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ESPN tries to rank ACC basketball jobs by recruiting pitch

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ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Okay, fine, let’s talk about this. ESPN solicited the anonymous opinions of college coaches in the power conferences to rank the jobs in each league based solely on the gig’s inherent advantages/disadvantages in recruiting. And this is the tiered breakdown for the ACC:

Duke
UNC

Louisville
UVA
Syracuse

Notre Dame
FSU

NC State
Georgia Tech
Wake Forest

Pitt
BC
Miami
Clemson
Virginia Tech

What’s interesting to begin with is how this order is divorced from actual recruiting results. There’s an enormous difference between FSU’s recruiting success and Notre Dame’s, for example. Mike Brey is a good coach who scavenges good system fits but you do not see elite players going there on the regular, yet all these anonymous guys can talk about is how Notre Dame is a big brand and that gets Brey in the door etc., etc.

Coaches are conservative by default, and that affects their judgment, like these are the laziest people on earth discerning which job could allow them to do the least: what they consider a real challenge (Syracuse winters) vs. an imagined one (being at Louisville and surrounded by Big Ten country???) is enlightening.

These guys do have NC State covered in a nutshell:

“It’s a basketball job, man,” one coach said. “When you play there, when everyone’s allowed to have fans, they get 20,000 people in the damn thing. The ACC tournament in Greensboro, you’re staying in the same hotel as them, their alums are all over the place. They have a lot to sell.”

...

“I just think they’re in no man’s land,” a coach said.

To be clear, in a coach’s terms, being in “no-man’s land” means lacking the cache, the connections, and the funds necessary to land the top talent in this state. UNC and Duke are going to spend what’s necessary to get who they want, and they own the infrastructure. We’re in a tough spot, no doubt, but it’s hardly an impossible one, given that State routinely signs top-100 kids.

There’s a sliding scale of difficulty here but you also can’t discount geography—or basically, how far UNC and Duke bag men are capable of throwing money. Especially near the coast, really tough with that wind out there. Lotta gusts.