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ACCSports Early 2014-15 Hoops Power Ranking

Friday, May 2, 2014 11:05am
By: ACCSports.com Staff

With the NBA early-entry deadline in the rearview mirror, the picture of the ACC in 2014-15 comes into sharper focus. There might be an unexpected transfer here or a late recruit added there, but we more or less know what each team is going to have next season by this point.

With that, we roll out our version of the early ACC power rankings. The poll is an aggregate ranking from the individual lists of each of our four writers. Here's a look at how we all voted:

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1. DUKE

2013-14 Record: 26-9

Projected Starters:

  • G - Tyus Jones
  • G - Rahseed Sulaimon
  • F - Justise Winslow
  • F - Amile Jefferson
  • C - Jahlil Okafor

Key losses: Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston, Andre Dawkins

Analysis: After the key contributors to an underachieving Blue Devils team depart forthe NBA, one of the best recruiting classes in the nation takes center stage. Coach K is banking on the Tyus Jones/Jahlil Okafor tandem meshing better than the individual games of Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood. If Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook can become more consistent as upper classmen, the Blue Devils could return to the Duke defense of old. --Shawn Krest

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2. VIRGINIA

2013-14 Record: 30-7

Projected Starters:

  • G - London Perrantes
  • G - Malcolm Brogdon
  • G - Justin Anderson
  • F - Anthony Gill
  • C - Mike Tobey

Key Losses: Joe Harris, Akil Mitchell

Analysis: After seeing the Cavaliers win 30 games on their way to ACC regular-season and tournament titles, it’s scary to think that Virginia could be even better next year. They could definitely improve offensively with Anthony Gill and last season’s ACC Sixth Man of the Year Justin Anderson taking on bigger roles. Don’t expect the Cavs to fall out of the top third of the ACC anytime soon. --Mark Carroll

3. NORTH CAROLINA

2013-14 Record: 24-10

Projected Starters:

  • G - Joel Berry
  • G - Marcus Paige
  • F - J.P. Tokoto
  • F - Brice Johnson
  • C - Kennedy Meeks

Key Losses: James Michael McAdoo, Leslie McDonald

Analysis: If not for the unexpected loss of James Michael McAdoo, the top spot in this power ranking possibly could have belonged to North Carolina. Even without McAdoo, though, the Tar Heels are still one of the best teams in the conference. Marcus Paige will contend for ACC Player of the Year, and with a strong supporting cast, he gives the Heels a shot at bringing the conference title back to Chapel Hill. --Mark Carroll

4. LOUISVILLE

2013-14 Record: 31-6

Projected Starters:

  • G - Chris Jones
  • G - Terry Rozier
  • G - Wayne Blackshear
  • F - Montrezl Harrell
  • F - Mangok Mathiang

Key Losses: Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Stephan Van Treese, Tim Henderson, Kevin Ware, Chane Behanan

Analysis: Normally when a team loses players the quality of Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Stephan Van Treese and Chane Behanan in one year, you’d predict a precipitous drop-off in results. With the 2014-15 Cardinals, it’s not that simple. In Rick Pitino’s inaugural season in the ACC, Louisville reloads its roster with one of the top recruiting classes in America, fronted by swingman Shaqqan Aaron and point guard Quentin Snider. If Pitino can get the new additions to mesh with returns like Montrezl Harrell, Wayne Blackshear and Terry Rozier, the Cards can hang near the top of the league throughout the year. --Mark Owens

5. SYRACUSE

2013-14 Record: 28-6

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Projected Starters:

  • G - Kaleb Joseph
  • G - Trevor Cooney
  • F - B.J. Johnson
  • F - Chris McCullough
  • C - Rakeem Christmas

Key Losses: Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant, C.J. Fair, Baye Mousa Keita

Analysis: The Orange lost 59 percent of their minutes played and 62.3 percent of their scoring from last year’s team. They’ll only have 10 scholarship players on the roster, and center DaJuan Coleman most likely won’t be healthy at the beginning of the season. Unless freshman Kaleb Joseph surprises like Tyler Ennis did, Syracuse could find itself in a rebuilding season, at least by its standards. --Chris Moore

6. FLORIDA STATE

2013-14 Record: 22-14

Projected Starters:

  • G - Devon Bookert
  • G - Aaron Thomas
  • F - Montay Brandon
  • F - Jarquez Smith
  • C - Boris Bojanovsky

Key Losses: Okaro White, Ian Miller

Analysis: Scoring guard Aaron Thomas could find himself on the preseason All-ACC team after a dominant end to Florida State’s 2013-14 season. Xavier Rathan-Mayes should be eligible to play next year, giving the Seminoles’ backcourt even more firepower. Factor in the frontcourt duo of Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo, along with a handful of promising wings, and the Seminoles will be a dangerous team next season. --Chris Moore

7. PITT

2013-14 Record: 26-10

Projected Starters:

  • G - James Robinson
  • G - Cameron Wright
  • F - Durand Johnson
  • F - Michael Young
  • F - Jamel Artis

Key Losses: Lamar Patterson, Talib Zanna

Analysis: The Panthers struggled for much of the conference season this year to get that “signature” win, and they struggled even more when Lamar Patterson was either out or hampered by injury. When a team leans so heavily on one player, that’s apt to happen. Still, with a relatively strong nucleus (Cameron Wright, Durand Johnson, Michael Young, Jamel Artis, Chris Jones, James Robinson, Josh Newkirk, Derrick Randall) returning and augmented by 4-star guard Damon Wilson, the future’s not exactly dark, either. --Mark Owens

8. MIAMI

2013-14 Record: 17-16

Projected Starters:

