Posted on 19 January 2010.
When men’s NCAA Division One Basketball is brought up in conversation, there are always the obvious schools that are mentioned. Duke, North Carolina, UCLA of old and Kentucky. When the topic of strongest conference is discussed, the ACC is a shoe-in for the nations best.
Over the last decade, the ACC has won four of the ten total Men’s Division One National Championships. Duke and Maryland once each and North Carolina twice have been the representation for the ACC this decade. Below is a short breakdown of how each ACC school prepares to start the new decade off on the right foot.
North Carolina (12-6, 1-2)- After starting the season 8-2, the Tar Heels find themselves 12-6 and a scarce 2-4 against AP Top 25 teams. Turnovers have been the downfall of Roy Williams’ squad. Falling all the way to number 23 in the nation, the Tar Heels find themselves with 13 straight ACC games left on their schedule which they are 1-2 against already. Hopefully the Tar Heels can turn around this rut and at least make good conversation about defending their 2009 title.
Duke (15-2, 3-1)- Standing high and mighty at number six in the nation, the Blue Devils haven’t had to much to complain about. Other than being notorious for collapsing when it matters, Coach K and his Dukies are 3-1 in the ACC and only find themselves a half game back of the University of Virginia. Averaging close to 86 points a game has to be something the Blue Devils like coming down the stretch. It’s up to the Cameron Crazies to help their Blue Devils win a big one when it matters most, March.
North Carolina State (12-6, 1-3)- The highlight of the season for the NC State Wolfpack has to be beating a ranked Florida State team on the road. At 2.5 games back in the conference, you cannot count out the Wolfpack to make a late season run, but hosting Duke, then going to Maryland only to come back home and play UNC isn’t what most players would like to plan for. Expect North Carolina State to finish strong, but still towards the bottom of the ACC.
Virginia Tech (14-3, 1-2)- Seth Greenburg has been making progress with the Hokies over the last few years. Impressively 14-3 this season and being a school mentioned for the top 25, this year’s Hokies aren’t going down without a fight. Beating such teams as Miami, Seton Hall and Penn State are notable wins that vouch for their long desired top-25 rank. Expect an upset from the Hokies come March time.
Miami (Fl) ((15-3, 1-3))- Winning 15 of their first 16, the Hurricanes have lost their last two. Yes, both loses were to ACC foes, but Miami still has their eyes set on a first ACC title. Miami hopes to beat last place Boston College at home after losing to them on the road earlier this season. The Hurricanes will again the crack the top-25, but it’s unlikely we will see them in the field of 65.
University of Virginia (12-4, 3-0)- The Cavaliers are the current school sitting on top of the ACC at a solid (3-0). However, it’s far from safe up there with Duke only a half-game out. The Cavs have won their last nine straight including big wins over Miami, Georgia Tech and NC State. Although it is still early, this year’s UVA squad looks like they might give UNC and Duke a run for their ACC money.
Clemson (15-3, 3-1)- Posting a 15-3 overall record so far this year, the 16th ranked Tigers are also just a half-game back in the conference. Recently coming off a narrow win against NC State and a monster 19 point win over UNC, the Clemson Tigers are for real. Clemson will easily be around come March, but this doesn’t come as a surprise to basketball fans nation wide.
Boston College (10-8, 1-3)- Despite being an ACC worst 1-3 in conference, the Eagles are still above .500 at 10-8. Losing their last three, the future does not look any brighter. The U, then the Hokies and finally Clemson round out the next three games for the struggling Eagles. Obviously we will not see a March appearance, but a winning record is still an option.
Georgia Tech (13-4, 2-2)- In my eyes, the Yellow Jackets are the most fun team to watch. Ranked 18th in the nation, Georgia Tech is constantly playing to the level of their opponent. Even though this is not a winning plan, it’s fun to watch close games. Their next game is against Clemson which is sure to be a good conference match-up. Keep your eyes out for the game on January 19th at 7:00 p.m.
Maryland (11-5, 2-1)- Only one game back in the ACC, the Terrapins of Maryland are still trying to get back to their 2002 National Championship ability. Only five players on the roster average 15+ minutes for Maryland this year. They’re 11-5 overall now, but eventually these starters will not be able to get it done day in and day out.
Wake Forest (12-4, 2-2)- The Demon Deacons are an impressive 12-4 so far this season, but the story has been there lack of ability to get it done in big road games. Yes, going into Duke, Miami and Purdue is difficult, but William and Mary? Like every season, Wake will figure their style out and start playing good basketball. I’d love to see this team play down the stretch come Madness time.
Florida State (14-4, 2-2)- The Seminoles have a serious love-hate relationship about being ranked. Bouncing in and out of the top 25, Florida State stands at a strong 14-4 record in 2010. Playing Georgia Tech in their next match-up will be a true test of character for the boys from Tallahassee. Being able to defend big time scorers is a key to the Seminoles game only allowing an average 59.8 point-against to lead the ACC.
Each team in the ACC has their upsides and their downsides, but every team in the conference has something in common; all 12 teams currently stand with a winning record to show for their hard work. Also something that needs to be noted is that each ACC team has a win in-conference showing the level of competitiveness up and down the East Coast.
It may not be an ACC team hoisting the trophy at the end of March this year. Something I can assure you of is that it will be an ACC team that ruins your bracket and makes you rethink your entire game plan for next year.