Tag Archive | "acc basketball"

Around the ACC (and VT’s Other Opponents) | Niemo’s Notes

  • Wow, it has been a wild week to say the least.  And the ACC is taking it harder on the chin than a bukkake recipient.  But none of the bad losses compare to the drama related to the mississippi state bulldogs.

Days of Our Lives, starring the mississippi state bulldogs:

  • After playing VT in the Bahamas, and getting waxed, the bulldogs headed for the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, HI.  As my buddy VT1Fan put it, “I want miss st frequent flyer miles.”  Well, maybe not…
  • Former 5-star recruit Renardo Sidney, who made his debut against VT last weekend after being suspended for one full season plus nine games this year, was suspended for the first game of the Diamond Head Classic for an outburst in practice.  The bulldogs lost that game by 26 to washington state.
  • But here’s where it gets wild – the next day, after Sidney led the bulldogs with 19 points in a win over san diego, he got in a fight in the STANDS with a TEAMMATE, Elgin Bailey.  And just our luck – the cameras were rolling!  Check out this VIDEO (LINK).  Sidney’s career could be over after two games.  While hilarious, it also means the bulldogs (picked to win the SEC West) probably aren’t going to work themselves into a ‘quality win’ for the Hokies now.

General Hospital, starring the ACC:

The ACC may need to go to the hospital to get repairs.  I’ve noted some of the bad losses the ACC has had already this year, but this week takes the cake…

  • Almost the entire league – Everyone in the ACC has at least 3 out of conference losses except #1 duke (undefeated) and bc (2 losses). 
  • wake forest – The deacons had already lost to stetson, winthrop, unc-wilmington, xavier, and vcu, but hit a new low this week – they lost to presbyterian.  Yep, the blue hose (and yes, I had to look that up, and no, I have no idea what it means) beat the deacons, possibly causing a Holy War.  To be fair, presbyterian isn’t awful – they beat auburn and lost to kansas state by just 9, and are #89 in the current RPI, but come on.  ACC teams should not lose to the hose.  And wake barely beat unc-g-spot last week by 2 – unc-greensboro is 0-11.  wake might be the worst team in ACC history.
  • uva – After beating norfolk state (1-9) by just 1 point on Monday (and that was on a tip-in with 4 seconds left by Sene who has just 6 made FGs all season), the hoos lost to seattle.  No, not the Super Sonics with Shawn Kemp, the redhawks.  That improved the ‘hawks to 5-10.  seattle, even with the win, is still #291 in the RPI. I think that qualifies as a BAD loss (FYI: norfolk state is #324 of 345 teams).  Mike Scott missed the norfolk state game (he had minor knee surgery), but had 12 points and 8 rebounds in 31 minutes versus the redhawks.  This shows the hoos, who I picked to finish 12th, are almost wake forest bad without the great Scott, and can be beaten by anyone (and we mean anyone) even with him.  Yet, they are a contender in the ACC for an upper half spot.  Yes, the ACC is that bad this year that one guy can make all the difference. [Thanks Zach for the correction.]
  • georgia tech – Gotta love the jackets!  I’m been saying all year that Paul Hewitt, the second worst coach in the league, will not survive the season.  So what does he do?  He goes out and beats a quality richmond team in the Bahamas appetizer before the VT/mississippi state game.  But you don’t get to be rated my #2 worst coach without a reason – the jackets turned around and lost to siena (#108 RPI – so not bad at all, but still).  It just shows how inconsistent they are.  Earlier in the season, georgia tech lost to kennesaw state, who weighs in at an offensive lineman like #318 in the RPI. 
  • fsu – The noles were looking like a contender in the ACC… that was until 6’11” center Xavier Gibson had to helped off the floor with an apparent left knee injury in their loss to butler at the Diamond Head Classic last night (this was not in a teammate brawl, I’ll note).  No word on how severe it is, but considering how much the noles depend on their defense, losing their giant in the middle would be devastating.
  • miami – The canes lost to undefeated central florida last Saturday in Miami (but at the Heat arena). The loss isn’t so bad, it is the fact that they played a game in THEIR CITY yet their were more ucf fans at the game than canes fans.  And of course, florida had way more fans than either team in the second game of the doubleheader when they upset kansas state…

