more of the conference’s coaches to bring it up on a list of gripes.
4. ACC Network Extra impact on fans?
As we’ve noted during the ACC football season, while ACC Network Extra has been great in creating extra exposure for soccer, field hockey and other non-revenue sports, it can have some negative consequences too, in its current form. Games that may have once been shopped out to RSNs are ending up online-only, which is frustrating for fans looking to watch a quality broadcast in as close to real-time as possible.
Basketball season will create an even larger inventory of game for RSNs, as well as WatchESPN, which could see even more games headed the ACC Network Extra route. That may not have a huge effect on schools like Syracuse, which appear on television a ton this season. But for those like Georgia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest and others in the ACC’s lower tier, it could mean a whole lot of ACC Network Extra streaming. We’ll see if it’s brought up with coaches or ACC commissioner John Swofford.
5. HB2’s impact on the ACC going forward?
Without getting into another political discussion in the comments, HB2’s had an enormous impact on the ACC this academic year already, and if it stays in place, those effects will continue. While the conference moved the football championship game to Orlando, and several other postseason events around the league’s footprint, what of the conference’s headquarters? Of course it’s unrealistic for the ACC to just up and move its long-time home in Greensboro, N.C. TODAY, but if HB2 remains in place, is it happening down the line?
Oh, and this event’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, so if it was important enough to move the championships, why not this event too? And why not the campus-site championships?
The bill could vanish soon, and restore the league’s long-time policy of using the state of North Carolina for virtually everything. But if not, there needs to be a new plan. What might that be, and will Swofford address it at all?
Plenty of other queries to pose around tomorrow’s event, but this should at least get us started. What else do you want to know at ACC Media Day?