2014 ACC Preview: Duke, UNC Appear Primed To Clash At The Top Of The ACC In 2014-15



The more things change in the ACC the more they seem to stay the same. Maryland won’t be around in 2014-15 but Duke returns as the favorite to win the conference and North Carolina will undoubtedly be their biggest challenger. Even after Maryland’s departure the ACC remains one of the top conferences in college basketball and it’s important not to sleep on the latest arrival in Louisville. Here is a quick look at the top teams in the ACC with their odds to win the conference listed next to them.

The Favorite

Duke

Duke lost its best two players from a year ago in Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood and it will be hard to replace their production. The perception the public has of the Blue Devils undoubtedly helped the oddsmakers when it came to making them a substantial favorite in the ACC but it’s impossible to ignore the talent they have as well. Freshman guards Grayson Allen and Tyus Jones will need to contribute at a high level immediately while Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon help the transition after gaining valuable experience last season. Duke doesn’t have the same superstar talent that some of the other top teams in the country have on paper but head coach Mike Krzyzewski is one of the best in the business and he has enough talent on his roster to lead the Blue Devils to an ACC title.

Next In Line

North Carolina

The Tar Heels have plenty of talent but the program is dealing with plenty of issues away from the court and that could take away from the product on the floor. North Carolina also lost its best inside post player in James McAdoo and will need to find a way to overcome a lack of depth up front. It certainly helps that Marcus Paige is one of the best point guards in the nation and he will be joined by fellow returnees Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson, and JP Tokoto. Freshmen Theo Pinson and Joel Berry are talented enough to contribute right away and if North Carolina can overcome the off-court distractions they could very well beat out Duke for top spot in the ACC.

Louisville (+250)

Louisville won the AAC regular season and playoff titles a year ago and they will be looking to make an immediate splash. Head coach Rick Pitino and his team will have an added sense of motivation with four of five starters returning from a team that dominated last season. Pitino is hoping that senior Wayne Blackshear and sophomore Terry Rozier can help contribute and if he can get them to play at a high level then the Cardinals could surprise in the ACC this season.  

Dark Horse Sleeper

Virginia

The Cavaliers haven’t gotten the same respect that the three teams listed ahead of them according to the odds have and part of the problem is that last year’s ACC champion won’t have its best player from a year ago back in Joe Harris. All-ACC guard Malcolm Brogdon will be asked to shoulder an even bigger load along with fellow returning starters Mike Tobey and London Perrantes. Virginia rallied as an underdog to win the ACC last season but they will no longer be able to fly under the radar and at least on paper they appear to be the third best team in the conference.

2014 Odds To Win ACC Conference:

Boston College +12500

Clemson +1500

Duke -125

Florida State +1500

Georgia Tech +5000

Louisville +250

Miami +1200

North Carolina +250

North Carolina State +1500

Notre Dame +1800

Pittsburgh +1000

Syracuse +1000

Virginia +800

Virginia Tech +10000

Wake Forest +6000