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Bold Prognostication

I have a tendency to criticize preseason predictions that fall back on historical performances rather than look at the upcoming season, so it's only fair to point out the more daring previews out there. And the N&O fits that bill with their ridiculously early summer basketball preview. They've released top half of their predictions, and they line up like this:

  1. North Carolina
  2. Clemson
  3. N.C. State
  4. Duke
  5. Maryland
  6. Georgia Tech
North Carolina is obviously going to be the consensus pick for ACC champ - I said this was daring, not batshit insane - but there are some surprises further down. It's probably the lowest I've ever seen Duke favored in the last decade. I'm not quite ready to give Clemson the second spot just yet, but the back-to-back seventeen win starts are beginning to sink in with people. N.C. State is horribly overrated on this list for a team that won't have Engin Atsur, and I think this list underestimates both Maryland and Boston College, but it's a refershing perspective on the league next year.

By the way, I agree with Section Six that Duke doesn't "need the 3-pointer." It just looks that way, since the Bluie Devils slowed their tempo down to a crawl last year. So they took (and made) roughly the same percentage of threes as previous years, but had fewer possessions, which at first glance manifests itself as a significantly less aboslute number of shots drained from behind the arc. If Duke doesn't get the depth and perimeter game that served them well the last couple of years, it looks to be along season in Durham.