Orange Watch: ACC, Syracuse basketball turns up its pre-season pulse this week

Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj celebrates a dunk. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: The college basketball season is just around the corner from its Nov. 25 scheduled start date. The ACC’s pre-season predicted order of finish and all-conference team will be announced Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. ET, on the ACC Network. Later that evening, the league holds day one of its annual Operation Basketball event; of course, virtually this year. The 15 coaches and selected players will be participating in panel discussions broadcast live on the ACC Network Wed. and Thurs. from 7:00-9:00 p.m. ET (Jim Boeheim and an Orange player are slated to appear Thurs. night). The long-awaited league schedule is also expected to be announced on Thursday.

Watching a potential one-win SU football season unfold in a tumultuous year of events, it’s refreshing to talk Orange hoops with the season on the cusp.

Even while realizing 10 college football games were either postponed or canceled as recently as this past weekend due to positive COVID-19 testing, and that without a season-long “bubble,” there will likely be similar disruptions as the basketball calendar progresses to the goal of staging the NCAA Tournament in March.

Here’s a look at our submitted prediction for the order of finish in a stacked ACC, with the top 9-10 teams projecting to a 68-team NCAA Tournament:

  1. Virginia
  2. Duke
  3. Florida State
  4. Louisville
  5. North Carolina
  6. Syracuse
  7. Miami
  8. Georgia Tech
  9. Clemson
  10. North Carolina State
  11. Virginia Tech
  12. Notre Dame
  13. Pittsburgh
  14. Boston College
  15. Wake Forest

Understanding there are a couple of terrific freshman league-wide waiting in the wings, and no one from Virginia or Duke is listed, here’s our (unconventional?) preseason, first team all-conference selections:

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  • G, Jose Alvarado, SR, Georgia Tech
  • G, David Johnson, SO, Louisville
  • G, M.J. Walker, JR, Florida State
  • F, Garrison Brooks, SR, North Carolina
  • F, D.J. Funderburk, SR, North Carolina State

Disappointingly, only one Syracuse player, Marek Dolezaj, appeared on the media ballot for the preseason, all-conference team. We’re not saying that Dolezaj or Buddy Boeheim or Joe Girard are considered first-team pre-season picks, but the latter two should have joined Dolezaj on the list.


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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.