ACC Season Preview Part 3: Miami, UNC and NC State

Streeter Lecka

This is part three of a five part series which will preview the ACC basketball season three teams at a time. At the end of the previews I will release my initial ACC basketball power rankings since that appears to be my thing. Enjoy!

Check out the previews for BC, Clemson and Duke here.

Check out the previews for Florida State, Georgia Tech and Maryland here.

Miami: 2012-2013  (29-7, 15-3 ACC)
Offensive Rating: 113.7
Defensive Rating: 90.3
Key Returning Players: Rion Brown
Key Additions: DeAndre Burnett (4*) and
Davon Reed (3.7*)
Key Losses: Shane Larkin, Durand Scott, Kenny Kadji, Julian Gamble, and Trey McKinney-Jones
% Scoring Returned: 14%
% Minutes Returned: 19%
%Rebounds Returned: 15%

Miami loses EVERYONE from last year's ACC Championship team. Okay, I exaggerated, but not too much. Last season the Hurricanes had one of the most experienced teams in the country, but this year they promise to be one of the least experienced teams in the country as they return just 19% of their minutes and 14% of their scoring. The defending ACC champs lost six players from last year's team including dynamic all-ACC point guard Shane Larkin. Jim Larranaga (still not sure if his name should have a tilde) will have  a difficult time on his hands in south Florida this winter. The good news is that he will at least be in south Florida in the winter.

The player Miami will look to for leadership this season is wing Rion Brown who was efficient on offense last season, but only shot 29% from beyond the arc even though most of the attention of opposing defenses was on his teammates. No offense to Rion Brown, but he isn't the player you want being your go-to player in the ACC, especially with teams like Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the conference.

Miami will also look to Garrius Adams who did not play last year, but was efficient as a junior two seasons ago, as well as Erik Swoope who was a very effective rebounder last season, but only played in slightly more than 10% of the team's total minutes. I also anticipate DeAndre Burnett and Davon Reed being called upon to contribute immediately. Both are 6-5 guards and will need to help replace Shane Larkin, Durand Scott and Trey McKinney-Jones in the back court. Miami will probably finish the the bottom third of the league this season, but should improve in 2014 when they bring in Ja'Quan Newton.

North Carolina: 2012-2013  (25-11, 12-6 ACC)
Offensive Rating: 111.6
Defensive Rating: 92.9
Key Returning Players: James Michael McAdoo, P.J. Hairston and Marcus Paige
Key Additions:  Isaiah Hicks (5*), Kennedy Meeks (4*) and
Nate Britt (3.7*)
Key Losses:
Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland
% Scoring Returned: 74%
% Minutes Returned: 73%
%Rebounds Returned: 69%

Last season was a down year by North Carolina's lofty basketball standards. The Tar Heels were eliminated by the Kansas Jayhawks in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Carolina should be much improved this season, however, as they only lose Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock. Bullock is a big loss in that he was 11th nationally in offensive rating last season, but P.J. Hairston should be able to help fill the void with increased minutes (we know he'll be in good condition). Overall the Tar Heels return more than 70% of their scoring, minutes played and rebounds from last season, which makes them one of the more experienced teams in the ACC.

The often overrated James Michael McAdoo is absolutely critical to the success of this year's UNC basketball team. The former 5-star recruit has had solid points per game numbers, but was greatly lacking in the efficiency department last season when he posted an offensive rating of just 91.3 compared to his offensive rating of 101.0 during his freshman campaign. According to Dan Hanner's research on realgm.com, James Michael McAdoo (former 5 star recruit) should have an offensive rating this season around 110.0. With added talent around McAdoo I believe this is entirely possible. McAdoo is good at drawing fouls and getting to the foul line, but he simply must improve on his 58% free throw percentage. JMM is also a solid defensive rebounder and that should help this team get out in transition like Roy Williams' teams love to do. McAdoo has certainly been overrated in the past, but I do expect him to make a big jump in efficiency this season now that he has more talent around him especially in the post. Last year he was asked to do just a little too much, which can often lead to decreased efficiency.

Roy Williams will no longer have a freshman point guard running the show, and Marcus Paige's continued development will dictate how far this Tar Heels team can go in the postseason. Paige was sensational from mid-February on last season and I expect him to perform close to that level for this entire season. Carolina brings in Isaiah Hicks, a versatile forward who should thrive in this up-tempo system. My only question is who is going to knock down three's besides P.J. Hairston? Overall, Carolina should finish top 3 in the league and is capable of going to the sweet sixteen and beyond. In 2014-2015 they should be top 5 nationally.

North Carolina State: 2012-2013  (24-11, 11-7 ACC)
Offensive Rating: 115.7
Defensive Rating: 97.8
Key Returning Players:
T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis
Key Additions: Anthony "Cat" Barber (4.3*), BeeJay Anya (4*) and Kyle Washington (4*) 
Key Losses: C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell, Rodney Purvis, and Scott Wood
% Scoring Returned:
21%
% Minutes Returned:
22%
%Rebounds Returned:
16%

North Carolina State is similar to Miami in that they lose a tremendous amount of talent from last year's squad. The Wolfpack lost both C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown to the NBA draft. Richard Howell, the team's leading rebounder, graduated, as did 3-point sniper Scott Wood. Unfortunately for head coach Mark Gottfried and the Wolfpack faithful, Rodney Purvis decided to transfer to the University of Connecticut. The former 5-star recruit probably didn't live up to very high expectations last season, but like most highly touted recruits, he is expected to emerge as a sophomore.

Fortunately for the Wolfpack they still have T.J. Warren. The Raleigh native and former 5-star recruit was oozing with efficiency last season. Warren had a ridiculous offensive rating of 125.4 and had the 9th best effective field goal % in the nation last season. With much more attention on Warren this upcoming season I would certainly expect those numbers to decrease, but he should still be a highly effective player for the Wolfpack and I wouldn't be shocked at all if he was 1st-team all-ACC.

North Carolina State simply cannot replace all of that talent in one year and expect to make the NCAA Tournament again. Point guard Tyler Lewis was very effective in limited minutes last year and should be a solid contributor this season. Look for Anthony "Cat" Barber to make a nice point guard combination with Lewis. BeeJay Anya should really help this team in the rebounding department as will Kyle Washington, but the brakes should be pumped a bit because they are not elite recruits and will take some time to develop at the college level. Had Purvis still been on the team I would have given them a legitimate shot to make the NCAA Tournament, but as it is I think State is an NIT team. With Gottfried's recruiting the Wolfpack should be back into the dance in 2015.


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