wildcats Gone Wild – Speaking of kansas state…

  • The wildcats lost to florida and unlv this week.  Neither loss is bad, as they are #23 and #18 in the RPI respectively, but it is more interesting because…
  • Peter Warrick Lives! – ksu star Jacob Pullen and doghouse regular Curtis Kelly “were being punished for receiving impermissible benefits in connection with the purchase of clothing at a local department store.”  Ah, brings back memories of Peter Warrick and Laveranues Coles getting the old nole discount at Dillard’s department store back in 1999… “The Tallahassee police charge that [cashier] allowed the two to buy $412.38 worth of clothing — designer labels such as Nautica and Polo — for $21.40 on Sept. 29.”  I ran into Warrick at the Bourbon Street McDonald’s a few days before the 1999 National Championship game.  He was purchasing some burgers and after he left, I yelled, “How’d he get 3 Big Macs for $1???”  The Hokies in the place laughed, but I’ll admit, I didn’t say it while his bodyguards were around.
  • ksu is #10 in the RPI.  That would be good for VT if they had beaten the wildcats or the rebels.  At least it helps their SOS a lot.

Good news:

  • VT sits at #43 in the RPI right now.  Keep winning and VT is ok.  But that’s going to be a challenge with eight scholarship players.
  • Tech is 1-3 against top 50 teams (okie state is #38)
  • The Hokies are 2-3 against top 100 teams (st. bonnie is #89)
  • VT has had the 18th hardest schedule to date
  • Tech gets to play duke (#3), bc twice (#19), miami (#20), and unc (#30).  Assuming at least some of those rating hold, VT has five shots at high quality wins.

Final thought – can you believe I’m not ganging up on the wolfpack and Sidney Lowe?  Well, after they lost to arizona by 10, they rebounded to beat delaware state… by 2.  But hey, a win is a win.  The pack freshmen just aren’t playing that great yet (freshmen rarely do in the ACC) and stud Tracy Smith out the last 9 games with a knee injury (he should be back soon), they are struggling.  Getting him back in full though will have as big of an impact as the hoos getting Scott.  Well, but uva doesn’t have Lowe as their coach.

But let’s not end with a note on nc state – Merry Christmas, Hokies!  See you in South Beach in a week!

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Around The ACCComments (5)

Niemo’s Notes | Around the ACC, TechTalkLive Notes, and Other Ramblings

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).

Posted in Around The ACCComments (4)

Delaney Named ACC Player of the Week

Hokies vs. camels Malcolm Delaney’s bid for ACC Player of the Year is off to a good start.  He was named the Player of the Week for his efforts in the 76 Classic in Anaheim.  Delaney scored 63 points in the three games, including 30 in the final against unlv. Most impressively, Malcolm shot 55 percent from the field, including 7/9 on threes in the unlv game.  This is his third time being named Player of the Week in his career.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Around The ACC, HomeComments (0)

2010-11 ACC Preview

“And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it.  And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground.” -Preacher Purl in ‘Hoosiers

Hopefully that will be the quote that comes to mind on Sunday, March 13th as the ACC Tournament Championship Game concludes.  Hopefully Virginia Tech will be cutting down the nets in the Greensboro Coliseum.  Hopefully the Hokies will have risen to the top of the ACC and captured their first ACC title while the Philistines, unc and duke (with nine NCAA Tournament Championships and 35 ACC Tournament titles combined), lay on the ground in disbelief.

