In the immortal words of Deion "Primetime" Sanders, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” So let's take a look at that first one.
Last September, we looked at the coolest football uniforms in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Today, we’re going to rank the best men’s basketball uniforms in the conference.
With basketball, there’s less flexibility with uniforms than in football, where you can mix helmets, jerseys and pants into any combination. Basketball uniforms are all going to be the same color, so teams are only going to have home and away options, with maybe an alternate.
Without the ability to be creative with the uniform combinations, basketball more than makes up for it with the shoes the players wear on the court. Therefore sneakers and brands play a big part into these obviously unbiased, complete and final rankings.
Shocker right? Even not including the sneakers North Carolina would be on top of this list. Carolina blue is the best uniform color in the country, bar none. Combined with the sleek argyle on the sides and the lettering on top of and below the jersey number, it’s the best uniform in basketball. Combine that with the exclusive Jordans that the players get to wear and UNC is the clear-cut number one.
I wasn't kidding when I said this is an unbiased list. If this was 2007 and Greg Paulus was still parading up and down Cameron then Duke would be more middle of the pack instead of getting silver. When they re-did their jerseys a few years ago for a simpler, cleaner look it really made a difference. On the sneaker front they get to rock custom Kyries, PGs, and KDs. There aren’t a lot of schools that get to wear a player's custom shoe who didn’t attend the school, like with Kevin Durant and Paul George here.
Notre Dame makes their first appearance in the uniform power rankings as they were (correctly) excluded from the football list. The Irish close out the podium because of the simplicity. Most schools from this point on do something weird with the side striping or shoulder design. While this committee of one doesn’t love the design on their shorts, the blue and gold trim on the waistline and neckline get the Irish into the top 3.
We’re really getting into the middle of the pack here. Like most of the remaining schools, the single person committee thinks the side paneling is a bit to wide. Like North Carolina, in most of the Seminole’s jerseys, the lettering sandwiches the numbers (They have gold alternates that just say Seminoles as opposed to Florida State). The color scheme is what nudges FSU past the rest of the conference. One final nit-picking complaint is that they use like four or five colors; if they would just reduce it down to two or three per uniform it’d be a cleaner look.
The best thing going for the Tigers is they only utilize two colors, because in my opinion, less is often more when it comes to unis. The orange trim around the neck adds a bit of pop, and the shoulders would look cleaner if they followed suit and went all the way around instead of doing an awkward stop half way through. The tiger paw at the bottom of the shorts is perfectly sized and fits in nicely. The striping isn’t fantastic, but if they utilized a design that fit in just a bit better than they would possibly jump into the top three.
6. Pitt Panthers
Props to Pitt for fully embracing their throwback color scheme for the last few years. Similar to Brigham Young University out west, it seems like Pitt finally realized that literally everyone likes the old color scheme better. The spacing is a bit awkward on the front of the jersey because Pitt is only four letters, so the font seems a bit stretched out to cover enough jersey space (maybe use the full city name?). They wear the throwbacks enough where they count as part of the jersey rotation. In reality, they should just be the full time jerseys that Pitt uses, and if they were, they'd probably be higher.
Wake joins North Carolina and Duke as the third team in the top half of these rankings that hails from the Old North State (I wonder who didn’t make the cut...) Wake has a lot going for it in their uniforms: most importantly, the color scheme and the numbers in between the wording. The only thing really keeping Wake out of the top five is that they use too many colors. Once a jersey gets over three colors there’s too much going on. If the Deacons stuck with their classic black, gold and white it’d make a big difference.
A poor man’s Clemson if you will. Even getting past than the fact that both schools' themes are overwhelmingly orange, their jerseys really resemble each other. Syracuse’s font is a tad overwhelming, but I like that they just went with “Orange” instead of Syracuse. My only major critique is that on the shorts, the “S” logo is on top of the stripe pattern, whereas with Clemson the paw is on the bottom. It just seems like a logo doesn’t belong at the hip where Syracuse put it. But overall it’s a clean look for the orange, especially their home whites.
Boston College does a lot with a little. For the record, this committee doesn’t believe that Under Armor does a great job with basketball, so BC is starting behind the 8 ball. What the Eagles do well is incorporate a lot of their traditional uniform designs while trying to go modern. Not pictured (because picture wasn’t available) are their throwbacks, which just has the word “Eagles” written in cursive. Picture Chicago Bulls jerseys for Michael Jordan’s rookie year. While the jersey layout is different, it's the same idea and Boston College pulls it off. Like Pitt, if their throwback were their main jersey they’d be higher on the list.
On paper, the Hokies have everything you’re looking for in a uniform. The highlight has to be the mismatching font color for the lettering and the numbers. Just like their football team, Virginia Tech went to a new font style recently that looks really sleek and fits the university. The side striping seems more fitting for a football helmet than basketball shorts though, which is what drops the Hokies down to ten. Also, this is not factored into these rankings, but should be noted: their arena should get some LED lights or something because it’s crazy dark.
We’ve finally made it out of the middle of the pack and to the back to the drawing board section. The Yellow Jackets are so close, but why in the world did they make the font sizes so big? I’ll admit that Tech knows their alumni demographic better than myself. Maybe they have difficulty reading smaller letters down in Atlanta, who am I to judge? Whatever the reasoning behind the font size may be though, I would love to have been in the design room where the Adidas rep presented a jersey with normal-sized letters and the Tech representative said, “that’s not gonna cut it here, we’re gonna need to about triple the size of those bad boys.”
The only thing worse than lettering that’s too big is striping that’s too big. The only thing worse than side striping that’s too big is shoulder striping that’s too big (in reality, this committee really isn’t here for shoulder striping in any way, shape, or form.) There is just so much going on with these uniforms, and the random striping on top doesn’t accomplish anything, it’s just sort of there. Even without that, though, the logo is at the top of the shorts instead of at the bottom (see Clemson, Syracuse.) There’s just no purpose or intent behind these uniforms. Do better.
We’re now leaving the drawing board and moving all to the "these should be burned" section to close out the power rankings. We start with the Cardinals where we left off with Virginia: what are they doing with the shorts? The committee hasn’t even seen anything like that before. Kudos for trying, I guess, but whatever they were going for didn’t work at all. The most disappointing part is that the Cardinals normally have such great uniforms. We’ve come to expect more out of them, and this is... Just bad.
14. NC State Wolfpack
Four out of the bottom five schools on this list are sponsored by Adidas, the brand known for taking risks with their uniforms. Some Adidas jerseys look really clean, just none of the basketball ones in the ACC. The biggest issue with State’s uniforms is that the trim along the bottom of the shorts is interrupted for the word “Pack.” If the Wolfpack either kept the trim all the way around and put the word “Pack” above the trim, or simply left the wording out, it would look a lot better. It just gives the feel that they added the wording just for kicks, but it doesn’t serve any purpose. This committee is all about adding flair to uniforms, but not just for the heck of it. Again, there's no intent behind these.
15. Miami Hurricanes
Just like in football, State and Miami round out the last two spots in the rankings. The Hurricanes are kind of all over the place with their uniforms, trying to include both classic and modern themes. That in and of itself is not only good, but actively encouraged. It’s the execution where Miami comes up wellshort. For disclosure’s sake, a picture of Miami’s uniforms for this season weren’t available: what’s pictured is from last season. Trust me though, the committee is doing you a favor by not having a picture here. Don't look it up.