  • G - Angel Rodriguez
  • G - Manu Lecomte
  • G - Sheldon McClellan
  • G - Davon Reed
  • C - Tonye Jekiri

Key losses: Rion Brown, Donnavan Kirk, Garrius Adams, James Kelly, Erik Swoope

Analysis: The Hurricanes may have had the most talented “guys in suits on the bench” in the ACC last season. They’ll all be in uniform this year, including point guard Angel Rodriguez, who was third in the Big 12 in assists and fifth in steals two years ago before transferring from Kansas State, Sheldon McClellan, who was ninth in the Big 12 in scoring at Texas, and injured freshmen guard Deandre Burnett. --Shawn Krest

9. N.C. STATE

2013-14 Record: 22-14

Projected Starters:

  • G - Anthony “Cat” Barber
  • G - Ralston Turner
  • G - Trevor Lacey
  • G - Desmond Lee
  • F - Kyle Washington

Key losses: T.J. Warren, Tyler Lewis, Jordan Vandenberg

Analysis: It will be the Cat Barber show in Raleigh after co-point guard Tyler Lewis transferred out. The Wolfpack will need to replace the scoring of T.J. Warren, which will force last year’s talented freshman class to grow up quickly. State will be joined by the Martin twins in the backcourt next season. --Shawn Krest

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10. NOTRE DAME

2013-14 Record: 15-17

Projected Starters:

  • G - Demetrius Jackson
  • G - Jerian Grant
  • F - Pat Connaughton
  • F - V.J. Beachem
  • F - Zach Auguste

Key losses: Eric Atkins, Garrick Sherman, Tom Knight

Analysis: The Irish expect to have Jerian Grant back, and Pat Connaughton has developed into one of the team’s best scoring threats. Still, Notre Dame loses its starting point guard and two big men from a team that had a rough first season in the ACC. It could be another long wait until spring football practice in South Bend. --Shawn Krest

11. CLEMSON

2013-14 Record: 23-13

Projected Starters:

  • G - Rod Hall
  • G - Damarcus Harrison
  • F - Donte Grantham
  • F - Jaron Blossomgame
  • C - Landry Nnoko

Key Losses: K.J. McDaniels

Analysis: With K.J. McDaniels declaring for the pros, Clemson doesn’t return a single player who averaged double figures in scoring last season. The good news, however, is that the Tigers bring back everyone other than McDaniels and reserve Adonis Filer. That being said, don’t expect Brad Brownell’s squad to finish in the top six again next year. --Mark Carroll

12. WAKE FOREST

2013-14 Record: 17-16

Projected Starters:

  • G - Madison Jones
  • G - Codi Miller-McIntyre
  • F - Greg McClinton
  • F - Tyler Cavanaugh
  • C - Devin Thomas

Key Losses: Travis McKie, Coron Williams, Arnaud Adala Moto

Analysis: After four years of Jeff Bzdelik recruiting, Danny Manning won’t have much to work with in his first season. The talent problem was made worse when potential starter Arnaud Moto decided to transfer and top-100 recruit Shelton Mitchell asked for his release. The Demon Deacons have nice centerpieces in Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas, but there just aren’t enough weapons surrounding them to make Wake Forest overly competitive in 2014-15. --Chris Moore

13. VIRGINIA TECH

2013-14 Record: 9-22

Projected Starters:

  • G - Devin Wilson
  • G - Ahmed Hill
  • G - Justin Bibbs
  • F - Marshall Wood
  • F - Joey van Zegeren

Key Losses: Jarell Eddie, Cadarian Raines, Trevor Thompson

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Analysis: OK, let’s face it: the Hokies weren’t very good last year. But a new season brings a new coach, and in Virginia Tech’s case, it’s celebrated head man Buzz Williams. And Williams isn’t coming to Blacksburg by himself; first he recruited top-notch recruiter Isaac Chew, then he re-snagged the second-highest-rated recruit in the state of Georgia, Ahmed Hill. Hill had been an early period signee with Marquette, Williams’ (and Chew’s) former school. Another former Marquette pledge, Satchel Pierce, 4-star shooting guard Justin Bibbs and 3-star Jalen Hudson will join returning rising sophomores Ben Emelogu and Devin Wilson to form the core of the Hokies’ program. They’re still not ready for primetime, but Williams looks like he’s getting things done going forward. --Mark Owens

14. GEORGIA TECH

2013-14 Record: 16-17

Projected Starters:

  • G - Corey Heyward
  • G - Chris Bolden
  • G/F - Marcus Georges-Hunt
  • F - Robert Carter, Jr.
  • C - Ben Lammers

Key Losses: Trae Golden, Kammeon Holsey, Daniel Miller

Analysis: Injuries and a midseason dismissal plagued the Jackets last year, and they really weren’t even that great when at full strength. Take away Trae Golden and Daniel Miller, and it’s tough to see this team doing much of anything. --Mark Carroll

15. BOSTON COLLEGE

2013-14 Record: 8-24

Projected Starters:

  • G - Olivier Hanlan
  • G - Lonnie Jackson
  • F - Patrick Heckmann
  • F - Eddie Odio
  • C - Dennis Clifford

Key Losses: Ryan Anderson, Joe Rahon

Analysis: The Eagles have a new coach and lost two of their top three scorers to transfer. The good news for Boston College is that it can’t be so overwhelmingly disappointing this year — because expectations will be so much lower. Olivier Hanlan’s decision to return for his junior season will give the Eagles one of the ACC’s top talents, and the return of big man Dennis Clifford should help on both ends, but it’s unrealistic to expect much from the Eagles next year. --Chris Moore