It won’t be easy, though.  unc and duke have combined to win 13 of the last 14 ACC titles.  Oh, and duke is the reigning national champs with two huge stars (Singler and Smith) back and a man named ‘Curry’.  unc has the top freshman in the nation in Harrison Barnes, a guy you would think was already Kevin Durant by all the hype.  There are also nine other pretty good programs to deal with that you cannot forget… actually, let’s forget about them.  The ACC champion will be unc, duke, or Virginia Tech, I’ll say that right now with strong confidence.  But seriously, the Hokies have a real shot at hoisting up the hardware on that fateful Sunday.  Tech returns 10 of the 12 guys that scored a point last season (it was 11 of 12 before JT Thompson’s injury), have an All-American candidate in Malcolm Delaney, one of the top rated power forwards in the country in Jeff Allen (I’ve seen him ranked as high as #2 at PF), Zo Clutch who is money when the game is on the line, and all these guys have loads of experience and tons of hunger, having never played a NCAA Tournament game.  Plus they add two 2,000 point scorers from their respective high schools in Jarell Eddie and Tyrone Garland.  And the biggest sign of Hokie respect?  The ACC media picked VT to finish second in the conference, ahead of the might tar heels. That’s one small blow to the Philistines.

The League:  This will likely be another weak year for the league by ACC standards.  Going into last season, 10 of the 15 All-ACC players from the year before were gone, leaving a lot of holes in terms of star power in the conference.  This year is a little better – seven of the 15 All-ACC players from a year ago are back.  But four of those seven that are returning are on either duke or Virginia Tech, hence why you see them at the top of the class.

Let me breakdown the league this year from worst to first.


12. virginia

The hoos have lost 34 ACC games in the last three seasons.  They’re, uh, they’re not good.  Adding to their misery is the fact leading scorer Sylven Landesberg is gone after just his sophomore year.  He was their one big, consistent threat and gave them some star power and cannot be replaced.  Their #4 and 5 leading scorers are also gone in Jones (who also bolted) and Meyinsse, and Tristan Spurlock (who had been a 4-star recruit) decided to leave.  uva has to play duke and Virginia Tech four times, which won’t help.

Big man Mike Scott does return.  He has a wealth of talent, but like Jeff Allen, is very inconsistent.  He’s not the type of player you want as your leader.  Outside of him they don’t have a real scoring threat returning.

The good news for the handful of hoo hoops fans is they did bring in a solid recruiting class.  K.T. Harrell is their stud.  Rivals.com had him as the #30 guy overall in this past class.  He’s a shooting guard.  K.T. will have to fill the void left by Landesberg’s departure.  But even if he does, they’d only be back to where they were last year, and that was a team that went 5-11.  So things are not looking bright for uva, at least not this year until these freshmen get some experience.


11. wake forest

Just two years ago wake forest claimed the #1 ranking in the country.  Now, heading into the 2010-11 season, most predictions don’t have them in the top 10 in the ACC.  The media had them dead last.  Gone from last year’s squad are lightning bolt point guard Ishmael Smith and NBA first round pick Al-Farouq Aminu.  Both were ACC Second Team last year.  They also lost their best defender, L.D. Williams, and their top big man, Chas McFarland.  wake has just five scholarship guys back who had a combined 30 starts last year (that’s less than the number of games they played).  In contrast, VT has 166 returning starts from a year ago.

Like uva, the future is what the deacons are banking on.  They bring in four 4-star recruits plus another 3-star guy, filling out an entire lineup.  How they do this season depends on how those guys develop under new coach Jeff Bzdelik.  But freshmen tend to struggle in the ACC, and it isn’t like they have kentucky’s class of last year, or even the star-studded class they had two years ago that was more hype than substance.


10. georgia tech

I’d probably have the yellow jackets down here at #10 even if they had Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors back.  Why?  Paul Hewitt is still their head coach.  He’s the second worst coach in the league, posting a 67-93 record in ACC games in ten seasons at georgia tech.  That’s at georgia tech, in the ATL.  A great city that has to be easy to recruit to (and they do recruit very well).  Yet he’s posted just one winning record in conference play in 10 years.  How does he still have a job?  Yes, he did make it to the 2004 NCAA title game, but that was six years ago… and they lost it.  Hewitt’s ability to lose road games is legendary – they are 1-15 on the road in ACC games the last two seasons.

