Checking in on the… ACC

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2008

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Zach Smith of Old Gold & Blog and DeaconsIllustrated is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Power Rankings (Record):

  1. North Carolina (3-0)
  2. Duke (6-0)
  3. Wake Forest (2-0)
  4. Florida State (4-0)
  5. Clemson (5-0)
  6. Miami (2-1)
  7. Maryland (3-0)
  8. Virginia (3-0)
  9. Georgia Tech (2-0)
  10. NC State (2-0)
  11. Boston College (3-1)
  12. Virginia Tech (3-2)

Impressive Wins

Duke – I’m not convinced this year’s Duke team is going to be all that impressive, but it’s difficult to argue with their early performance. Other than a surprisingly close game with Rhode Island (82-79), Duke cruised through the 2K Sports Classic on their way to this early 6-0 record. Forward Kyle Singler is averaging 17 points and 7 boards a game, guards Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith are both averaging 13, and forward Gerald Henderson is averaging 12. The Blue Devils made the decision early on to bring Greg Paulus off the bench, which seemed to be working well so far. However, he suffered a “right forearm contusion” and did not play Sunday against Montana. His status is currently unknown.

North Carolina – The Tar Heels have looked pretty good to start the season, which is no surprise. Tyler Hansbrough returned to action for the first time on Friday against UCSB and contributed 13 points. It looks like he has recovered fully and is unlikely to be bothered by the injury going forward. Despite that good news, North Carolina received some very bad news in an impressive 77-58 rout of Kentucky. Highly touted freshman Tyler Zeller came down awkwardly on his wrist after going up for a layup in the second half. The wrist is broken and Zeller is likely out for the season.

Wake Forest – Despite the fact that the Demon Deacons have only played two games, they’ve looked very good in both. Through those two games Wake has won by an average of 39 points, and scored 120 against UNC Wilmington. Guard Jeff Teague is averaging 22.5 points, forward James Johnson is averaging 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, and freshman Al-Farouq Aminu is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds. It is clear the Deacs are going to make their presence felt this season.

Early Disappointments

Virginia Tech – After starting the season with three straight wins, the Hokies have dropped back to back games, first on an overtime buzzer-beater against Xavier (62-63) and then against Seton Hall (73-77) in the third place game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off. Both of those losses came against pretty good teams, but the Hokies will need to be able to win those kinds of games to compete in the ACC this season. Forwards Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassalo, as well as guard Malcolm Delaney have looked good early for Virginia Tech, however they are not getting much production from anyone else.

Boston College – Despite a good win against St. John’s, the Eagles looked very poor against St. Louis on Saturday. They managed only 50 points in the 53-50 loss, shooting only 33% from the field. It’s going to take more than that for Boston College to make any noise this season.

Looking Ahead – Thanksgiving Tournaments

Despite the loss to St. Louis, the BC Eagles have a chance to redeem themselves in the Preseason NIT. They face Purdue in the semifinals on Wednesday, and could advance to face Oklahoma in the Championship with a win. A couple of good games could quickly right the ship for Boston College.

North Carolina begins the EA Sports Maui Invitational today against Chaminade, and will have to face some pretty good teams in one of the premier pre-season tournaments. They’re likely to face Alabama in the second round (unless Oregon beats them) and then Texas or Notre Dame in the Championship. It should be a good early barometer for the Tar Heels.

Maryland will also face some solid opponents in the Old Spice Classic at Disney World in Florida. They play Michigan State in their first game, Oklahoma State or Gonzaga in their second, and could potentially play Tennessee or Georgetown in the future. The Terrapins have a chance to make an early statement with a good showing.

Wake Forest gets to face off against some other up-and-coming teams in the 76 Classic, played in Anaheim, CA. They first face Cal State Fullerton before a likely game with St. Mary’s. A good performance in those two games puts them in the championship, likely against Baylor, although other potential opponents include Arizona State, Providence, and Charlotte. Either way these games are sure to provide some much-needed experience for a young Wake Forest team.

Other Matchups This Week

  • Florida State @ Cincinnati – Friday 11/28 – Florida State has already won two games on the road this season, and a matchup with undefeated Big East team Cincinnati is a good early test for the Seminoles.
  • Virginia @ Syracuse – Friday 11/28 – Virginia is not expected to have a good season, but this game against Syracuse could prove otherwise, or indicate that the Cavaliers will indeed be bottom-dwellers this season.
rtmsf (3740 Posts)


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4 Responses to “Checking in on the… ACC”

  1. CP says:

    You’re not convinced Duke will be all that impressive, but you are certain that Wake will make its presence felt. Oh, right, what team are you a fan of? I thought so…

    Like them or not, Duke is returning all but one key player from a 28-6 team and has much better depth this year, as well as some big bodies for a change. I do not like or dislike Duke-what I do dislike is the constant bias that people display when discussing Duke. There is zero objectivity when discussing Duke.

  2. rtmsf says:

    CP – we’ll defend our boy here.

    Duke will have a #1 or #2 seed resume by March, but we still don’t think there’s any forseeable way they’ll make the F4 this season unless they play a bunch of low seeds to get there.

    No legitimate inside presence will be their bugaboo (again).

    That doesn’t take away from their reg season achievements, which we’re sure will be remarkable – it almost always is. They just have a glaring weakness that will probably get exposed come March on a neutral court scenario.

  3. CP says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with anything that you said. However, that is not what the writer said-he said that Duke won’t be all that impressive this year. Impressive=Final 4 appearance? That’s a pretty tough standard for any program to live up to…

  4. Ben says:

    There’s points I disagree with on both sides.

    1) I don’t buy that Duke’s bugaboo is lack of an inside presence. This is college. You can win in the tourney without size. Last year’s Texas team is a good example. Sure, they got beat up by Memphis in an off-day.

    2) I don’t believe this was their bugaboo last year. Exchanging Brian Zoubek for Taylor was.

    3) The NCAA Tournament (like the baseball playoffs) is all about match-ups. Duke was unlucky last year (a small hiccup against Belmont and a very underrated WV team). They were crappy the year before (VCU was also pretty good).

    4) Zach has every reason to be in the tank for WF. I think they’re going to be very, very good. (Better than Duke in my opinion)

    5) Yes, that is a tough standard to be held to, but, they’re Duke. It’s been that way forever. Is it any different at UNC? UConn? I almost keeled over after my team (Virginia) tied for the ACC regular season championship in 2007. Easy schedule notwithstanding.

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