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NCAA Basketball ACC Basketball

ACC Basketball: What To Be Thankful For

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ACC Basketball: What To Be Thankful For

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA basketball season is closing in on nearly a month of exciting action, and this is not lost with the new-look and expanded ACC. The conference added Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame from the Big East this season, and all three teams look to be tough challenges for the old ACC mainstays. Syracuse is the highest ranked of the three, but has had some close affairs. Pittsburgh is undefeated, and has cruised so far this season. They should be ranked soon. Notre Dame had a slip-up against Indiana State, but with the experience of several seniors, the Irish will certainly be a team to be reckoned with come January.

Duke's fabulous freshman Jabari Parker is somehow more amazing than anyone expected, and Duke still stands as the favorite to walk away with the conference championship. North Carolina has shown its best and worst in a week's time. The Tar Heels also have had to deal with ineligibility of Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston.

Florida State has shown it could be the most interesting team in the league with an upset of its own and a massive front line to deal with. Maryland also has left something to be desired with the off-and-on play of star Dez Wells.

The lower part of the conference has really staggered along, but anything can, and probably will happen. No matter the situations right now, the ACC looks like it will give college basketball fans an exciting season come wintertime.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. The Emerging Superstars

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh's Talib Zanna is averaging 12.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG and will bang with any other big man in the conference. North Carolina could have stars-in-the-making with the inside presence of Brice Johnson (14.6 PPG. 7.2 RPG. 1.8 BLK) and Kennedy Meeks (6.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG). Boston College's Olivier Hanlan is overlooked at 21.7 PPG and Wake Forest's Devin Thompson is averaging 11.6 RPG.

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4. Pitt Basketball

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Jamie Dixon looks to have everything he could ask for with the 2013-14 installment of the Pittsburgh Panthers. Lamar Patterson (17 PPG. 5.3 APG, 4.3 RPG) is an all-around talent and will be in the running for ACC Player of the Year honors.

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3. Upsets

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State upset Virginia Commonwealth in maybe the most surprising victory so far this season, and held strong in an overtime loss to Michigan. North Carolina was upset by Belmont and then upset the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals.

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2. Future Matchups

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Duke vs. North Carolina is always the go-to rivalry in the ACC, and another two games are waiting. But, with the expanded ACC, games like UNC vs. Syracuse, Duke vs. Syracuse (twice) and UNC vs. Pitt are just the tip of the iceberg of quality battles.

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1. Jabari Parker

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke's Jabari Parker is already in the argument for National Player of the Year, and rightfully so. The fabulous freshman is averaging 23 PPG and 8.8 RPG. He is showing up constantly on highlight reels and is one of the most exciting players to watch on any given night. Also, he may return for a sophomore season.