Gone now are Lawal and Favors to the NBA, and Zachery Peacock is also gone, leaving a gigantic hole in the low post for georgia tech.  They only return one player over 6’6″, and he’s not very good.  Two of their other bigs redshirted last year which tells you all you need to know about them.

The jackets are strong on the perimeter with Shumpert, Miller, Udofia, and Rice.  Shumpert could become a star in the ACC this year.  But those guys are turnover machines, probably thanks in large part to poor coaching.  Plus, they don’t play smart defense, taking way too many chances and giving up easy hoops.  Plus, now they have no low post presence.  All this equals Paul Hewitt’s final season at georgia tech.


9. clemson

I see clemson and bc as very similar unknowns this year, but I like bc’s returning players more than clemson’s, hence they get the nod.  clemson has a new coach in Brad Brownell.  Gone is the strangling, up-tempo press style of Oliver Purnell.  While that could be good for the tigers long term, it changes the type of players you need.  For example, forward Jerai Grant is 6’8″ but just 220, not exactly a bruiser inside.  Brownell’s system may not work with the athletic bodies Purnell coveted who couldn’t shoot to save their lives.

clemson must learn to live without their long time star, Trevor Booker who is with the Wizards.  He averaged 15.2 ppg and 8 rpg and was just a beast of a presence inside.  They have two quick, and good three-point shooting point guards in Stitt and Young.  Good guard play can carry you.  But who can they feed the ball to when they get cut off?  That will be the big question they have to answer.  Grant isn’t good at creating his own shots or scoring with his back to the basket, Tanner Smith is a very streaky shooter at guard (28% on 3’s), and Milton Jennings was a huge disappointment as a former 5-star recruit at forward.  He averaged just 3.3 ppg and 2.7 rpg last year.  If he can elevate his game under Brownell, they have a chance to vault up the standings to the #6 range.

FYI: They only brought in one recruit, a 3-star.


8. boston college

The eagles, like clemson, also have a new coach in Steve Donahue.  I like them more than the tigers because they return Joe Trapani (14.1 ppg) as a perimeter-shooting forward, and electric guard Reggie Jackson (12.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.5 apg).  They also have wing player Corey Raji (11.4 ppg).  Not many ACC teams have three returning double-digit scorers.  The eagles also have a quality shot-blocker in Josh Southern inside at 6’10”.

Had the eagles been able to keep Rakim Sanders, they really could have contended for a bye in the league.  But he bolted for fairfield along with his 11.3 ppg.  Seldom used Evan Ravenel also left.  The eagles added no recruits of note.

The eagles are experienced and I like teams with experience.  Just look at unc a few years ago, duke last year (and this year), maryland last year, and VT this year.  While Jackson, Trapani, and Raji don’t have the talent those other teams had, they also are in the ACC in a down year.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see them vault us as high as #5 in the league.  And I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish ahead of nc state…


7. nc state

The media picked the wolfpack to finish fourth in the ACC… hold on… give me a minute… I’m still laughing hysterically… OK, I think I’m better.  Word to the media – SIDNEY LOWE IS STILL THEIR COACH!!!  In his four years at the helm, state is 20-44 in ACC play.  That’s an average of 5-11, which was their record last season. They’ve lost at least 10 games in conference every year, including the year they had J.J. Hickson who is tearing it up for the Cleveland Cavs.  And you think now he’s going to start winning?  Ha!

So why is the media high on the pack?  They do return Tracy Smith, a preseason All ACC pick and a very good 6’8″ forward.  I like him.  And their three recruits coming in are absolute monsters.  They bring in two 5-stars in PF C.J. Leslie and PG Ryan Harrow, and fellow PG Lorenzo Brown was #37 overall.

