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NC State basketball picked to finish 13th in ACC by Sports Illustrated

SI expects the Pack to be better, but contending is another matter.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Clemson vs NC State Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Keatts’ first NC State team heads into the season an enigma, with a lot of new faces expected to play key roles in a brand new system. This is not going to stop the computers from giving a prediction or two, though. Sports Illustrated’s projection system puts NC State at No. 13 in the ACC. Hey, that’s improvement!

SI’s system also predicts that State will finish 7-11 in the ACC, a three-game improvement over 2017, and a record I think most of us would be okay with in year one.

Al Freeman is expected to lead the team in scoring at 14.9 per game, followed by Abdul-Malik Abu at 13.9 PPG (along with 7.9 RPG) and Torin dorn at 13.4 PPG. Sam Hunt is also projected to average in double figures this season.

SI offers projections only for the seven players it figures will most impact a team’s rotation, and here Lennard Freeman is noticeably absent. But I can understand how that’s a tough case. I suspect they’re also a little to conservative on Omer Yurtseven, but they are surprisingly optimistic about Lavar Batts’ ability to help the Wolfpack right away. Again, the team’s an enigma. Some of this is bound to be way off.

SI predicts an ACC top five of Duke, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, and UNC.