Friday, June 14, 2024

ACC expert picks 2023-24: Predictions, projected order of finish, overrated and underrated teams, key players

Duke and Kyle Filipowski may have to fend off Armando Bacot and North Carolina in the race for the ACC championship


The ACC is in a unique position heading into the 2023-24 season. The conference will play one final year with 15 league members before adding Cal and Stanford to the mix for the 2024-25 academic year. 

For the second consecutive season, the ACC sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament and finished No. 7 in the conference rankings behind every other Power-Six school and the Mountain West. The two previous seasons before last, the ACC finished No. 5 in the conference power rankings.

During the last two decades, the ACC has had more overall success in basketball top to bottom as any major conference. Five different league members (Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia and Louisville) have all won national championships in the last 21 years. 

Even though the conference is trending toward a slow decline, there’s reason for optimism that this season will be different. Miami is fresh off a surprise run to the Final Four and returns three starters. Duke heads into the season as a consensus top-5 team under second-year head coach Jon Scheyer and returns four starters from an ACC Tournament championship roster. North Carolina is seeking a huge bounce back season after failing to make the NCAA Tournament after starting as the top team in the preseason polls.

CBS Sports ACC Preseason Player of the Year

Kyle Filipowski | F | Duke

One of the biggest surprises of the offseason was Filipowski turning down NBA money to come back to Durham for another season. Filipowski was the ACC Rookie of the Year and averaged 15.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists as the Blue Devils won nine consecutive games toward the end of the season to capture the ACC Tournament title. Filipowski should be one of the favorites to dethrone Purdue’s Zach Edey for National Player of the Year and another quality season with the Blue Devils could see his draft stock soar come the 2024 NBA Draft.

Four more players to watch in the ACC

Armando Bacot | C | North Carolina: Bacot is back with the Tar Heels for another run after averaging 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds last season. Both of those numbers were a decline from his 2021-22 season that saw him average 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds during UNC’s run to the Final Four.

Blake Hinson | F | Pittsburgh: Hinson is coming off a career-high 15.3 points and 6 rebounds. He helped lead Pitt to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years and it marked the first appearance in Jeff Capel’s stint at the school.

Nijel Pack | G | Miami: The Hurricanes lost their two leading scorers from last season to the NBA Draft and Pack is poised to be given a bigger role after averaging 13.6 points during the regular season and 16.4 points during the NCAA Tournament.

Tyrese Proctor | G | Duke: Proctor, like Filipowski, could’ve easily been a one-and-done candidate. Instead, he returns to Duke coming off a season in which he averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds.

CBS Sports ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year

Elliot Cadeau | G | North Carolina

One of the biggest weaknesses of the 2022-23 North Carolina roster was averaging only 12 assists per game last season, which ranked No. 264 in the nation. With Caleb Love moving on to Arizona, Cadeau is poised to take over as the starting point guard. He is one of the true floor generals from the 2023 recruiting cycle and is a plug-and-play starter for coach Hubert Davis. North Carolina hasn’t had a passing point guard of Cadeau’s talent in quite some time and he finished as the No. 12 overall prospect after reclassifying from the 2024 class.

CBS Sports ACC predicted order of finish

Most overrated team

Virginia: The Cavaliers have one of the best coaches in the sport, but it’s hard to see them live up to their preseason billing because of the lack-of experience coming back. This is arguably Bennett’s least experienced roster he’s had since he’s taken over the program and replacing four starters is no easy task. The ACC could be wide open this year, so it’s tracking that this could be a boom or bust season for Virginia.

Most underrated team

Syracuse: In North Carolina’s first season post-Roy Williams, the Tar Heels made the Final Four. In Duke’s first season without Coach K, the Blue Devils won the ACC Tournament championship. I’m not saying either of those things will happen this season, but sometimes a new head coach can bring new life to a program.  After all, it’s likely that Syracuse goes away from Boeheim’s signature zone defense that’s been a staple in college basketball for years. Syracuse being tabbed to finish No. 11 seems low, but they have only finished in the top-5 of the standings once since joining the ACC from the Big East in 2013.

CBS Sports ACC expert picks

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