The Irish are loaded with veteran starters with senior Jerian Grant coming off a breakout junior season of 13.3 PPG, 5.5 APG and 1.3 SPG. Grant shot 34.4 percent from behind the arc and played 36 minutes per game. He only had six games where he scored less than 10 points and had four games of at least 20 points. The Irish are even luckier because Grant is one of three seniors projected to start. Eric Atkins (11.2 PPG) and Tom Knight (5.5 PPG) join Grant as senior leaders.
Virginia is an ACC mainstay, and having two seniors in its projected starting five can only help the Cavaliers’ chances of reaching the field of 65 in March. Joe Harris (16.3 PPG) is a potent scorer. He shot nearly 47 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from 3-point range. Akil Mitchell (13.1 PPG) joins Harris as a senior starter. Virginia has had problems with tough losses that may have cost the team a tourney, bid and having two seniors could change that outcome.
Miami is also fortunate to have three seniors in the starting five. Despite losing stud guard Shane Larkin, the Hurricanes have the kind of leadership most coaches dream of when a basket is needed. Miami will have Donovan Kirk (6.2 PPG), Rion Brown (6.1 PPG) and the return of Garrison Adams after he missed all of last season. Kirk and Brown both played more than 20 minutes per game last season under coach Jim Larranaga.
Syracuse senior C.J. Fair may be the most well-known of all ACC seniors and his leadership will be scrutinized as the Orange are a top-10 team with high expectations. Fair averaged 14.5 PPG last season. Baye Moussa Keita (16.8 MPG) is the only other senior who played valuable minutes last year.
There are not a lot of teams with these kinds of senior leaders in the ACC, but this group will be key in how successful their teams and their competitors will be.