AllNCAA Sports

ACC Men’s Basketball Mid-Season Report (1-3-24)

By: Joe Dillard Jr.

Headline Photo Credit: Suzanne Velasco-LMS Network

We have another year of exciting and fulfilling Atlantic Coast Conference basketball coming up as we have this mid-season review for both the men’s and women’s conferences. Traditionally the men have at least 6 to 9 teams that legit have a shot to go dancing in March while the women have had a dominant top 3 each with both the men and women having teams go deep into the NCAA Tournament. However, this year might be a big year for both. In the preseason tipoff article, I stated that the women seem to have over 8 to 10 teams that looked revamped, poised, and determined to make some noise and they have not disappointed. We dive into the men’s and women’s first half start to the year. Below are the stats leading into conference play which will be key for those looking to dance in March.

Men’s Standings
BPI RANKINGS​​​​​ ​Associated Press
Duke 6​​​
Boston College 91​​​
UNC 8​​ up 2 (spots)
North Carolina 21 ​
Florida State 97​​​
Duke 16​ (up 5 spots%)
Clemson 25​​
Syracuse 103​​​​
Clemson 18​ (Not Rated)
Pittsburgh 33 ​​
Georgia Tech 114​​​
Miami ​​3
Virginia 35 ​​
Notre Dame 219​​
Virginia Tech 37​
Louisville 244
Wake Forest 39
Miami 48
North Carolina State 59

Quad Wins
Team ​​Rank​​/Quad 1/Quad 2/Quad 3 ​/Quad 4
Clemson ​12​​3-1​​2-0​​1-0​​4-0
Duke ​​18​​2-1​​0-2​​2-0​​4-0
UNC​​ 26​​2-3​​1-0​​3-0​​2-0
Virginia ​37​​2-2​​0-0​​3-0​​4-0
Pittsburgh ​39​​0-2​​0-0​​4-1​​5-0
Virginia Tech ​50​​1-3​​1-0​​1-0​​6-0
Miami​ ​61​​0-2​​2-0​​1-0​​6-0
NC State​ 70​​1-3​​0-0​​1-0​​7-0
B.C.​​ 74​​0-1​​1-1​​3-1​​5-0
Wake Forest​ 77​​0-1​​1-1​​1-1​​6-0
Syracuse​ 82​​0-3​​1-0​​6-0​​1-0
Georgia Tech​ 114​​1-1​​2-1​​2-1​​3-0
FSU​​ 124​​1-2​​0-1​​1-2​​4-0
ND​​ 240​​0-4​​0-0​​2-2​​3-1
Louisville​ 262​​0-2​​0-1​​0-1​​5-3

Photo Credit: Suzanne Velasco-LMS Network

Our first look at the ACC Men’s Conference starts right in the Commonwealth state as we look at UVA and Virginia Tech as they both have 9 wins with UVA (9-2) and Tech (9-3). UVA has shown they can have several guys lead the way in scoring with 5 different leading scorers. However, it is all facilitated by Reese Beekman who has an outstanding 68 assists to 18 turnovers. It seems Ryan Dunn has found a role in the rotation as he is leading the way with 28 blocks where numbers 2, 3, and 4 combined for 26. He also is second on the team in steals with 2.3 as Beekman leads the team with 2.4 steals per game. Already facing Syracuse in the ACC opener, the Cavs shot 12 of 21 from behind the arc with Iaasic McKneely going 6 for 8 finishing with 22 points to lead the way. UVA started 2-2 in Quad 1 wins which is a tool used to determine those selected for the NCAA tournament. They should make a run to finish in the top three for the conference but with so many teams ascending they will have to fend off new contenders.

​In Blacksburg, the climate is different from a year ago as the Hokies look to make a statement this season and put teams on notice as they have an anchor in the name of Lynn Kidd, the 6’10 Senior Center from Gainesville, Florida. He is leading the team in points per game and rebounds with 16.5 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game. Around him, they have a ton of guards who can compliment him. Sean Pedulla, Tyler Nickel, MJ Collins, and Hunter Cattoor, all can fill it up and contribute. All but MJ are shooting above 33% from behind the arc, which allows MJ to penetrate and show off his athleticism with plenty of shooters around him. Anytime the Hokies put four guys in double figures they become a very hard team to beat. The only difference from UVA is the Hokies are 1-3 in Quad 1 games which will be key for them come February when they will get plenty of opportunities against Quad 1 conference foes.

The next pair is hands down the best rivalry in college basketball and compares with all rivalries and it all starts on Tobacco Road as we look at Duke and North Carolina as they look to continue leading the way as the conference’s top two teams in total success. We start in Krzyzewskiville as the Reigning ACC Tournament Chaps look to go even further this season returning their core players led by Jeremy Roach, Kyle Filipowski, and Tyrese Proctor and look to get production from the freshmen class to make a push for a Final Four appearance. The Brotherhood appears to be strong in the Jon Shirer era. They have 5 players averaging double figures and another one right on the brink with 9 points per game. It appears that Duke only will be looking at themselves in the mirror and making sure they don’t beat themselves. Other than that, they will be an ACC favorite along with the Final Four expectations.

​Just under 10 miles (9.8 to be exact), we look at the Tarheels of North Carolina and Hubert Davis entering his third season. He states that you must have a mix of players that are in your stable which is legacy players, transfers, and youth and if this is true then he might just have one of his better teams as they are starting to look like his recruits and development seems to be the key to the growth of this young run for Hubert. Armondo Bacot and R.J. Davis are indeed what Hubert would call Legacy players and have been the steady rocks for this team that is mixed as Hubert described. R.J. Davis has simply been the best player production-wise in the conference and has propelled the Tarheels up the rankings of late holding the number 8 spot but still having more work to do.

The next two teams are looking to disturb the peace at the top of the ACC standings as Clemson and Pittsburgh are both in the top 35 of BPI Clemson is ranked 12th in Quad strength of schedule while Pittsburgh is ranked 39th. Clemson started with a 10-1 record with a 79-77 loss to Memphis which is a top 25 team. In the only ACC match, they beat Pittsburgh 79-70. Led by P.J. Hall, a 6’10 center from Spartanburg shows range while commanding the paint. He also leads the team in blocks and steals. Joseph Girard III who is a transfer from Syracuse is playing Robin to Halls batman role. Girard can flat-out light it up from the arc and with the two of them firing on all cylinders will make Clemson a tough out.

​Pittsburgh on the other hand is one of the teams that will benefit from playing in conference as they will need some more Quad one wins to solidify their chance to dance in March. At 9-3, Jeff Capel looks to lean on Blake Henson leading the team in points per game with 19.5 however it is the freshmen out of Baltimore in Carlton Carington who is 6’5 and is controlling the pace and offense for the Panthers with 14.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and leading the team in assist with 5.2 per game. Every game it seems Carrington gets better, and we will see how the second half fairs for the sensational Freshmen. My early pick for Freshmen of the Year in the ACC so they look to make some noise this year.

Miami, Boston College, and North Carolina State all have 9 wins and have positioned themselves to just go 500. At the conference will have a great shot at making an appearance as well. They will need some Quad I wins that will boost their resume for the tournament committee. Each one of these teams can make a splash come ACC tournament time and This puts the ACC back at 9 teams even though it seems so easy right now in the mid-season report however, the grind of the ACC will make and break some teams thus setting up another great year of ACC hoops. This year’s Tournament will be in the Nation’s Capital and looks to draw a huge crowd with the Capital One Arena holding 20,000 seats for what should be another exciting tournament.