We all have moments of foolishness, bias, and even ridiculousness based on love for a player, program, conference or region. “Fanatical” or “Extremist” isn’t a moniker solely possessed by those with views on politics or even religion. It can be anything, and if you own a twitter account, you know it exists at a high level in the dimension that is “College Basketball Twitter”, especially in early October.
Today, I am going to see if I can stir the pot and, if I am lucky, maybe even make some sense. Here are some bold, and some not so bold, predictions for the 2019-20 ACC players, teams and coaches. Enjoy.
NOT SO BOLD
1-Elijah Hughes will lead the ACC in minutes played. This is the easiest prediction on the page. Since 2009, there have been seven player seasons of 1,400 or more minutes played. Syracuse players own four of them. In 2017-18, the Orange had the top three players in minutes played, and the top two players in 2015-16. Show me a line and I’ll bet on it.
2-James Banks III will lead the ACC in blocked shots. This may be the least bold prediction on the list, considering he led the league in blocks last season.
3-North Carolina will fall out of the top 50 nationally in three pointers attempted. Prior to Luke Maye’s turn as the Tar Heel’s premiere big man, the Heels had ranked in the top 50 in triples attempted only twice during the Roy Williams era, 2004-05 and 2012-13.
4-Jordan Nwora will be named ACC Player of the Year. This seems pretty self explanatory.
5-Cole Anthony will be the first UNC player to be named ACC Freshman of the Year since Harrison Barnes in 2011. Pretty self explanatory, pretty safe bet. It could be and probably should be unanimous.
6-Devin Vassell will average double figures for Florida State. I am fully aboard the Devin Vassell train, and I may even volunteer to drive if someone gets tired.
7-Pittsburgh will start the season 13-1. The only loss will be at Louisville. Florida State lost at Pitt last season, and with the ‘Noles visiting PEC on opening night, I expect the same to occur this season. I’ll take the Panthers in the Backyard Brawl at home as well. Eleven of Jeff Capel’s first 14 games are played inside the state of Pennsylvania.
***The original 14-1 prediction included the Slippery Rock Exhibition game by accident. Apologies.-ACCBR1***
8-Trent Forrest will be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Typically, this goes to a front court player. I think Forrest will be the first guard to take it home since Malcolm Brogdon in 2015-16.
9-Notre Dame will make their first NCAA Tournament in three seasons. You all knew this was coming.
10-Chris Mack will be named the ACC Coach of the Year. The award typically goes to coaches not named Williams or K and Mack is set up to potentially win the regular season title.
11-The only ACC team that Wake Forest will defeat is Boston College…twice. It would have been fun to watch Brandon Childress and Wynston Tabbs go back and forth, which was the only reason to tune in for these matchups.
12-Syracuse will not make the tournament for the second time in four seasons. As usual, they have some real cupcakes on the schedule, but they also play some teams that could provide some quality wins outside of the ACC. Georgetown, Penn State, and Oklahoma State are all potential tournament teams, but can Syracuse defeat them outside of the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome?
13-Notre Dame will finish ahead of Virginia in the final ACC standings. Another one that you knew was coming. Everyone is forgetting how good of a coach Mike Brey is while also conveniently forgetting injuries to key players in the last two seasons.
14-Tomas Woldetensae will lead the ACC in three point field goal percentage. Think Kyle Guy, but left handed, and black, with the flowing locks of Coby White. The NJCAA All-American shot 100-210 from deep last season, and after watching every stitch of video I could find, a lot of them weren’t gimmes. He can flat out shoot the ball and the best returning shooter from deep in the league is Michael Devoe at 39%.
15-Landers Nolley will average 13 points or more for Virginia Tech. I am neck deep in water at this point, but the old cliche’ “Someone has to score points” fits well here. Coach Mike Young tailored an offense around Fletcher Magee at Wofford, and Nolley is the most offensively gifted player on this roster right now. I expect him to put up many, many shots.
16-John Mooney will clear 400 total rebounds. Since 1992-93, it has only been done three times in the ACC, twice by Tim Duncan and once by Brice Johnson. Mooney snatched 370 rips last season.
17-Xavier Johnson will be an ACC First Team Selection. The kid is the next coming of Ky Bowman. He is going to put up monster numbers this year. If Pitt can finish in the top 10, he will deserve it.
18-Tre Jones will hit the 85 steals plateau. It’s only been done 5x in the 2000’s. Jamon Gordon, Toney Douglas, Juan Dixon(twice) and Iman Shumpert most recently. Since 1985-86, Shane Battier and Wojo have the most in a season for a Duke player at 82.
19-Cole Anthony will become only the third freshman since 1992-93 to average 18-5-5. The only other freshmen to do so in that time frame are DeAngelo Russell at Ohio State, and Markelle Fultz at Washington.
20-Boston College goes winless in the ACC for the second time in five seasons. I love Nik Popovic, but you have to have guard play in the ACC and the loss of Wynston Tabbs makes an already bottom tier team easily the worst in the league.
21-Josh Pastner will be back at Georgia Tech for year five. Regardless of what happens with Georgia Tech’s appeal, or the season in general, Pastner the Positive will be back on The Flats in 2020-21.
22-Markell Johnson will post a triple-double. I don’t know when. I don’t know against who. But it is going to happen.
23-Chris Lykes will average 19 points per game. No Miami (Fl) player has done so since Jack McClinton in 2008-09, but this kid is going to put massive amounts of points on the board this season.
24-Andrien White and Brandon Childress combine for 150 triples. Wake Forest is going to be really bad this season and this back court is going to be launching three pointers all season long.
25-Louisville is going to win the National Championship. There, I said it.