ACCBR Preseason 2020-21 Predictions

The season may be in question but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t Make predictions

The transfers have received their waivers, the “test the water” crowd has returned to school, and the universities have shown their desire to press on. The only thing left to do is make predictions that will embarrass us in eight months!

Here they are folks, ACC Basketball Report’s predictions for the 2020-21 ACC basketball season.

First of all, let’s take a look at my predicted final standings:

1Virginia
2North Carolina
3Duke
4Georgia Tech
5Florida State
6Miami (FL)
7Louisville
8Syracuse
9North Carolina State
10Clemson
11Virginia Tech
12Boston College
13Pittsburgh
14Notre Dame
15Wake Forest

Just a few quick notes on why I have teams where. I think Georgia Tech has the best mix of talent and experience when it comes to its back court in the entire league. That, combined with the inexperience of FSU’s back court is why I give the Jackets the edge.

Miami (FL) was the hardest team for me to place. This roster is supremely talented on the wing but the trend has gone the wrong way since Lonnie Walker IV bolted. I have to think that a senior Chris Lykes is going to lead this team and the ‘Canes get back to the dance.

Yes, I believe in David Johnson. The problem has been that in recent seasons when Jordan Nwora struggled, Louisville struggled. Well, Nwora isn’t even in town anymore and their best player played in the Big South last season. I need to watch the Cardinals play before I put too much faith in them.

I have Clemson at #10 in the preseason but of all of the bottom half teams I think they could be the best. I think the departure of Tevin Mack could ultimately be a positive due to it clearing the path for Johnny Newman III to become a star. Newman, Al-Amir Dawes and Aamir Simms are a legit ACC trio. Throw in talented freshman PJ Hall, the development of Chase Hunter, and the shooting of Alex Hemenway and Hunter Tyson and this Tigers group could suprise some people. This team could finish as high as 6th in my opinion.

I love some of the individuals in the bottom five but i question the Hokies frontcourt, the Eagles health, and Notre Dame’s depth. Wake Forest is in full rebuild but Steve Forbes will make them competitive.

Moving on to individual awards and All-Conference teams, I can tell you this was difficult. I could have easily have made four or five teams and some of the omissions were very hard to justify. I’ll let you judge for yourself.

First TeamPlayerTeam
GuardJose AlvaradoGeorgia Tech
ForwardScottie BarnesFlorida State
ForwardJalen JohnsonDuke
ForwardGarrison BrooksNorth Carolina
CenterJay HuffVirginia
Second Team
GuardCaleb LoveNorth Carolina
GuardMike DevoeGeorgia Tech
GuardKihei ClarkVirginia
ForwardJustin ChampagniePittsburgh
ForwardSteffon MitchellBoston College
Third Team
GuardPrentiss HubbNotre Dame
GuardChris LykesMiami (FL)
WingDevon DanielsNorth Carolina State
WingSam HauserVirginia
ForwardDJ FunderburkNorth Carolina State
Defensive Team
GuardKihei ClarkVirginia
ForwardSteffon MitchellBoston College
CenterJuwan DurhamNotre Dame
CenterJay HuffVirginia
CenterManny BatesNorth Carolina State
Freshman Team
GuardCaleb LoveNorth Carolina
GuardDJ StewardDuke
WingJabri Abdur-RahimVirginia
ForwardJalen JohnsonDuke
ForwardScottie BarnesFlorida State
PlayerGarrison BrooksNorth Carolina
CoachTony BennettVirginia
DefensiveManny BatesNorth Carolina State
FreshmanScottie BarnesFlorida State
6th ManHarlond BeverlyMiami (FL)
MIPDavid JohnsonLouisville

The first thing that jumps out (or should) is WHERE IS AAMIR SIMMS!? Well, that is what I was talking about above. My “process” in creating these teams is you go with your first instinct and then you review the list of players and determine who you would remove in order to put that player on a list. Sam Hauser for Simms? Unlikely given where their teams are most likely to finish. DJ Funderburk? Not for me. That was evident by my preseason returning player rankings where I had DJ a spot ahead of Aamir.

The other obvious omission is Buddy Boeheim. Remember in the returning players rankings I said he was a one trick pony? Well, that one dimensional type of play led me to ultimately leaving him off of a team. Jay Heath is also going to be very good but his team is most likely not going to be great so I had to put Prentiss Hubb in there ahead of him because Hubb is going to put up foolish scoring numbers in my opinion.

The defensive team was a little more difficult, mostly because it is difficult to evaluate/predict how freshman are going to adapt to the college game. Sometimes they play defense, sometimes they don’t. I could see Caleb Love being a defensive dynamo for instance. Whether or not he is that remains to be seen. Typically, I lean towards “freshmen don’t play defense.”

As far as the individual awards go, Garrison Brooks feels like the Player of the Year by just a hair over Jay Huff. The latter has all the potential in the world but Brooks really showed me something at the end of last season.

Manny Bates is my Defensive Player of the Year simply because if he plays 24-27 minutes per game he is going to be the first guy in the ACC since Sean Williams in 2006-07 to block 4.0 shots per game. Sean blocked 5.0 shots per game if you had forgotten how effing awesome that kid was.

Scottie Barnes as my Freshman of the Year was pretty simple. He is going to play a ton of minutes and have the ball in his hands a majority of the time. He is super athletic and will give the Seminoles opportunities to change courts quickly and get easy buckets. That pick is my lead pipe lock.

Harlond Beverly may the be the biggest stretch of the bunch. The biggest reason is that he might start. The future is bright with Beverly and fellow sophomore Isaiah Wong. Whichever one doesn’t start is going to be the Sixth Man of the Year.

Bennett and Johnson are obvious choices for Coach and Most Improved Player.

I hope you guys enjoyed it and disagreed with it vehemently. Feel free to let me know on the twitterverse. Don’t forget to check out the ACC Basketball Report podcast, the best podcast dedicated to the best basketball conference in the country. Latah!

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