November 26, 2020

Independent analysis and commentary on UVA athletics

HOOS Place Preseason Power Rankings

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HOOS Place first made preseason power rankings three years ago for the 2017-18 season. The only year we did not get the first place team right was the only year we did not pick Virginia: last season. We made the same mistake the ACC media makes every. single. year. We chose Duke. Florida State won it. The previous two seasons we were smart enough to pick UVA, and the Hoos came out on top.

What did we do this year? You will have to wait and see, because we always start at the bottom and move toward the big reveal.

15. Wake Forest – We did not all agree on #1. We did not all agree on the top 3. We did not all agree on the bottom 3. We did, however, all agree on who would be last. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who have steadily sunk to the bottom under Danny Manning. Manning is gone now, and we might be discounting the New Coach Bump, but the Deacons look pretty sad.

14. Boston College – The Eagles are not devoid of talent – two players received All-ACC votes and Steffon Mitchell was StLouHoo’s choice for DPOY – but they likely do not have enough to push out of the bottom echelon of the league. The loss of Jairus Hamilton to transfer hurts.

13. Notre Dame – How the Irish have fallen. They might be better than this, but where is the star power?

12. Virginia Tech – Mike Young did impressive things in his first year as coach, and the Hokies have some players, but this league is brutal for a program on the rise, and where are the wins? The teams above them have bigger stars.

11. Pittsburgh – Jeff Capel’s bunch made some noise last year. They lost a couple of transfers but added some good recruits. The talent is there, and this is Seattle Hoo’s sleeper team. Seattle had the Panthers at #6.

10. NC State – Is the “new coach” bloom off the rose for Kevin Keatts? Not a lot of love for the Wolfpack from the HOOS Place gang, although MaizeAndBlueWahoo and Hooamp liked them for #6. There is talent, but Keatts has shown no more ability to get it to play consistently good halfcourt ball than any other NC State coach other than maybe Herb Sendek.

9. Clemson – Aamir Simms earned one first-team All-ACC vote and six second-team, and he is joined by Johnny Newman and other talent, but nobody who looks good enough to pull the Tigers out of the middle of the pack. They will defend, but will they ascend?

8. Georgia Tech – People are noticing the Rambling Wreck finally. Josh Pastner received a COY vote. Michael Devoe picked up a first-team All-ACC vote and Jose Alvarado got second-team votes. Tech will defend and they have starter talent but the bench… oy.

7. Louisville – Seattle Hoo likes the Cardinals more than anyone else, picking them third, but everyone else looks at how much they lost. Seattle and Hooamp like Chris Mack for COY, and David Johnson got some first-team love, but most of the analysts saw them in the middle tier, and one even put them at number 13! The Cardinals will defend too well for that.

6. Syracuse – The Battling Boeheims getting some respect here. Buddy, running mate Joe Girard, stringbean big Marek Dolezaj, all garnered individual votes. In a young league, that Syracuse zone is good for a couple wins.

5. Miami – Aging coach Jim Larrañaga has some very talented guards and better than expected bigs, but his teams have been loathe to bust tails on defense the last couple of years. Our experts like Miami – except yours truly and Hooamp – because of their 5* guards and the coaching reputation.

4. UNC – The Tar Heels are Duke this year, expecting a haul of 5* recruits to come in and lead them to a title. They will need the #2 recruiting class in the nation to step up if they are going to be top 4 in the ACC, because outside of 6 feet from the basket, their returning players are nothing special. The Heels will run some teams out of the gym, but others will utterly befuddle them. We know which group the Hoos fall into.

3. Florida State – Leonard Hamilton appears to be having something of a renaissance. After a couple years where his one-and-dones did not appear too interested in defense and he seemed to be mailing it in, the Seminoles are BACK to grinding teams down with stifling defense. Freshman Scottie Barnes and junior M.J. Walker are the two 5* Hamilton will build around. FSU won the weakened 2019-20 ACC and will threaten to repeat. The ‘Noles came in third despite not getting a single first or second place vote, while Carolina was picked second on two ballots. Why? Because nobody had them lower than fourth.

2. Duke – We almost screwed up and picked Duke this year, as three of our eight experts fell under Sauron’s spell. Despite the Devils having a freshman class not quite as stellar as previous years, no experienced ball handling and precious little star power returning, some of our brightest minds picked them to finish first. Jalen Johnson and Jeremy Roach will have to be Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett to meet the expectations some people have for Duke.

1. Virginia – When a team has a veteran point guard who averaged 6 assists per game for a team that couldn’t shoot, a 7-foot monster who is among the nation’s best at rim protection and the high screen game, a career 45% three-point shooter who can rebound and handle the ball, and a top 10 recruiting class, all led by the best coach in the country, it should not be difficult to pick them to win any conference. The Virginia Cavaliers are that team, and 5/8 of our prognosticating team picked them to win the conference.

THE BALLOTS

ACC Power Rankings

RankKarl HessMaizeAndBlueWahooStLouHooHooampKendallVal ProchaskaEugene MuleroSeattle Hoo
1UVADukeDukeDukeUVAUVAUVAUVA
2DukeUVAUVAUVAUNCDukeUNCDuke
3UNCFSUFSUFSUFSUFSUFSULouisville
4FSUSyracuseMiamiUNCLouisvilleUNCDukeFSU
5SyracuseUNCSyracuseLouisvilleMiamiGTClemsonPitt
6GTNC StateUNCNC StateDukeLouisvilleMiamiUNC
7MiamiMiamiLouisvilleSyracuseSyracuseMiamiGTGT
8ClemsonClemsonClemsonGTClemsonClemsonSyracuseNotre Dame
9LouisvilleGTGTClemsonGTSyracuseLouisvilleMiami
10NC StateNDNC StateMiamiVTNC StateNC StateSyracuse
11PittPittPittVTNC StatePittBCClemson
12VTVTVTNDNDVTVTVT
13NDLouisvilleBCPittPittNDNDBC
14BCBCNDBCBCBCPittNC State
15WakeWakeWakeWakeWakeWakeWakeWake