2022-23 ACC expert picks: Bold predictions, most overrated and underrated teams, top players

College football is the focus of every Power Five conference. This is obvious. But if there’s one league that has tilted more than most over the years toward basketball, it’s probably the ACC, a conference with several blue-blood programs and FIVE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS that have won national championships in the last 20 years.

Basketball issues in the ACC.

That’s why it’s alarming (and notable) that basketball has declined somewhat in recent years — evidenced by being ranked only the fifth-best conference, according to KenPom.com, in each of the last two seasons. For context, understand that the ACC didn’t finish lower than fourth among conferences in any of the seven seasons preceding the previous two. So things are (slightly) trending in the wrong direction — although, it should be noted, the ACC had two Final Four teams last season — in part because traditionally strong programs like Syracuse, Louisville and Virginia have reduced compared to where they usually live.

Will this season be better?

Yes I think so.

And, for what it’s worth, so does CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm, who currently projects the ACC to place seven teams in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. That would be an improvement over the five bids that won the championship last season and represents a move back in the right direction.

CBS Sports ACC Preseason Player of the Year

Armando Bacot C| North Carolina

Bacot averaged 16.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in his career while leading the Tar Heels to the 2022 NCAA Tournament title game. The perception that he is not the ideal prospect for the NBA combined with the fact that All-Americans at UNC can actually make good money through name, image and likeness opportunities served as the magnet that lured Bacot back to the college for a fourth season. His presence will allow the Tar Heels to dominate opponents and possibly return to the Final Four in Herbert Davis’ second season since replacing Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.

Four more players to watch

Derek Lively II | C| Duke: Lively is the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports. He’s a 7-foot-1 rim protector who projects as a lottery pick.

Caleb Love | G| North Carolina: Love is the second-leading scorer for a North Carolina team that advanced to the 2022 NCAA Tournament title game. He averaged 15.9 points and 3.6 assists last season.

Terquavion Smith | G| NC State: Smith averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds last season as a freshman despite enrolling at NC State as just a borderline top-100 prospect in the Class of 2021. If things go well this season, he will could be a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA draft.

Isaiah Wong | G| Miami: Wong is the leading returning scorer for a Miami team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 15.3 points and 4.3 rebounds last season.

CBS Sports ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year

Derek Lively | C| Duke

The ACC’s three highest-ranked incoming freshmen are enrolled at Duke — namely Lively, Dariq Whitehead and Kyle Filipowski. They’re all top five national prospects, so the only logical move here is to go with a Blue Devil. And in the spirit of keeping it simple, I’m going with Lively, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2022. He’s more of a traditional center than a modern center, which will likely affect where Lively is selected in the 2023 Draft NBA. But formidable traditional centers still hold great value in college basketball. So I suspect Lively will make an impact right off the jump as a dunk-everthing/block-everything big who overwhelms less talented post players much more often.

The ACC predicted the order of finish

The most overrated team in the ACC

State of Florida

I like FSU and think the Seminoles will make the NCAA Tournament — but the Seminoles were voted as high as fourth in some polls here and that seems a little high for a team that finished 17-14 last season and 105th in KenPom.com .

Most underrated team in the ACC

Boston College

I’m not necessarily worried or excited about Boston College — but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Eagles at least slightly exceeded preseason expectations. There’s something to be said for chemistry and camaraderie, and Boston College returns four starters.

ACC specialist options

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *