By Connor Dietrich
We are one week into the NCAA basketball season, and so far, everything is holding to form with preseason expectation. Schools are starting to get back into the rhythm of the sport and starting to develop some team chemistry as there is a long season ahead. Duke, Kansas, Gonzaga and Virginia are presenting themselves as early contenders for the National Championship, but with 17 weeks of a season full of upsets, shake-ups, and rivalries, it is hard to get a true picture as to who will be strong contenders for that championship trophy in the end. One of these teams can easily come from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Since the season tip off on Nov. 6, teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference won 33 out of 37 total games- an ACC record. That ranks third in total wins among Division-I conferences, just behind the Big Ten conference with two losses, and the Big 12 conference with three. Perhaps there could be the argument that these teams are playing their almost guaranteed wins right now- there is no denying that most of the ACC teams have played a relatively easy schedule to this point. Nonetheless, the stats from these games that spark national attention.
Duke is averaging 106 points per game, mostly because of their two Freshman forwards RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, who are both averaging over 27 points per game. Williamson also broke into double-digits in rebounds, with 11.5 per game. NC State, North Carolina, Louisville, and Wake Forest are all averaging more than 90 points per game. Sure, they can score- but schools like Syracuse with 52.5 Rebounds per game, and North Carolina with 46.7, are more reasons to watch this conference.
Most of these stats deriving from the young guns of the teams like Duke’s Barrett and Williamson, Forward Wake Forest’s Jaylen Hoard, and North Carolina’s Nassir Little. Returners like UNC’s Luke Maye, Syracuse’s Oshae Bissett, and Boston College’s Ky Bowman are continuing to prove themselves elite college basketball talent.
The ACC hopes to continue with this streak of winning, with key matchups in early season tournaments over the next week. Some matchups that will be worth keeping an eye on include No. 1 Duke vs San Diego St. on Monday Night, as well as Louisville vs No. 5 Tennessee Wednesday.