2020-21 College Basketball Preview: ACC

For college hoops fans, it’s been the longest offseason in history with no NCAA Tournament back in March and even as we moved through the summer, we still never was for sure if we’d even see college basketball in the fall.

Yet, here we are.

The 2020-21 NCAA College Basketball season is officially underway and yes, there will be many schedule changes and postponements like we’ve seen in college football, it’s still nice to just get to this point.

This season will be like any other, but many of the names at the top will stay the same as we dive in and preview the 2020-21 college hoops season starting with the ACC.

Conference Preview
Valedictorians: Virginia, Duke
Top of the Class: North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse, Georgia Tech
Needs Tutoring: Miami, NC State, Clemson, Virginia Tech
Failing: Boston College, Notre Dame, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest

Players to Watch
* Sam Hauser, Virginia
(6-8 SR Forward): Transfer who could be the x-factor for Virginia to contend for a title.
* Garrison Brooks, North Carolina (6-9 SR Forward): Will lead Carolina back to a tradition of contending for the ACC crown.
* Jalen Johnson, Duke (6-8 FR Forward): Star freshman that will be the next in line to win at Duke then head to the NBA.
* Scottie Barnes, Florida State (6-9 FR Forward): Florida State lost a bunch of talent to the Draft, but Barnes will still lead the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament.
* Chris Lykes, Miami (5-7 SR Guard): The most underrated guard in the country, Lykes is dynamic and impressive. Lykes’ will likely be a contender for ACC Player of the Year if Miami can stay competitive.

Final Take
The ACC lost more talent than anyone to the NBA and graduation, but as usual, has reloaded led by the traditional powerhouses. Virginia and Duke both look like title contenders this season, but it’ll be Virginia that stands out as the favorite led by a trio of stars with Kihei Clark, Jay Hugg, and Sam Hauser.

Duke will be led by freshman again this season, so they’ll need to mesh quickly to contend in 2020. North Carolina should be much improved this season as Garrison Brooks returns plus another star-studded recruiting class makes their way to Chapel Hill.

Florida State will also be contender and keep an eye on Georgia Tech this season as Josh Pastner has one of the best backcourts in the league this season. Louisville, Syracuse, and maybe even Miami will also have a chance to advance to some March Madness come 2021.

The bottom half of the ACC will still have question marks entering the new season. NC State returns a few players, but lost do-everything star Markell Johnson and will struggled to even get back to .500 play this season in the ACC.

Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Notre Dame weren’t able to land any key recruits to change their basketball culture this season, but of the four, Aamir Sims may be able to guide Clemson to pulling a few upsets this season.

Pittsburgh enters year two under Jeff Capel, but is still a couple years away from truly contending in the ACC as they are very young and inexperienced which will cause them to struggle in league play.

Wake Forest has a new coach in former ETSU head man Steve Forbes, but it’ll be a while before their back in the upper-half of the standings.

Overall, many new faces, but it’ll be the normal suspects at the top of the ACC with three teams a chance to bring home another National Championship to the ACC. Each team enters the season with some questions, but Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina all have the pieces to make a deep run come March and April.