College basketball season preview

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Sam Prestipino, Social Media Editor

College basketball is back! It feels like a holiday in our state as our local teams are back in action. After two N.C. teams made the Final Four last year, massive coaching changes, and with coaches on the hot seat, this season is sure to have a lasting impact.

 

North Carolina

To the surprise of nobody, the Tar Heels are ranked number one in the country to start the season. With four out of five starters from last year’s NCAA runner-up team, North Carolina looks dangerous. Players like senior Armondo Bacot and junior Caleb Love are looking to build an ACC Player of the Year resume, while head coach Hubert Davis is looking to lock up ACC Coach of the Year honors in his second season behind the bench. The Heels have ring number seven in their sights, and they’re definitely capable of making it happen.

 

Duke

The Krzyzewski era in Durham has drawn to a close. The new age of Duke Basketball will be ushered in this year by head coach Jon Scheyer. The long-time Duke assistant coach makes his debut with the number-one recruiting class in the nation. The Blue Devils have brought in the cream of the crop from the 2022 recruiting class, along with returning guard Jeremy Roach. Number one overall recruit Dereck Lively, number two Dariq Whitehead, and number four Kyle Fillipowski headline the stacked class. In the one-and-done era, it will be interesting to see what this young team is able to do in Scheyer’s first season.  

 

North Carolina State

After a last-place finish in the ACC in 2021, the Wolfpack are potentially in for a long season. It has felt like an eternity since 2018 when NC State was last in the big dance. Fans are getting tired of the constant losing and mediocre seasons. This begs the question: is it time for a coaching change? Head coach Kevin Keets might be on the hot seat in his sixth season as the coach of the Wolfpack. Unless they can seriously turn things around, the Keets era may come to an early end in Raleigh. 

 

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are coming off of yet another mediocre season. A fifth-place finish in a weak ACC was the result of last year’s campaign. With a great recruiting class this past season, Wake could possibly overachieve this season and go on a run. However, it will still be a while before the Demon Deacons are ready to dance with the big boys.

 

The common theme for our local teams this season is growth. While the conference as a whole is looking to improve, the teams in North Carolina will likely garner the vast majority of attention. Can North Carolina avoid a Final Four hangover? How will Duke fare in their first season of the post-Krzyzewski era? Will North Carolina State return to relevance? Will Wake Forest find a way to sneak into the big dance? The fun has just begun.