5 Gifts ACC Basketball Teams Need This Year

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5 Gifts For ACC Teams

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Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC full-time conference schedule is quickly approaching, and while many teams have little they can do to improve, there are a few minor changes that could be made.

Every team can always improve, but sometimes, the changes that need to be made are just not going to happen. The ACC is bigger, and hopefully better, but so far this season, there have been upsets that have hurt the league's overall standing as best in the country.

This can all change when the rigors of conference play shapes teams into the best versions of themselves. Duke looks to be a force, but there is a problem in Durham that is very unusual for the Mike Krzyzewski-led team.

North Carolina finally has the roster it will play with all season, but that does not mean everything is in place to become a powerhouse in the conference.

Maryland may not have had major expectations coming into the season, but it is safe to say that the Terps have not played well in the first two months of the season. There is room for improvement in College Park.

Notre Dame is one of the oddest teams in the country, and they just came off a weekend where things did not get any better. The Irish have a ton of experience, but it may not be enough this season.

Syracuse has jumped in the rankings and looks to be a dominate team in not just the conference, but in the nation. The Orange may have moved up enough to be considered favorites to win the league and grab a No. 1 seed come tournament time.

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

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5. Duke - A Consistent Defense

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Duke has, at times, played like an unstoppable force because of the talent all over the court. Jabari Parker is a national player of the year candidate as a freshman, and is joined with Rodney Hood as one of best scoring duos in the country. However, the Blue Devils have looked shaky on defense.

Duke allowed UCLA to hang around early, but the defense finally took control and held the Bruins to only 40 percent shooting. Duke has two losses and gave up 94 points to Kansas, and allowed Arizona to score late easily. They have the athletes to be a superior defensive squad.

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4. North Carolina - Better Free Throw Shooting

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina has impressive victories over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky, and looked like possibly the best team in the country in all three of those games. However, the Tar Heels dropped three games to unranked Belmont, UAB and Texas. In all three of these games, the Tar Heels struggled mightily at the free throw line. Carolina shot 44.5 percent against Belmont, 36.4 percent against UAB, and 51.1. percent against Texas. As a team, North Carolina shoots only 61 percent from the line. Marcus Paige is shooting 92.3 percent from the stripe, but no other player is better than 70 percent. Obviously, this number must change.

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3. Maryland - Help For Dez Wells

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The Maryland Terrapins' Dez Wells has upped his scoring numbers since struggling earlier, but it has not led to many victories for his team. Maryland is 7-5 on the season, because it is the least consistent team in the league in all aspects of the game. The Terps are ranked 156 in scoring, 161 in field goal percentage, and 218 in assists. The passing game is definitely the biggest problem for Maryland; the team only averages 12 assists per game and there is no true point guard to guide the offense. Wells is a scorer first and is no where near the passer a point guard should be. The Terps need someone to help distribute the ball better if they have any shot in the conference.

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2. Syracuse - A Real Challenge

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse is undefeated at 11-0 and is ranked No. 2, but has only played one ranked team — Baylor — so far this season. They usually have this kind of schedule and always seem to make a run come tournament time. There is no reason to believe the Orange will slip this year, but having a better non-conference schedule could have given more of a glimpse into what this team really is. The ACC will be challenging enough, and Syracuse will definitely see where it stands by the end of the season.

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1. Notre Dame - Someone To Replace Jerian Grant

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame already had its share of problems this season with Jerian Grant on the team. Well, Grant (19.0 PPG) is gone and Notre Dame is in need of someone to score. Grant was a great late-game player and had the confidence to shoot when no one else would. The Irish have several experience players on the squad, with senior center Garrick Sherman (14.3) now the team's leading scorer. Along with Sherman, junior Pat Connaughton and senior Eric Atkins will need to all add to the scoring.

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