By: David Kay
ACC week continues here at The Sports Bank. Part one of our week long preview focused on the bottom three, this edition centers on teams that should be slightly down in talent this year but have the potential to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The difference between the fourth and eighth teams in the ACC isn’t much. You could make individual arguments for each team in each spot. Translation; the conference is up for grabs after UNC, Duke, and Maryland who appear to be the heads of the class.
Wake Forest loses two very valuable players to the NBA while Miami returns some un-tapped talent to replace the loss of Jack McClinton. Boston College has everyone back except for Tyrese Rice and could make some noise if the pieces fall in place. Here my predictions for the 7th-9th place teams in the ACC.
7. Wake Forest (2nd in ACC, 11-5 in ACC, 24-7 overall, NCAA First Round)
2009-2010 Outlook: It was a good news, bad news sort of off-season for Dino Gaudio’s group. The bad; underclassmen Jeff Teague and James Johnson bolting for the NBA. The good; Al-Farouq Aminu returning for his sophomore season. Aminu should blossom into one of the elite players in the conference and help provide Wake with one of the deepest frontcourts in the country. Consistent guard play might be the difference between a trip back to the tourney or spot in the NIT.
Projected Depth Chart
C: Chris McFarland (Sr)/Ty Walker (So)
PF: Tony Woods (So)/David Weaver (Sr)
SF: Al-Farouq Aminu (So)/Ari Stewart (Fr)
SG: L.D. Williams (Sr)/Gary Clark (Jr)/Konner Tucker (So)
PG: Ishmael Smith (Sr)/C.J. Harris (Fr)
Gone: PG-Jeff Teague, PF-James Johnson, G-Harvey Hale
Player(s) to Watch: Woods and Walker- Both bigs had less than stellar debut seasons for the Demon Deacons. Still, the skill and potential is there for each of them to turn into important pieces to Wake’s puzzle and possibly form a “twin tower” type of tandem.
8. Miami, FL (7th, 7-9, 19-13, NIT)
The Hurricanes went as Jack McClinton did last season. With McClinton now in the association, someone will need to step up and assume the role as team leader. Dwayne Collins is a physical force and freshman Durand Scott should help pick up some of the scoring slack. If DeQuan Jones can be a consistent contributor, the U could surprise some people.
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Dwayne Collins (Sr)/Julian Gamble (So)/Reggie Johnson (Fr)
PF: Cyrus McGowan (Sr)/Donnavan Kirk (Fr)
SF: Adrian Thomas (Sr)/DeQuan Jones (So)
SG: Durand Scott (Fr)/James Dews (Sr)/Garrius Adams (Fr)
PG: Malcolm Grant (So)/Antonie Allen (Fr)
Gone: PG-Jack McClinton, F-Brian Asbury, G-Lance Hurdle, F-Jimmy Graham, G-Eddie Rios
Player to Watch- Grant- The Villanova transfer will likely take over the point for Miami. He is a solid shooter and knows how to the run the point. Unlike his predecessor McClinton, Grant will be more of a distributor than shoot-first scorer.
9. Boston College (5th, 9-7, 22-12, NCAA First Round)
Only one player is gone from last season. Problem is that one player was a three-year starter at the point and leaves as the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer. The biggest question for BC is who will replace Tyrese Rice’s leadership and go-to mentality? It will be a season of transition for Al Skinner’s squad that could lead to a promising 2010-2011 season since there is only one senior on the team.
Projected Depth Chart
C: Josh Southern (Jr)/Evan Ravenel (So)
PF: Joe Trapani (Jr)/Courtney Dunn (Jr)
SF: Corey Raji (Jr)/Tyler Roche (Sr)
SG: Rakim Sanders (Jr)/Dallas Elmore (So)
PG: Reggie Jackson (So)/Biko Paris (Jr)
Gone: PG-Tyrese Rice
Player to Watch: Sanders- He has NBA potential and those skills will need to be on display in the Eagles are to have any hope of seeing the post-season. He gets after it on the defensive end, but will need to bring it every night on O’ for BC.
More sportsbank.net SEC Previews/Power Rankings:
SEC East Teams 4-6 (Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia)
SEC East Teams 1-3 (Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida)
SEC West Teams 4-6 (Arkansas, Auburn, LSU)
SEC West Teams 1-3 (Mississippi State, Mississippi, Alabama)
Thesportsbank.net Pac-10 Preview/Power Rankings:
Teams 8-10 (Washingon State, Arizona State, Stanford)
Teams 5-7 (Arizona, USC, Oregon)
Teams 1-4 (Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Cal)
Thesportsbank.net Big East Previews/Power Rankings
Teams 13-16 (Rutgers, South Florida, Providence, DePaul)
Teams 9-12 (Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette, St. John’s)
Teams 5-8 (Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, Seton Hall)
Teams 1-4 (Villanova, West Virginia, UConn, Georgetown)
Post-Season Award Predictions
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