Ken Pomeroy released his preseason projections for the 2021 season on Tuesday, and NC State will begin the season at No. 55. That’s only five spots lower than where the Wolfpack finished last season, so no, there is no prediction for doom in the absence of Markell Johnson and C.J. Bryce.
Which makes sense given that neither player was all that efficient last season—the offense is going to look different, but it should be able to replace their shooting production without too much trouble.
State has the No. 43 offense in these 2021 projections after finishing last year 42nd, and the Ratings like the Pack’s defense to continue improving: the team is 64th in defensive efficiency to begin this season, after finishing last year 79th. NC State has finished with a top-70 defense exactly twice in the last 15 seasons.
As for the rest of the league, here’s how the pecking order looks:
Duke, Louisville, Virginia, FSU, and UNC each rate in the top 25, though Duke is the only top-10 team.
NC State’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent, Michigan, is No. 17.