But Gonzalez their point guard shoots under 40% from the floor.  In fact, five of their seven main returning players shoot under 40% and state is not known for their defense.  Also, guards tend to struggle their freshman year in the ACC adjusting to the skill and speed of the game, as well as the intensity.  So I’m not expecting much from Brown or Harrow.  Leslie may do well, but they stunk when they had Hickson with Costner and McCauley.  These guys are going to have to learn to all play together at the same positions, and based on Lowe’s track record, I’m not banking on it.  In fact, I can’t believe I have them as high as I do at #7, but the rest of the ACC is just that bad.  If I had been their AD, I would have waited until their stud recruits signed their LOI, immediately fired Lowe, hired a new guy, and tried to convince the recruits to stay.  But that’s just me.


6. maryland

Other than wake forest, no one in the ACC was hit hard by lost players than maryland.  Gone from the team that tied duke for the regular season title last year at 13-3 (yes, tied duke) are super punk (and arm-curl victim) Greasy Face-quez, forward Landon Milbourne, and guard Eric Hayes.  That’s a loss of 44 ppg, 12 rpg, and 11 apg.  That’s a lot to make up for.  But Jordan Williams is set to be a Tracy Smith-like star and Sean Mosley started every game last year and averaged 10 ppg.

The terps have struggled to recruit in the last several years and that trend continued this past offseason.  Despite the ability to sell early playing time at a basketball crazy school, they signed just one 4-star recruit of the five they inked (who would have thought VT’s recruiting would be surpassing maryland’s).  Mychal Parker was #60 overall and gives them an athletic wing player at 6’6″ that can help fill Milbourne’s void.

The key for the terps is how their guys that used to be supporting cast like Bowie, Gregory, and Tucker can step up.  I bet they will lose a couple of bad out of conference games, but Gary Williams is a good coach and knows how to beat the weaker ACC coaches in the league, as well as pull off the occasional upset.  This pick is based solely on my familiarity with Williams.  I don’t think maryland will finish any higher than this, and I think they could finish as low as 9th.


5. miami

You have to have one crazy pick, right?  There’s always one big mover each season.  And I am NOT putting nc state in that role.  So why not the c-a-n-e-s canes?  Yes, they finished 4-12 in the ACC last year.  But then they beat #5 seed wake and #4 seed VT before battling #1 duke in the semi-finals, all without Dwayne Collins who isn’t back this year anyway.

Sophomore guard Durand Scott became a money playmaker at the end of the year, beating VT almost on his own with his ability to drive.  Malcolm Grant is a big time three-point shooter, giving them a deep threat.  Inside, Reggie Johnson is really fat (295 lbs), but showed he can play in spurts and be productive.  They have a decent cast of supporting characters, too.  And they add 4-star SG Rion Brown to lessen James Dews’s loss, but you know how I feel about freshman guards in the ACC.  That said, he doesn’t have to do much since they have two good guards already.

The key is can they play the rugged, street-mugging style defense Frank Haith had them playing a few years ago?  If so, they are always a tough team to beat.  And with the ACC down again this year, someone has to finish 5th.  I could also see the canes fall as low as 9th, too.


4. florida state

It is scary to think Leonard Hamilton is now considered one of the better coaches in the ACC, but quietly he has turned the noles into one of the better programs in the ACC.  They’ve had three winning seasons in the ACC in the last five years, including two straight 10-6 seasons and a first round bye in the ACC Tourney.  They played in the ACC Tournament title game two years ago.  Hamilton’s success has been built on defense.  The noles don’t score a lot, but they also don’t let you.  And in a conference that doesn’t play much defense, Hamilton has found that as their way to win.

