ACC men's basketball preview: Can Duke translate elite talent into a national championship under Jon Scheyer?

Duke's Kyle Filipowski and Jon Scheyer will enter the new season with championship expectations. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke's Kyle Filipowski and head coach Jon Scheyer will enter the new season with championship expectations. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images) (Grant Halverson via Getty Images)

The 2023-24 men's college basketball season begins on Nov. 6. Come back each day this week as we break down the biggest conferences, teams and more leading up to the season, and check out our Big 12 preview.

The ACC looks top-heavy with usual suspects Duke and North Carolina expected to contend alongside a Miami team that returns two preseason All-ACC players from last season's run to the Final Four.

The highest of expectations reside in Durham on a stacked Duke squad in Jon Scheyer's second season as head coach. North Carolina is anchored by familiar faces and exciting newcomers in its quest to bounce back from last season's run from preseason No. 1 to watching the NCAA tournament at home. The Hurricanes are seeking a third straight run to the Elite Eight or deeper under Jim Larrañaga.

Ranked ACC teams

No. 2 Duke

No. 13 Miami

No. 19 North Carolina

Others Receiving Votes: Virginia (27)

Notable national championship odds

Odds via BetMGM

Duke +1300

North Carolina +3000

Miami +3500

The talent is here for Duke's 6th national championship

Recruiting hasn't skipped a beat since Scheyer took the reins from Mike Krzyzewski. In fact, it's fair to argue that it's turned up a notch.

Scheyer secured the commitment of No. 1 2024 prospect Cooper Flagg on Monday. He anchors what's shaping up as a third straight No. 1-ranked recruiting class for Scheyer. But that's next season's concern.

For this season, Duke will field an optimal mix of returning talent alongside an incoming freshman class featuring four five-star prospects. Expectations will be high in Durham with pressure for the Blue Devils to improve upon their second-round exit in last season's NCAA tournament.

Sophomores Tyrese Proctor and Kyle Filipowski are the two key returning players from last season's top-ranked freshman class. Both turned down opportunities as likely first-round NBA Draft picks, and they'll be rewarded with a chance to compete for a national championship.

Filipowski, a 7-foot center who rebounds and shoots from 3-point distance, is the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year and will be expected to contend for ACC Player of the Year and All-America honors. The post will be his with the exit of classmate Dereck Lively to the the Dallas Mavericks.

Proctor is a 6-5 guard whose playmaking upside has him projected as a high lottery pick next summer. He'll share facilitating duties with senior Jeremy Roach while looking to improve on his 38.1% field goal shooting. Sophomore forward Mark Mitchell will return to his role as a defensive specialist while likewise seeking to improve his NBA Draft stock. Guard Jared McCain and forward T.J. Power are among the five-star freshmen expected to compete for time in the starting lineup.

The challenge for Scheyer is to build this talent into a cohesive unit that can compete in March. After the disappointment of last season's first-weekend exit, Scheyer will be hungry for his first deep NCAA tournament run as Duke's head coach.

North Carolina, Miami look to challenge Duke, contend for title

Hubert Davis' third season as North Carolina's head coach won't arrive with the outsized expectations of his second. There's nothing here resembling a preseason No. 1 ranking after North Carolina failed to make the NCAA tournament last season on the heels of a trip to the national title game.

There is notable upside anchored by fifth-year senior center Armando Bacot and senior guard RJ Davis, both of whom started for the 2022 Final Four team and during last season's disappointing run. Bacot will compete for his fourth All-ACC honor as Filipowski's top challenger for ACC Player of the Year honors. Davis will be the unquestioned veteran backcourt leader after the transfer of Caleb Love to Arizona.

RJ Davis is Hubert Davis' unquestioned veteran floor leader. (Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
RJ Davis is Hubert Davis' unquestioned veteran floor leader. (Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images) (Peyton Williams via Getty Images)

They'll be joined by a loaded transfer class featuring Cormac Ryan (Notre Dame), Harrison Ingram (Stanford), Jae'Lyn Withers (Louisville) and Paxson Wojcik (Brown), all of whom have the potential to address the perimeter shooting woes that plagued the Tar Heels last season.

The most exciting newcomer in Chapel Hill is five-star freshman point guard Elliot Cadeau, an elite playmaker in the mold of past Carolina point guards who can push the tempo and attack the basket. The preseason ACC Rookie of the Year has been coming of the bench in October exhibitions. Don't expect him to stay there for long.

Another deep run for Miami?

Miami, meanwhile, is developing into a regular contender under Larrañaga. The Hurricanes are coming off consecutive trips to the Elite Eight and Final Four, and have the upside to compete again in 2023-24.

Leading scorer and ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong is gone to the Indiana Pacers via the NBA Draft. Gone too is All-ACC guard Jordan Miller to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Back is senior forward Norchad Omier, who averaged a double-double (13.1 points, 10 rebounds) in his first season with Miami last season after transferring from Arkansas State. He's a preseason First Team All-ACC pick. Back too is senior guard Nigel Pack, who earned All-Big 12 in 2022 with Kansas State and is a preseason Second Team All-ACC selection. The combination of top talent and senior leadership has expectations set high in Miami.

Notable early games for ACC teams

All times ET | * neutral site

Nov. 10

No. 12 Arizona at No. 2 Duke | 7 p.m. | ESPN2

UCF at No. 13 Miami | 7 p.m. | ACCN

Nov. 14

No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Michigan State | 7 p.m. | ESPN *

Nov. 17

Georgia at No. 13 Miami | 3:30 p.m. | TBD *

Florida State at Florida | 7 p.m. | TBD

Nov. 19

No. 18 Texas at Louisville | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN *

Nov. 20

No. 9 Tennessee at Syracuse | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN2 *