North Carolina State is the trendy pick to win the ACC in 2012-2013. While they certainly have the talent to win the conference, I personally like the Duke Blue Devils to win the ACC regular season championship.The Blue Devils might have lost their leading scorer in guard Austin Rivers to the NBA last summer, they still have a lot of leadership in their locker room.
They will be led by senior Seth Curry, who averaged 13.2 points a game last season. This is Curry’s last and best opportunity to show Duke fans that he was worth the publicity when he transferred from Liberty University. Fairly or unfairly, many expected Curry to become a similar player to his brother Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. While he may never become as good as his older brother, he can now finally turn into Duke’s best player now Austin Rivers is gone.
If Duke wants to win the ACC, Ryan Kelly will have to have a huge season. Kelly, 6’11 had his best season averaging 11.8 points per game last season. Kelly was heavily touted coming out of high school, but hasn’t turned into the star that fans expect. Kelly has progressively gotten better each year he has been at Duke. He is kind of in the same boat as Curry as both players haven’t lived up to expectations so far. I believe their senior leadership will be key to this team
While NC State may have the talent, Duke has senior leadership that you can never underestimate. The Blue Devils have four seniors returning from a team that was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Lehigh. I expect this years team to have an added chip on their shoulder this season. They also have one of, if not the best coaches in college basketball in Mike Krzyzewski. Talent is all well in good, but I will put my money on an elite coach and four seniors.
NC State hasn’t be a ACC favorite in well over 20 seasons. It will be interesting to see how they handle being the favorites for once. It will also be interesting to see how fast their team can come together with all of that young talent. North Carolina will also be a factor in the ACC, but I believe Duke will wear the crown in 2012-2013.