The noles lost probably the best true big man in the ACC, Solomon Alabi, to the NBA.  That will leave a void in the middle.  But they have had the ACC’s defensive player of the year two years in a row, and last year’s winner is back – Chris Singleton.  He is an extremely athletic 6’9″ post player who averages 10.2 ppg and 7 rpg.  Michael Snaer came on at guard as the season went along and could explode this year.  Xavier Gibson gives them a 6’11” low post player to lessen the loss of Alabi.  Kitchen is an average PG, but will be a three year starter this year.  And Dulkys gives them an outside shooting threat.

The noles also add two 4-star recruits, a PG (Miller) and a PF (White).  They don’t have to produce a lot, but can certainly add depth to an already solid club.  I see a third straight first round bye in the ACC Tournament for fsu.


3. north carolina

Harrison Barnes.  That’s what it all comes down to for the heels.  Harrison Barnes.  A guy that has never played a minute in college is the reason why the heels, who went 5-11 in the ACC last year, are picked third in the league and in the top ten in the nation.  He’s the consensus #1 recruit in the nation.  He just became the first freshman ever named a preseason All-American (yes, first team All-American… nationally).  If he can have the type of impact a fresh like Kevin Durant had at texas, unc will live up their hype.  But that’s a lot to live up to.

The heels do not return a lot of studs.  Gone is Ed Davis, their best player and a very good big man, to the NBA.  The Wear twins transferred.  Will Graves was kicked off the team.  Tyler Zeller struggles to stay healthy but should be a very good big man when he does play.  Larry Drew gets a ton of assists (6 per game), but let’s face it – he’s not even half as good as Ty Lawson was.  Drew is a distributor, but not a playmaker like Ty was.  Drew’s maturation and development will be one of the big keys to the heels’ success.  And can he hit open shots?  Kendall Marshall (a freshman from my neck of the woods in Arlington) will push Drew for time at PG if Drew struggles again this year.

The other big key for the heels is John Henson.  He was a very highly rated 5-star recruit a year ago.  But beanpole Henson struggled to make the adjustment to ACC play, though he did get better as the year went on.  If he isn’t much better than the 5.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg he had a year ago, or if Harrison Barnes is more Henson than Durant, this could be another rough year for the powder blue.  Either way, it shows the Hokies have arrived when the unc hype machine still is behind the Hokies in the preseason predictions.


The Hokies are the second best team on paper in the ACC, plain and simple.  Thank goodness the media realized that.  The loss of JT Thompson for the season and Chaney’s healthy issues hurt, but this team is still loaded and have over 300 career starts as a whole.

For more on the Hokies, see our SEASON PREVIEW.


1. duke

duke won the ACC regular season title, tournament title, and NCAA title last year.  They return two of their three best players (Singler and Smith, Scheyer is gone).  Singler could battle for National Player of the Year, and Smith is a great playmaker (what unc is missing).  They added a Seth – Seth Curry.  They have the Plumlees and Dawkins, plus Kelly.  They add a 5-star PG (Irving) and a 4-star PF (Hairston from VA).  They don’t have many weaknesses.  They are good.

If they do have a weakness, it would be in the low post.  They lost starters Zoubek and Thomas.  But neither of those guys were counted on to score.  But they were great on the glass and Thomas was solid on defense.  Kelly did not have much strength last year.  How much he’s bulked up will decide how effective he is, and the Plumlee’s are athletic bigs.  The problem for everyone else is they can’t exploit this – there aren’t many talented bigs in the ACC this year.  And duke has the experience and talent to kill you in an up-tempo or half court game.  They are good in either style.

It will be interesting to see how Seth Curry adjusts to being at duke.  His dad was the man at VT.  His bro was the man at davidson.  He was the man at liberty.  Now, he’s just the third man at best for the defending champs.  Can he play close to the level Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer played at?  Either way, duke is still loaded.  They are far and away the best team in the league on paper.  But the Hokies can make it interesting and do get the blue devils at home in their only meeting, and the Hokies do have more experience.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Around The ACC, HomeComments (0)

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