The ACC released its 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule matchups on Tuesday. We now know how many times each team will face each other and what the home and away distributions of games are.
There’s still a lot to sort out before we have any real handle on next season’s conference landscape, but we have a general idea now. Let’s take some guesses at which games promise to be the best from this slate shall we?
North Carolina vs. Duke (Home/Away)
This will always be the premiere event in ACC basketball, with a minimum of two match ups per season. If we’re lucky we’ll get a third game in the ACC Tournament. These programs have gotten insanely efficient at reloading when it comes to talent.
The Blue Devils have once against assembled a group that’s unquestionably the best class in the nation. SF R.J Barrett (No. 1), SG Cameron Reddish (No. 2), SF Zion Williamson (No. 3). and PG Tre Jones (No. 8) are all consensus five-star recruits and sit in the top ten of the Rivals 2018 recruiting rankings.
That’s remarkable. Duke after somewhat avoiding the one-and-done phenomenon for longer than most now utilizes the process more efficiently than even Kentucky. Don’t thumb your nose at North Carolina though.
The Tar Heels have No. 5 overall prospect Nassir Little leading their class. He was recently named the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game after dropping 28 points in the contest.
— Home Team Hoops (@HomeTeamHoops) March 29, 2018
They also have five-star point guard and No. 25 overall prospect Coby White. They join No. 77 SF Rechon Black so this is hardly a group that will be hurting. These games will be fantastic as always. They’ll feature the top talent in the land and be appointment viewing for any college basketball fan.
Virginia Tech vs. Virginia (Home/Away)
These two programs have both been steadily improving under completely different coaches.
Tony Bennett and Buzz Williams have both been ratcheting things up lately. The Hokies made the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 30 years and Virginia had a completely unexpected season of dominance capped by an equally shocking first round tournament loss.
Tech adds SF Landers Nolley who is a top recruit from Georgia rated No. 51 overall by Rivals. He’ll join one of the most talenteed Hokie squads in memory that loses only seniors Justin Bibbs and Devin Wilson.
The Cavaliers had a slightly off-year in recruiting, but Bennett knows what kind of players he needs to run his defense. He also has a great core group returning with Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, and De’Andre Hunter once he’s healthy. They do have to replace Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins however which will be a big adjustment.
No matter how you slice it, these programs are on the rise and the regular season series has been a fairly even split recently. Tech won in Charlottesville last season and Blacksburg the year before. These games are quite competitive and this rivalry is quickly growing in statue within the ACC.
Duke vs. Syracuse (Home/Away)
This has quickly become a fun rivalry featuring two coaching legends. Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski have coached together with USA basketball—in fact Boeheim getting the team to play zone during some games clearly had an influence on Coach K’s defense last season. When they go head-to-head there’s always excitement.
The Orange could face a bit of a rebuild depending on if Tyus Battle returns on heads to the NBA. That took a blow when five-star talent Darius Bazley announced he would turn professional instead of heading to Syracuse next season. Four-star guard Jalen Carey highlights the class rounded out by three-star forward Buddy Boeheim.
We’ll be hoping for some magic like this game from a few years back.
Boston College vs. NC State (Home/Away)
I like what both of these teams had going on by the end of the season last year. Boston College made a furious rally to qualify for the NIT.
The Wolfpack meanwhile got into a groove under Kevin Keatts. Their recruiting class next season boasts four four-stars according to Rivals. Big men Immanuel Bates and Ian Seere will bolster a frontcourt that loses Omer Yurtseven. Jerricole Hellems and Saddiq Bey add to a dangerous group of young talent up front.
Boston College loses Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman who both declared themselves eligible for the NBA Draft. That hurts quite a bit, but all is not lost. Forward Steffon Mitchell (6.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.1 APG) will be a sophomore, plus Jordan Chatman and Nic Popovic can provide plenty of scoring assistance. They also add four-star recruit and forward Jairus Hamilton (No. 80 nationally). Don’t be surprised if BC takes a step forward and makes the NCAA Tournament. These are two teams to watch next season.