2022-23 Duke basketball team, ACC basketball

Technically, every ACC basketball team has a chance to make it to the Final Four from day one. Here’s an argument for each squad.

Boston College

Quinten Post dominates the paint

The Eagles probably have the longest odds of any ACC basketball team to reach the NCAA Tournament, let alone the Final Four. But never say never! The best chance BC has at turning in a season for the ages is if big man Quinten Post can be a dominant player. The 7-footer has it in him, after posting (pun intended) 15.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 2022-23. It may require a 20/10 season to elevate the Eagles into top-25 status; from there, you never know!

Mat’s early Final Four chances: < 1%


JG3’s scoring takes off

Joe Girard III was never afraid to let it fly at Syracuse, but could we see the JG3 that was advertised out of high school? He averaged nearly 50 PPG – yes, FIFTY – at Glens Falls H.S., so who knows how much more Girard can score in college. He put up a career-best 16.4 PPG in year four at Syracuse, so a scenery change at Clemson might be what he needs to really take off. Plus, the Tigers return PJ Hall and Chase Hunter, making them a legitimate dark horse in ACC basketball.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 1-2%


The returning core and freshman class put it all together

We got a good taste of what Duke was capable of last year. The Blue Devils went 27-9 and earned wins over Miami (Fla), Xavier, and Virginia. A team made up of mostly freshmen will run it back with a great chance at winning the championship. Kyle Filipowski, Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, and Mark Mitchell are all back and are joined by the second-best incoming freshman class, according to 247Sports. That type of talented returning group could elevate such a great freshman class to make Duke a very tough team to beat.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 25-30%

Florida State

Last year was just a fluke

There’s no doubt Leonard Hamilton is an above-average coach and Florida State is a winning program. Last year, it was hard to believe that, as the Seminoles only won a total of nine games. If they can put a season like that behind them, the talent is there to get back to FSU basketball. They return close to 50 PPG from last season’s team and bring in a solid transfer class, led by former Georgetown guard Primo Spears. Let it be known that I’m not picking Florida State to make the Final Four, but I do foresee a big turnaround.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 1-2%

Georgia Tech

Miles Kelly plays like an All-ACC first teamer

A big transfer class will help the Yellow Jackets fill out a roster with a lot of depth pieces. In doing so, it should be a much more competitive GTech team. A winning season could be in store, but to go the extra distance, Miles Kelly will need to take over. He showed shades of that last season, dropping 21 points at Iowa, back-to-back 20-point games versus UVA and Miami, and a strong end of the year, with 20+ in four of his last six games. It’s that finish to the season that has me excited about what’s in store for Kelly in year three. Georgia Tech may have a budding superstar in ACC basketball.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: < 1%


Doing the opposite of what they did last year

I’m not even trying to be funny here. A 4-28 season is horrendous. Whatever the Cardinals did last year, they need to fix. A lot of it came down to poor shot selection, bad ball movement, and too many turnovers. It wasn’t as much of a talent issue as it was a team that just wasn’t fit to play together under a new head coach in Kenny Payne. Next year should be much different. Payne brings in a top-10 recruiting class and a few power six transfers. It will be a much different Cards team, which is exactly what is needed for a remarkable turnaround.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: < 1%

Miami (Fla)

Nijel Pack turns into Isaiah Wong

The Hurricanes made it to the Final Four last year, led by a foursome of talented players. Isaiah Wong was the ringleader, but he has moved on from Miami. Now, they’ll turn to a key piece of last year’s team, Nijel Pack, to be the top guard. Of course, Pack is already a great player in his own right, but will now get the opportunity to lead the team. He’ll have Norchad Omier as a reliable big man underneath, giving Miami a solid chance at a second straight Final Four appearance.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 3-5%

North Carolina

Armando Bacot and RJ Davis play like there’s no tomorrow

It’s obvious that Bacot and Davis returned to Chapel Hill for no reason other than to win a national championship. They were close in 2022, but far in 2023, missing March Madness altogether. But they’re back for another shot, and with a re-vamped UNC squad. Caleb Love and Pete Nance are gone, but 5-star Elliott Cadeau and transfers Harrison Ingram, Cormac Ryan, Paxson Wojcik, and Jae’Lyn Withers are in. The talent is there to put last season aside and live up to the expectations one year later.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 20-25%

NC State

A loaded transfer class makes for a much more team-oriented ‘Pack

NC State was a solid ACC basketball team last year, but heavily relied on Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner. Both guards are gone, with DJ Burns Jr. and Casey Morsell next in line to be the starting backcourt. But NC State could improve most with a deeper rotation. Kevin Keatts brings in an underrated transfer class, led by DJ Horne, Jayden Taylor, and MJ Rice. In total, five power conference players make their way to Raleigh to try and even out an NC State team to have more consistency on the offensive end. Can it be their first trip to the Final Four since 1983?

Mat’s early Final Four chances: < 1%

Notre Dame

Micah Shrewberry is a magician

I take my Boston College comment back. Notre Dame has the longest odds to represent ACC basketball in the Final Four. The Irish were very bad last year and lost all their talent to graduation or the portal. How did they replace it? About 10 PPG of production between three transfers, a trio of four-stars, and three returners that averaged a combined 1.7 PPG in 2022-23. ND will be a work in progress, not a one-year fix.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: < 1%


Blake Hinson wins ACC POY honors

The Panthers were a surprise team in ACC basketball last year, but lose a lot of their top talent. However, Blake Hinson is back and should be on the shortlist to win ACC Player of the Year in 2024. The 6-foot-7 wing put up 15.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG to lead Pitt in both categories. Jeff Capel did a solid job of replacing what the Panthers lost, but Hinson will obviously be the star of the group. If there’s one guy in ACC basketball who could carry his team to the promised land, it’s Hinson.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 1-2%


New coach, new ‘Cuse

Jim Boeheim is no longer the coach of Syracuse basketball, which will feel very weird next season. But with it comes new ideas from Adrian Autry and an underrated SU squad. It will be interesting to see how Autry utilizes a strong backcourt in Judah Mintz and JJ Starling, alongside a solid core of returning players. How they respond to a new head coach in the 315 will be their storyline all season. And one of the best bets in sports is for a double-digit Syracuse team to make a run in March.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 1-2%


Charlottesville? More like mid-major transferville

Tony Bennett takes his mid-major transfers seriously. Merrimack’s Jordan Minor (17.4 PPG) and St. Thomas’ Andrew Rohde (17.1 PPG) will both play for Virginia next season. They are two of the highest-rated mid-major transfers in the country, and should both have major roles on a new-look Cavaliers team. The departures of Kihei Clark, Jayden Gardner, and Armaan Franklin are noteworthy, but the last few NCAA Tournaments have been rough to watch for Virginia fans. A new starting five could bring new hope.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 2-3%

Virginia Tech

A core returning bunch pays off

Sure, Grant Basile and Justyn Mutts are gone, but a lot of V Tech’s core is still intact. In fact, 7 of their top 10 scorers from last year are back, making them one of the top teams in ACC basketball in terms of returning production. Few things outweigh year-to-year cohesion in college basketball, so don’t completely rule out the Hokies from making it to Glendale, Arizona.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 1-2%

Wake Forest

Hunter Sallis becomes the ACC basketball Transfer of the Year

He’s one of the most underrated transfers in the country, and Hunter Sallis will play for Wake Forest next season. Playing on such a talented team like Gonzaga is something very few transfers in college hoops can bring to their next destination. The loss of Tyree Appleby stings, but Sallis will still have plenty of talent around him, and it could be something to watch. If he can click with his new teammates, watch out for Wake.

Mat’s early Final Four chances: 1-2%