ACC basketball predictions for the 2020-2021 season as Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and the usual suspects are all in the mix for the conference crown.
Because it’s the norm, most people predicted that ACC basketball would be a dominant force last season. Instead, they were a disappointing group as a whole. Barely managing a collective record above .500 for the league as a whole, the ACC was middling at best. And while the conference could bounce back in the 2020-2021 this season, there are some questions to be answered.
North Carolina had a disastrous campaign a year ago, one that they appear primed to rebound from, though there are never guarantees in this sport. Meanwhile, Duke lost its three best players to the NBA Draft while Louisville and Florida State suffered tremendous losses as well. Virginia, technically the reigning National Champions still, is the lone constant.
Will the consistency of the Cavaliers carry them to another ACC basketball title, or will one of the mystery challengers rise up to usurp them? Let’s take a look as we make conference predictions for the 2020-2021 season in the ACC.
ACC basketball Player of the Year: Garrison Brooks, F, North Carolina
Suffice it to say that North Carolina did not have the season they expected last year, submitting the worst record under Roy Williams‘ watch. What made it even more disheartening was the fact that the Tar Heels came into the year with quite large expectations as they landed star freshman guard Cole Anthony.
But amid the team’s struggles and with Anthony missing much of the year, it was big man Garrison Brooks that far exceeded individual expectations and became a star for the Tar Heels. Now coming into his senior season, the 6-foot-10 forward figures to be the focal point of the UNC offense and that should be enough to make him the ACC Player of the Year.
After averaging just 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds as a sophomore, Brooks exploded in the 2019-2020 campaign to put up 16.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and two assists per game. With hopefully more consistent guard play so that defenses aren’t able to pack it in around Brooks, he could improve on those numbers even further in the 2020-2021 season.
Brooks won’t run away with the award without challengers as Duke has plenty of freshmen, as does UNC, that has the raw talent to win. But if we’re looking for a proven pedigree in a good situation to thrive, the Tar Heels big man checks the boxes for that.