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The ACC : Coming Down the Home Stretch

Since we just recently crossed the halfway point in yet another ACC season we thought we’d do a little look-see at where things stand.

1. A Down Year : The other night, I just couldn’t seem tear my bleeding eyes away from the slow-motion train-wreck that was the Georgia Tech-Miami game. Let me put this in perspective. Miami turned the ball over 28 times and hit 1 shot from the floor over a 12 minute stretch in the second half…and WON. Conversely, Tech shot 15 % from the floor in the first half and 27% for the game, and still came within a shot of winning. It had to be seen to be believed, but you’re probably better off taking my word for it. Suffice it to say (as if any of you needed to be told), the ACC ain’t a very good conference.  Just take a look over at the Big East, where teams that are ranked in the top 10 nationally aren’t even in the top 5 of the conference, if you want to remember what things used to be like around here. Here are Ken Pomeroy’s RPI rankings for the teams as of today:

  1. Duke - 4
  2. UNC - 11
  3. FSU- 45
  4. VT-24
  5. Clemson-33
  6. BC-68
  7. Maryland-19
  8. Miami - 69
  9. NC State -88
  10. Virginia-113
  11. GT-93
  12. Wake - 255

Just, four years ago the ACC finished the year with just 3 teams rated outside the top 45 and none above 90. ( the best RPI year since expansion, for full disclosure) And while the Kpom ratings have the ACC as the fourth ranked conference overall, it’s clear that from top to bottom the play in the ACC is about as far away from that of the Big East, Big Ten and Big Twelve, as one could imagine. 

2. Who Will Make it to the Dance? The consensus amongst most of the professional speculators that I’ve heard is that a maximum of 5 teams will make it in to the NCAA Tournament from the ACC this year. UNC and Duke are the givens, while Florida State, with the loss of Chris Singleton for the rest of the year with a broken foot, moves to the category of “borderline” given.They have 3 very winnable games left on their schedule, so it’s still likely they will finish with 10 wins in conference. That leaves those likely final spots up for grabs between this gaggle of mediocrity :VTech(6-4), Clemson(6-5), and Maryland (5-5) and BC(6-5). ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has 5 ACC teams in, with BC and VT in and Maryland and Clemson out. .At the moment, I’d have to agree, although there really is very little separating these teams. The only decent win amongst the lot of them is BC’s victory over Texas A and M. There are several upcoming matchups between these 4 that may decide things. The remaining schedules for all 4 are pretty comparable and it’s easy to see how any of them could end up with 9 wins, so it may come down to their performances in the ACC tournament.

3. How Bad is Wake Forest ?  Bad. Real Bad. The four teams ranked just ahead of them on KPom are : Eastern Michigan, Missouri KC,Campbell, and Texas Southern. In the last 8 years only 2 AC teams have been ranked lower than 100 and none lower than 117. The Deacs are at 255. In ACC play their turnover and rebounding margins are both -4. They are historically awful. And UVA will have the dubious distinction of having lost to them. zoikes.

4.Why Isn’t Maryland Better Than They Are? Maryland has ACC ranks of 3rd in scoring offense, 5th in scoring defense, 2nd in scoring margin,1st in FG%, 2nd in FG% defense…you get the picture.Usually a great shooting, good defensive team is at least threatening to make a run for the top spot in the conference. Not to mention they have, Jordan Williams, the ACC’s best inside player. What gives? I guess Gary isn’t yelling enough…If they need a good run in the ACC tourney to qualify, don’t put it past Gary to coach em’ up.

4.All-ACC Speculation: At this point… First Team - Nolan, Kyle, Jordan Williams, Reggie Jackson, Malcolm Delaney Second Team - Iman Shumpert, Tyler Zeller,Joe Trapani, Chris Singelton,Jeff Allen    Third team - Malcolm Grant, John Henson,Reggie Johnson,Jerai Grant, Demontez Stitt

POY - Nolan, Freshman of the Year - Travis McKie WFU ( though it will be given to Harrison Barnes regardless of who does what)

5. Games to Watch   :  UNC vs Maryland Feb 27th,  UNC @ FSU March 2nd,  UNC vs Duke March 5th,  VT @ Clemson March 5th