ACC Odds, Second State of Conference: 8 Players to Watch When Betting
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Filipowski (Duke)
We're back for another edition of the ACC: State of the Union.
In the first edition, I sorted all 15 ACC teams into four distinct tiers heading into conference play.
This week, the focus turns to the individuals. I've selected eight players on some of the top contending teams who will be difference makers all the way through March.
Each of these guys is of the utmost importance to their team's success, and their presence should definitely be noted when placing a wager for or against their team.
Clemson Tigers: C PJ Hall
After undergoing surgery in the offseason, Hall is back in full force for the Clemson Tigers. The junior is one of the most complete big men in the conference and has been a key reason why Clemson is in sole possession of first place at 5-0.
PJ is shooting over 50% from the field, averaging double figures in scoring and continues to rebound the ball at a high level.
Most importantly, Hall covers the opposing teams' best frontcourt player every night and is a leader on this Clemson team.
I believe Brad Brownell and the Tigers will get back to the NCAA tournament in large part due to Hall's presence.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes: G Isaiah Wong
Isaiah Wong is one of the best guards in the entire country. Wong was fantastic in the NCAA tournament a year ago and was the driving force behind the Miami Hurricanes' run to the Elite Eight.
He returned to school after many thought he would go pro, and has picked off right where he left off. The senior can score it at all three levels and continues to be uber efficient with the ball in his hands.
When Jim Larranaga needs a bucket, more times than not he's drawing up a play for Wong.
Pittsburgh Panthers: G Jamarius Burton
The Wichita State and Texas Tech transfer has been unbelievable for Jeff Capel and company thus far in 2022-2023.
Burton is playing closing to 35 minutes a game, scoring 16.5 points a night on 55% shooting and is also dishing out four assists a game.
Very few players in the conference are being asked to do more than Burton, and he has passed every test with flying colors.
The Pitt Panthers currently sit at 4-1 in league play and can absolutely play their way into NCAA tournament consideration if Burton keeps performing at a high level.
Virginia Cavaliers: G Reece Beekman
You won't find many better two-way players in America than Reece Beekman. Entering this season, Beekman was widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the ACC.
His defensive prowess remains, but the junior is also shooting 50% from beyond the arc.
Beekman fits Tony Bennett's system perfectly, and is a main reason why Virginia is still my pick to win the conference.
Duke Blue Devils: F Kyle Filipowski
The sole freshman on this list. Filipowski has been unbelievable for Jon Scheyer in his first year in Durham.
He didn't get the most headlines in his recruiting class, but he has certainly been the most productive youngster thus far for Duke.
Filipowski has a little bit of everything in his game, but he can shoot it from distance, is grabbing nearly nine rebounds a game and can also play with his back to the basket.
As Duke continues to improve as the year goes on, Filipowski's maturation should keep growing.
North Carolina Tar Heels: C Armando Bacot
This man needs no introduction. Bacot was incredible throughout North Carolina's run to the title game a year ago, and he has lived up to the hype thus far in his return for his senior year.
He's a matchup nightmare and can't really be covered one-on-one on the low block.
Armando is averaging nearly 19 points a game and is shooting north of 56% from the field. His free-throw shooting still leaves a little to be desired, but Bacot seemingly always hits the big ones in crunch time.
NC State Wolfpack: G Terquavion Smith
Terquavion is as dynamic as any guard in the ACC. If you want to see someone explosive, watch a half of a Wolfpack game.
Smith has his fingerprints on everything NC State does offensively, and he has been operating at an extremely high level of late.
The sophomore is averaging nearly five assists a night while also serving as the Pack's leading scorer.
Kevin Keatts has the utmost trust in Smith, who has gone for 20+ points in each of NC State's last three games.
Smith will be a NBA first-round pick in June and has the ability to get the Wolfpack back to the Big Dance.
Virginia Tech Hokies: G Hunter Cattoor
It's no coincidence that Virginia Tech's current four-game losing streak is going on at the same time that Cattoor has been sidelined due to injury.
Cattoor is — in my estimation — the best pure shooter in the conference and also one of the unquestioned leaders of this Hokies team.
It appears he should return in Virginia Tech's next matchup against Syracuse, and it will be a much needed jolt for Mike Young and company.