ACC Opening Day Primer

By Mychal Hunter

It’s here! It’s finally here! College basketball season is finally upon us and you don’t have to wait long for quality games. Ten ACC schools will be in action on Tuesday evening including #4 Duke who will take on #2 Kentucky at the Champions Classic.

The Champions Classic will feature 10 of the top 37 recruits from the 2018 class.

We all know that will be a great game, but there are some other sneaky good matchups on the docket. Here are the ones I am zeroing in on:

  • UIC at Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are young, the Flames have a loaded backcourt. You can check out my game preview here. I would not be shocked to see Steve McClain and Flames stun the Irish.
  • Florida at FSU: Last season FSU went to Gainesville and slapped then #5 Florida in the mouth, 83-66. This year it is the Gators who are unranked and hitting the road. The Seminoles, fresh off a run to the elite eight have high expectations this season and come in ranked #17 in the country. Can Jalen Hudson and KeVaughn Allen return the favor? One name to watch, Keyontae Johnson, a freshman for the Gators. He is a do it all player and a tremendous shooter.
  • UNC at Wofford: What a bitch of an opener for the Heels. This is another revenge game, but not the way you may think. Last season, Fletcher McGee and Wofford went into the Dean Dome and beat UNC 79-75. Cameron Jackson is gone, but McGee, who had 27 in that game, returns. Coby White and Nassir Little will have to grow up quick, on the road, in what is a very hostile environment for UNC to escape Spartanburg with a win.

One of those three ACC teams is going to lose. It would not shock me if it were North Carolina. Florida State having to play without Phil Cofer for the first time will be a major factor and if Marcus Ottey comes out hot for UIC, an inexperienced Irish squad may not know how to react.

Other games on the docket:

  • Towson at Virginia: Towson was 8-9 in road/neutral games last season. The Tigers are also trying to replace their top 6 scorers from last season.
  • Eastern Washington at Syracuse: EWU returns 5 of their top 6 scorers from last season, but the one loss, Bogdan Bliznyuk, did everything.
  • The Citadel at Clemson: The Bulldogs were the 20th best team in the country last year in PPG at north of 82, and they get a lot back. This might be closer than it should be if the Tigers aren’t ready.
  • Milwaukee at Boston College: A 16-17 team that lost their three best players to transfer against Ky Bowman at home. BC by a bunch.
  • Youngstown State at Pitt: Jeff Capel gets his first W at Pitt. This is a geographical rivalry though. Maybe it will be close.
  • Mount St. Mary’s at NC State: The Mountaineers lost their coach and their 22 point per game scorer. NC State is loaded with perimeter talent. Wolfpack by a billion.

So there it is. That is what my Tuesday evening looks like. Check back afterwards to get my thoughts on what we saw.

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