The good news for the Georgia Tech basketball program is they weren’t picked to finish last in the ACC.
But the Yellow Jackets were tabbed to finish 14th in the conference, ahead of only Boston College in balloting conducted by members of the media who attended the ACC’s Operation Basketball.
The five teams topping the poll were Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse. Duke got 85 first-place votes, and North Carolina received six. No other team was picked to finish first.
“It’s going to take some time,” Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. We’re going to have great patience and go through some things that maybe I’ve never experienced or gone through before in my coaching career, so it’s going to be new for me.”
Not surprisingly, Georgia Tech did not have a player on the first- or second-team All-ACC preseason team. Duke’s Grayson Allen was picked as the Player of the Year with 70 votes, easily outdistancing Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, who had seven votes.
The preseason rookie of the year choice was N.C. State’s Dennis Smith, who was named to the first-team of the all-conference team — although he has yet to play a game. Georgia Tech freshman Josh Okogie received one vote in the rookie competition.
ACC waiting to set sites
ACC Commissioner John Swafford said no decision had been made about future sites of the conference championships, which were moved in September in retaliation of North Carolina’s state law that was viewed by the college presidents as prejudicial.
“We’re going to have to sort of wait and see how things evolve in the state of North Carolina,” Swafford said. “I wouldn’t see the position of the league changing in our Council of Presidents, but hopefully we’ll be back to a point where we’ll be able to bring championships at neutral sites back to the state. … We’ll just have to see how it evolves.”
The decision by the presidents forced the ACC office into scramble mode, particularly for the football championship game in Charlotte and the women’s basketball tournament in Greensboro.
“Hopefully there will be an opportunity to come back,” Swafford said.
New head of officials
Bryan Kersey has succeeded John Cloughtery as coordinator of basketball officiating for the ACC. He will work with the Big East, as well as the A-10 and Colonial Athletic Association, as part of an expanded officiating alliance.
Swafford said the new plan will result in enhanced training, development, recruitment and retention for officials.
“It also gives us an opportunity regionally on the East Coast to hopefully cut down on some of the travel that our officials have to do,” he said. “We think it is going to be a tremendous plus for all four of the conferences and particularly the ACC and the Big East.”
Swafford said the ACC would consider expansion of video replays, depending on how things shake out with the Big Ten’s decision to use replay review this season for calls within the restricted arc.
“I think with the technology we have today, if you can improve the game and improve officiating of the game, I think we should look at it,” he said. “I’m glad there is an experiment going on with that. It will be interesting to see how people in the Big Ten feel about it.”