With bowl season approaching and college basketball heating up, we’re taking your questions on all things ACC. Here are a few of our answers for our latest mailbag.
Tim in Raleigh, N.C.: Which ACC player is the best NFL Draft prospect?
He hasn’t declared for the draft (yet), but I think Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey could make a lot of money playing at the next level. Looking at his game and measurables, he has pretty much every tool you could ask for in an NFL cornerback.
At 6-1 and 202 pounds, Ramsey has excellent size for a corner, and his frame doesn’t take away from his speed. He’s played both safety and corner at the college level and thrived at both. Not only is he capable of playing both the pass and the run, but he has the potential to make a game-changing play at any moment.
The ACC is stronger at defensive back than arguably any other position, yet Ramsey still stands out, and that says a lot. Whether or not the junior declares for the draft is still up in the air, but if he does, there’s no doubt he’ll be a first-rounder.
Mitch in Richmond, Va.: Is there a single basketball team in the conference that could realistically win a national title this season?
Through the first month of the season, no team in the ACC is playing anywhere near the level that Duke was playing last March and April. It’s not even close. That being said, there’s really no team in all of college basketball that’s looking as strong as last year’s Blue Devils.
Because of the parity in this year’s field, there are a few teams in the ACC that shouldn’t be ruled out. Virginia returned the bulk of a roster that produced 30 wins last season, and the Cavaliers recently picked up a convincing victory over a quality West Virginia team. North Carolina has been inconsistent away from home, but the Tar Heels can beat anyone in the country if they play like they did against Maryland. Brandon Ingram is on a roll for Duke right now, and even if the Blue Devils’ freshman class isn’t as strong as last year’s rookie group, the team as a whole is unselfish and could be in the hunt in March if everyone continues to improve.
By no means is anyone in the conference a lock to reach the Final Four, but each of those three teams certainly has a shot.
Jordan in Atlanta: Where do you think Georgia Tech’s basketball team will finish in the ACC after seeing them win some key games early?
With the way last season shook out, you could probably break the league up into three tiers. The top tier was occupied by Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Louisville. The middle tier consisted of Miami, NC State, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State and Clemson. At the bottom, we were left with Wake Forest, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
This year, the Yellow Jackets have a real shot at breaking out of that bottom tier. With more offensive weapons, this year’s group is a completely different team. Shot selection is still an issue at times, but having guys like Adam Smith and Nick Jacobs in the lineup has made for a major upgrade.
It’s difficult to tell at this point where exactly Georgia Tech will finish in the conference standings, mainly because there are so many other league teams in a similar boat. Pitt, Florida State, Wake Forest and Syracuse are also pretty decent teams that may or may not compete for spots in the Big Dance. I don’t see the Jackets finishing any better than seventh, but they also shouldn’t be much worse than 10th or 11th.