Key Returners- Jordan Nwora, Malik Williams, Steven Enoch, Darius Perry, Dwayne Sutton, Ryan McMahon
Key Additions- Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble, Samuell Williamson, David Johnson, Aiden Igiehon, Josh Nickleberry
Louisville has a strong returning core with the likes of Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch along with an impact transfer in Fresh Kimble and star freshman Samuell Williamson. In addition, they will have great depth in having Dwayne Sutton, Darius Perry and Ryan McMahon off the bench. They will be a preseason top five team in the country with the expectations to compete for a national championship. Year two under Chris Mack should be a huge step from year one as the Cardinals lost in the Round of 64 to Minnesota.
Key Returners- Tre Jones, Javin DeLaurier, Joey Baker, Jordan Goldwire, Alex O’Connell, Jack White
Key Additions- Wendell Moore, Cassius Stanley, Matthew Hurt, Vernon Carey
Duke is bringing in another loaded freshman class headlined by Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt in the frontcourt. The return of Tre Jones to oversee the team as the point guard is vital to their success. Further, the Blue Devils will be deeper and older than in years past with veterans like Javin DeLaurier, Alex O’Connell and Joey Baker to pair with the incoming freshman. Duke yet again will look to compete at the top of the ACC and the country.
Key Returners- Kihei Clark, Braxton Key, Mamadi Diakite, Jay Huff
Key Additions- Tomas Woldentensae, Casey Morsell, Kadin Shedrick, Justin McKoy
The defending national champions will have to replace their three best players from a year ago. Also, Kihei Clark will lead the backcourt along with veterans upfront in Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key and Jay Huff. Also, the addition of Tomas Woldentensae and Casey Morsell will help fill the losses in the backcourt. Virginia will play with great defense as their culture will stay in tack. It might be a step back year for Virginia, but still, expect the Cavaliers to compete as a Top 15 team in the country.
4. North Carolina
Key Returners- Garrison Brooks, Leaky Black, Brandon Robinson, Sterling Manley, Andrew Platek
Key Additions- Cole Anthony, Armando Bacot, Justin Pierce, Christian Keeling, Anthony Harris
North Carolina has had the ability to get and stay old, but this year has a different approach to it. They will be adding to graduate transfers to the perimeter in Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling. As well as adding two high-level freshmen in Cole Anthony and Armando Bacot. Also, some veterans return such as Garrison Brooks and Leaky Black. North Carolina will take time to come together, but expect another 25 plus win season from the Tar Heels.
5. Florida State
Key Returners- Raiquan Gray, Anthony Polite, Trent Forest, Malik Osborne, M.J. Walker, Devin Vassell
Key Additions- Patrick Williams, Balsa Koprivica, Rayquan Evans, Nathanael Jack
Florida State is well known for its athletes and depth. They lost a great amount of talent and depth in Terrence Mann and Mfioundu Kambengale. However, they will be led by M.J. Walker and Trent Forest in the backcourt. The depth will develop over time as always for Florida State and they have an impact freshman in Patrick Williams. Further, the Seminoles will have to build that depth but expect another NCAA tournament appearance for Leonard Hamilton’s team.
Key Returners-Buddy Boeheim, Jalen Carey, Marek Dolezaj, Elijah Hughes, Bourama Sidibe
Key Additions- Brycen Goodine, Quincy Guerrier, Jesse Edwards, Joseph Girard
Syracuse will have as deep of a team as it has in quite some time. They will be lead by their dynamic scorer in Elijah Hughes and will have to see more growth out of Buddy Boeheim and Marek Dolezaj. Brycen Goodine will have a major impact as a freshman in the backcourt. Further, the depth will be the biggest strength of Syracuse. This a team that will have NCAA tournament capabilities, but will likely be on the bubble come March as this has been the case for recent Syracuse teams.
7. NC State
Key Returners-Markell Johnson, Braxton Beverly, C.J. Bryce, D.J. Funderburk, Devon Daniels, Blake Harris,
Key Additions- Pat Andree, Thomas Allen, Danny Dixon
N.C. State again will have great backcourt play led by Markell Johnson and Braxton Beverly. Also, the wings will be very solid with C.J. Bryce, Devon Daniels and Pat Andree, the graduate transfer from the Lehigh. The frontcourt has the biggest question marks. D.J. Funderburk needs to take the next step along with Danny Dixon and potentially Andree sliding down to help in the frontcourt. This team is one capable of making an NCAA tournament appearance or capable of having another disappointing season if they don’t sure up the concerns.
8. Notre Dame
Key Returners-Rex Pflueger, Prentiss Hubb, T.J Gibbs, Juwan Durham, Nate Leszewski, John Mooney
Key Additions- None
Notre Dame had a young team last season and now returns everyone with a chance to surprise teams. The health of Rex Plfuger will be key with his great versatility and energy. Also, the frontcourt could be one of the most underrated in the country with Nate Leszewski and John Mooney who are both capable to have very good seasons. Further, Juwan Durham and T.J Gibbs will be very key in Notre Dame’s success as they both must take the next step. Most importantly the success of Prentiss Hubb running point guard will determine a large part of their success. Notre Dame has the ability to sneak into the NCAA tournament.
