Barry Jacobs looks ahead to what could be a crowded ACC championship race in 2013:
Most 2013 prognostications understandably will start with the usual suspects plus N.C. State. Maryland was a trendy pick before Terrell Stoglin left for the NBA draft, but the Terps are still dangerous with guards Nick Faust and Pe’Shon Howard, and potential pro Alex Len at center. Folks who voted Leonard Hamilton the ACC coach of the year twice in the past three seasons may, with justification, rate FSU highly as well, with the returns of Michael Snaer, Okaro White, Ian Miller and more.
Best not to forget Miami, a Big East refugee that’s never finished higher than fourth or reached the ACC Tournament final since joining the ACC in 2004-05. The Hurricanes will return 11 players, among them playmaker Durand Scott, whom Larranaga calls his toughest guy physically and mentally. The Canes will be more conversant with what their coach wants, and bolstered by healthy versions of big men Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble, both seniors.
While we've been enjoying all the attention that came from that Sweet 16 run, it seems like Miami has been forgotten. Maybe that's how Jim Larranaga prefers it as he heads into his second year. They were on the fringe of the NCAAs last year--in conference play, their efficiency margin was better than ours--and assuming Reggie Johnson actually plays a full season, there is no reason to think they can't compete for an ACC title.