This is how I see the basketball programs as of now in the ACC, with the addition of Pitt and Syracuse.
1. North Carolina- It's pretty obvious what the top two are, but I have to give the nod to North Carolina, who quite frankly is the best basketball program in the country. In the last seven seasons, they've won two National Championships, and played in three Final Fours and five Elite 8 appearances. And they are still one of the favorites for this season. They've also finished first in 5 of the last 7 seasons in the ACC.
2. Duke- Probably the second best program in the country but still decidedly behind the Tar Heels. In the last seven years they've won a National Championship and finished tied for first in the ACC twice. It will be interesting to see if they can keep their current lofty level once Mike Krzyzewski leaves, but even if they go down a little, it's safe to say they will always be among the elite.
3. Syracuse- The obvious third best program in the league but they're also among the top five or so programs in the country. The Orange have won over 20 games for the past 15 seasons and won the National Championship ten years ago with a legitimate chance to win another one this year. Like Duke, it will be interesting to see how well they will fare without Jim Boeheim. There isn't a big recruiting area in upstate NY, it gets very snowy during basketball season which should hurt recruiting of southern players, the Carrier Dome is not as cool as it used to be, and the program's brand will have to change by entering the ACC. To Boeheim's credit he overcame a lot to turn the program into a power. It will be interesting to see if heir apparent Mike Hopkins can keep it going at the same level.
4. Pittsburgh- Some may be surprised to see the Panthers ranked so high but this is how they stand at the moment. Four programs lower on the list have had moments where they reached higher levels that Pitt has, but those four have also not been as good as Pitt recently. The Panthers may find it difficult to change their brand and style of play for the ACC, but with Jamie Dixon and great facilities at their disposal the Panthers should at least enter the ACC as the fourth best program currently.
5. Maryland- The Terps definitely have a chance to move into the top three in the future but they are also one of the more underachieving programs in the country. The list of greats that have come through the program is long and the recruiting area and fan support is large. But they also haven't been to the Sweet 16 in ten years, one year after they won the National Championship, and they have only made the NCAA tournament three times in the last seven years. Mark Turgeon was 17-15 in his first season but his early recruiting has been excellent so he may finally get the Terps to live up to their potential.
6. North Carolina State- This is another program that can move up if this season was any indication. After Sidney Lowe went 86-78 in his five seasons, Mark Gottfried won 24 games this year and went to the Sweet 16. Gottfried is also bringing in a top 5 class for next season so he could be on the verge of turning the Wolfpack into a power.
7. Wake Forest- Yet another program that has seen better days even though they tend to get the occasional elite player. In the last seven years the Demon Deacons have made only two NCAA appearances and two 20+ win seasons. Current coach Jeff Bzdelik is 21-32, a far cry from the days of Tim Duncan and Chris Paul. But with the right coach you just know they can always turn into a power again. The problem is, it's looking like Bzdelik may not be the guy.
8. Florida State- The Seminoles are seen as a football power, but recent history shows just how well they have done both on the court and in recruiting circles. Leonard Hamilton has led the program to 20 or more wins in six of the last seven seasons and in the last four years the Seminoles have had double digit wins in the conference. He's built a nice little program but you also get the impression that if Hamilton leaves, the program may find it hard to sustain their current level.
9. Virginia- There are good players in the Virginia area and the campus may be the most beautiful of any major conference university, but it's been a long time since Ralph Sampson. In the last seven years the Cavaliers have been 48-64 in conference play and have only been in two NCAA tournaments and two 20+ winning seasons. Even Pete Gillen had just one 20 win season in his seven years. On the bright side, however, Tony Bennett is one of the better young coaches in the country and he was 22-10 this season, his third at the school.
10. Clemson- This is a school that was never known as a basketball power, and they still aren't, but they've actually been better in recent years than some of the more well known basketball schools. In fact, in the last seven years the Tigers have had five 20+ win seasons and have been in four NCAA tournaments. But you also get the feeling that while they have been more than competitive recently, compared to most of the other programs in the country, the upside is limited.
11. Georgia Tech- Under Bobby Cremins, the Yellow Jackets had some of the better college players ever, and even in the last decade they have managed to get some of the best prospects in the country. But the team success has not been up to par with just two 20+ win seasons in the last seven years. Brian Gregory is the latest coach to try to turn things around but he was 11-20 in his first season.
12. Virginia Tech- Seth Greenberg has done a good job in Blacksburg and in the last seven years he's had four seasons with 20+ wins, even though in conference the Hokies have gone 53-59. But the bottom line is, you just get the feeling that Greenberg is getting everything he can out of the program and it doesn't have the upside of the other programs in the conference.
13. Boston College- Once one of the most under appreciated programs in the country, things have changed once they entered the ACC. After a respectable first two seasons with their Big East talent, the Eagles have gone a combined 32-48 in conference play and in Steve Donahue's second season the team finished at 9-22. Bottom line, it looks like from a basketball standpoint, the move to the ACC may not work out for the school.
14. Miami- In his seven seasons, Frank Haith had three seasons of 20+ wins and they all came in his last four years. But if you look closer you see that in those same seven seasons, the Hurricanes had a 43-69 record in conference and only made the NCAA tournament once. And this is the same coach who went to Missouri this past season and was named the national coach of the year with a 30-5 record so if he can't make a Miami power you have to wonder who can.