Key Returners-Chris Lykes, Dejan Vasiljevic, Sam Waardenburg, Deng Gak,
Key Additions- Nysier Brooks, Keith Stone, Anthony Walker, Isaiah Wong, Harlond Beverly, Kameron McGusty
Miami returns a dynamic point guard in Chris Lykes and has added force in the frontcourt with Nyiser Brooks and Kieth Stone. The ability of Kameron McGusty will be a major part of Miami’s potential success if he can be the go-to guy on the perimeter. Also, Sam Waardenburg and Dejan Vasiljevic will give a good contribution with their ability to hit three-pointers consistently. The experience of Miami as individuals needs to form a veteran type of team for them to have success. They’ll likely be heading for an NIT season.
10. Georgia Tech
Key Returners- James Banks, Michael DeVoe, Shembari Phillips, Evan Cole, Moses Wright, Jose Alvarado,
Key Additions- Jordan Usher, Bubba Parchman, David Didenko
Josh Pastner needs to have a successful season otherwise this could be the end of his tenure at Georgia Tech. They return a core from the previous season with James Banks as the lead big. Also, the incoming transfer of Jordan Usher will help the perimeter elevate to the next level. If Michael Devoe takes next jump in his game Georgia Tech could be on the bubble come tournament time. The pressure is on Pastern to deliver now otherwise he’ll be out of time.
11. Boston College
Key Returners-Jarius Hamilton, Jared Hamilton, Wynston Tabbs, Nik Popovic, Steffon Mitchell,
Key Additions- Makai Ashton-Langford, Derryck Thornton, Calvin Felder
This team has the capability of being a sneaky good team in the ACC. Further, they get major backcourt help with additions of Derryck Thornton and Makai Ashton Langford. Further, the frontcourt of Nik Popovic and Steffon Mitchell will be crucial for the success of Boston College both veterans are capable of having very impactful seasons. The wings will need to give contributions to make a complete lineup without an obvious weak spot Jairus Hamilton will have to fill that void. The Eagles will need to take advantage of having veterans to have consistently all season.
Key Returners-Trey McGowens, Xavier Johnson, Au’Diese Toney, Kene Chukwuka, Terrell Brown, Eric Hamilton
Key Additions-Ryan Murphy, Gerald Drumgoole, Karim Coulibaly, Justin Champagnie
Jeff Capel’s year two needs to see progress and player development. The return of Trey McGowens will be a huge benefit for the backcourt giving them a lead guard. Further, Xavier Johnson will have the opportunity to grow as well in his sophomore season. Also, the transfer of Ryan Murphy should give a major boost to the backcourt. The key to their success will be the growth of the frontcourt in Kene Chukwuka and Terell Brown. Pittsburgh needs to show growth as they attempt to become a middle of the pack ACC team.
Key Returners- Clyde Trapp, Hunter Dyson, Aamir Simms, John Newman
Key Additions- Jonathan Baehre, Tevin Mack, Khavon Moore
Clemson is looking to have the success they had two seasons ago making the Sweet 16. Clyde Trapp will give them a veteran go-to guard and joining him on the perimeter is Tevin Mack the transfer from Alabama who will be a very good complement piece. Further, the frontcourt will be led by Aamir Simms as he will be looking to become more of a threat offensively. Al-Amir Dawes and Khavon Moore will be key pieces as well to give extra scoring depth and defense. Clemson will look to have a bounce-back season in 19-20.
14. Wake Forest
Key Returners-Brandon Childress, Isaiah Mucius, Sharone Wright, Chaundee Brown, Olivier Sarr
Key Additions-Torrey Johnson, Andrein White,
Danny Manning needs to show progress this season to keep his job. There is a go-to threat with Brandon Childress, however, there must be more development beyond him. Oliver Scarr needs to show growth in the frontcourt and give quality consistent minutes. Also, Isaiah Mucius has the opportunity to show major development in his sophomore season becoming an effective scorer. In addition, Sharone Wright and Torrey Johnson will be key pieces on the perimeter as they will add scoring to what Brandon Childress will bring. Wake Forest needs to have a better season than most expect to keep Danny Manning as head coach.
15. Virginia Tech
Key Returners-Wabissa Bede, Landers Nolley, Isaiah Wilkins, P.J. Horne,
Key Additions- Keve Aluma, Jalen Cone,
Year one for Mike Young will be setting the culture and system for future success. To begin, there is a young potential good core in Wabissa Bede, Landers Nolley and Isaiah Wilkins who will have to give solid minutes next season to have the ability to continue to develop. Also, P.J. Horne and Keve Aluma will give very solid frontcourt minutes as both are players who can bring consistency. Next, Jalen Cone will have an opportunity as a Freshman to get major minutes contributing immediately. Mike Young has a difficult task in year one at Virginia Tech.
Images Courtesy of, Daily Progress, Syracuse University Athletics, The Daily Gopher
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