The season is a month old now. Before it started, I knew the ACC was going to be down again this year. How down are they?
- The ACC is just 74-32 (70%). Not very elite. The Big East has fewer out of conference losses (31) despite having four more teams. The BE is 117-31 (79%).
- Everyone in the ACC but duke has lost at least 2 games out of conference. The ACC has 8 teams with at least 3 losses out of conference. Half the Big East has 1 loss or less (4 are undefeated).
- The ACC has lost to powers like kennesaw state, yale, stetson, winthrop, northwestern, and unc-w.
- I know, the ACC isn’t as good as the Big East… but it used to be. It just shows how the ACC has fallen, while the Big East has risen.
I knew that duke was the #1 team in the league by far. I though VT was a solid #2, and unc had a strong shot at #3 (or #2). I was wrong. Slots #2 through #10 are completely up for grabs. Here is what I’ve gathered.
- #1 – duke (10-0, 0-0) is the best team in the league, with or without Kyrie Irving. Irving was the best player on the team and gave them a different dimension (athletic PG) than they have had in a long while, since maybe Jason Williams (the non-murderer). Still, even without him, they may be the best team in the nation, let alone the ACC. duke lost Scheyer from last year, and Zoubek game them a little bit, but they are just fine. If they get Irving back at close to 100% at any point this season, game over.
- #12 – wake (5-4, 0-0) would finish last in a lot of leagues this year other than the ACC. In fact, they lost by 12 points on Sunday to unc…. wilmington. unc-dub was picked dead last in the Colonial. wake also lost by 10 to stetson, 21 to vcu, and 9 to winthrop. Yep, it’s that bad in deaconville.
- co-#12 – georgia tech: (5-4, 0-0) You know how much I dislike Paul Hewitt (though he’s better than Sidney Lowe). The jackets have already lost to kennesaw state by 17 (wow!), to syracuse by 4, at northwestern by 20 (wow!), and at home to georgia. They did beat savannah state though! Hewitt will not be coaching the jackets this time next year.
Those are the only spots I feel comfortable predicting. But I have also noted a few things (in no particular order):
- The eagles are soaring: (8-2, 1-0) I’m kicking myself but boston college is the team I should have picked as my big mover this year. Instead, I picked miami based on what I saw for one weekend last year in the ACC Tournament. But bc looks like a legitimate team. They are veteran, they are experienced, and they are balanced. The athletic Reggie Jackson is averaging 19 per game, and Joe Trapani, who reminds you of a 1980’s Boston Celtic, is scoring 12.8. Raji and Paris are also contributing double digits. This team is experienced and you regular readers know how much I love experience. bc has 8 seniors, 3 juniors, and 2 freshmen on their roster. I.e. Been there, done that. They won at maryland on Sunday in their ACC opener. Yes, they also lost to yale, but bc loses to teams like yale. It just shows everyone in the ACC is vulnerable this season. And here’s the biggest shocker – bc sits at #14 in the current RPI (yes, it is extremely early, but still, they have the 11th toughest schedule and are 8-2).
- c-a-n-e-s canes: (7-2, 0-0) I predicted the canes to jump from dead last to #5 this season. I may be right for thinking highly of the canes, or I may be wrong. Hard to tell. miami lost a close one to memphis, a bad one to rutgers, but then beat wvu and mississippi at home. Now the canes are 15th in the RPI. But I won’t know what to think of them for a while… they open up ACC play at duke on January 2nd. That should be a good test.
- nc state is on the move! (5-3, 0-0) Hahahahahahahahaha. Hold on…. hahahahaha. The media thought they’d be a big mover this year because Tracy Smith is back and they have some good freshmen. Stop me if you’ve heard this, but the media is dumb – they forget they still have Sidney Lowe as their coach, or “the ricky stokes of Raleigh”. The pack are 5-3 and their three losses are also against good teams – to georgetown, wisconsin, and syracuse. But they lost by 15 to g’town, 39 to wisconsin (that’s not a typo), then played the ‘cuse tough, losing by just 6 (Huh? Why can’t the cuse kill crap ACC coaches?). The pack have no quality wins. If and when they win some tough games, and win the games they should, maybe I’ll start to believe in them… nah, that’s not true. Lowe’s that bad. I wouldn’t be surprised to see wake beat them on January 8th.
- Are the heels for real? (7-3, 0-0) I’m not sure. They beat k-y kentucky. Barnes is averaging 12 ppg, Henson is up to 10.5 ppg. They miss Davis and Graves and the Wears. That’s a lot to lose, three of which were after recruiting had ended. Drew is still pretty lousy, and has lost minutes to Arlington, VA freshman Kendall Marshall. They aren’t an elite team. They aren’t in duke’s class. They have a shot at #2 in the league, and I don’t see them going 5-11 like last year. But I think 9.5 wins and 6.5 losses in league play might be the betting line for them.
- florida state: (7-2, 1-0) They beat clemson. That shows they are better than clemson. That’s what I expected. I picked fsu #4 and they were scoring a lot early, but have struggled of late. They are similar to what they were last year. They are big inside and that’s bad for the Hokies. I still see fsu finishing in the upper half of the league.
- terrapin fading: (7-4, 0-1) With the three stud seniors maryland lost from last year, you knew they were going to have a drop-off after tying duke for the regular season title. The loss to bc on Sunday confirmed that. Yes, it is just one game, but they are very much in the middle of the pack of the ACC. And losing at home to bc you simply cannot do. maryland has also lost to pitt, illinois, and temple. So while they are just 7-4, they have played some tough games. I think they very much look like the rest of the league.
- tiger bait: (5-4, 0-1) They have two good guards who are a combined 11’11”. Stitt and Young are their only players hitting double digits. Other than that, they are average guys, and Stitt and Young cannot carry a team. They lost to odu and have now lost three in a row to michigan, usc (cocks), and fsu. I see them in the 7-10 range in the final ACC standings.
- uva: (6-3, 1-0) Yeah, they are better than I thought (I picked them to finish last). They lost to 21 to an average stanford team, by 43 to washington, but have since won at minnesota and at VT. But they just won 54-44 over radford in a snore-fest. I think they are average, but like I said, better than I thought. I could see them finishing anywhere from 5th to 10th. Scott is good inside and can give the league problems, as he always gives VT issues.
- FYI: VT is sitting at #63 in the RPI to date and have the 20th most difficult schedule. So the challenging schedule has paid off in that department, VT just needs to start racking up wins.
Tech Talk Notes:
- Greenberg mentioned Cadarian Raines could have played yesterday but they want him back 100%. Might play this week. They have to decide by the unc game (Jan. 13th).
- He noted the fans were better yesterday (that were there) than for purdue or uva in terms of being “invested”. I agree at least in terms of uva – the crowd was dead for that.
- Mentioned Garland needs to do better on defense – I agree, he wasn’t fighting through screens very well.
- Delaney bit through his lip. He should be fine for Saturday. Got stitches but was at the after game event.
- No TV Saturday (whoops).