For the second year in a row, predictive metrics have rated ACC Basketball as the weakest of the power-six leagues. For the second year in a row, the ACC finished with a winning record in the NCAA Tournament despite receiving only five bids. In fact, the ACC has sent three teams to the Final Four in the past two NCAA Tournaments on just 10 total bids. The other five power conferences have sent a combined three teams to the Final Four on 62 bids.
Despite reports of the ACC’s demise being greatly exaggerated, it’s been an undeniably rough stretch for some of the league’s big-name programs. North Carolina went from preseason No. 1 to missing the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse has missed back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. Louisville just went 4-28.
Over the last three years, the league has lost Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, and Mike Brey. It’s almost impossible for that not to hurt the league’s reputation, whether fair or unfair.
Way-too-early rankings in the era of one-time transfers and the transfer portal are astonishingly difficult, but I’ve tried to factor in who is leaving, who is staying, and who is in flux. Players still have extra seasons due to COVID-19, so I’ve tried to hint at leans as frequently as possible. Players will continue to transfer both in and out. At the moment, 30 players from ACC schools are in the portal.
With all of that in mind, here are my way-too-early ACC power rankings.
15. Notre Dame
Notre Dame lost Mike Brey to retirement but was able to poach Micah Shrewsberry from Penn State. In just his second season at Penn State, Shrewsberry took the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten Championship and won a game in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
Notre Dame had a seven-man rotation last season. Six of those seven are gone, with Nate Laszewski, Dane Goodwin, Marcus Hammond, and Trey Wertz all out of eligibility, Cormac Ryan in the transfer portal, and JJ Starling already committed to Syracuse.
At the moment, Notre Dame only has seven scholarship players on the roster with Ven-Allen Lubin (6.2 PPG) being the only one who played real minutes last season.
Shrewsberry has his work cut out for him, and he might go on a portal run this offseason that makes Notre Dame competitive right away. For now, they almost have to be in last place in the way-too-early power rankings. This roster is gutted.