I go away for one weekend and the whole conference goes berserk!
OK, that’s not exactly true. Things were already starting to get pretty nutty before I left, and honestly, do things ever go like we think they will? Each year, we see teams play a few times early in the season and think we know how good they are and who they can and can’t beat. Then, each year, teams go up and down and have good and bad games and we act surprised. The only real surprise is that we get fooled again each time.
All that said, I just can’t figure out most of the teams in this league. Outside of maybe Clemson and Duke, is there a team that we know for sure about?
- Duke is undefeated and getting stronger, but everyone, coach K included, keeps waiting for them to start losing.
- Wake has looked great, but got spanked by Illinois and lost to a weak Florida State team.
- Carolina has also looked great, but their big wins over Maryland and Georgia Tech don’t look too impressive anymore, do they? In their one game against a top conference opponent, they lost.
- Is Georgia Tech a good team? Sure, B.J. Elder is good, but is he that critical? Losing to the Hokies at home? Maybe the title of the one true “Tech” is up for argument!
- Just how bad is this Maryland team? It’s starting to look like Gary has lost this team. They are selfish and fragile. One stat that stood out in that State debacle was that star point guard John Gilchrist had three assists. Maybe he should stop hanging out with Exree Hipp’s old posse.
- Is NC State good or bad? Can they only beat old-guard ACC teams? It seems like they always lose to decent non-conference teams. Maybe they didn’t realize that Miami and Virginia Tech are in the conference now.
- How good is Miami? They looked pretty tough until they ran into Duke and Carolina, but then that’s been the story for countless teams over the years. I say the Hurricanes can make the tourney.
- Has Florida State already had their one good game of the year? Was that Wake game an accurate depiction of their potential or a mirage? I’m guessing mirage.
- What’s up with Virginia Tech? Didn’t they get the memo? We asked you in for your football money. Don’t go beating us in basketball.
- Some things are sane in this world – Clemson is still Clemson. They provided Virginia with their first conference win, just like they did for Duke and Virginia Tech previously. The Tigers are like the school slut in high school – everybody’s first time.
- And then there’s Virginia. Clearly they aren’t going to live up to their early season hype, but can they fight their way to respectability? To near-respectability? They can, but I bet they’ll manage to only get on the bottom of the bubble, but then lose a critical late game to fall to the NIT.
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News says that he agrees that ACC isn’t quite as strong as people (irrationally) believed it might be, but at the same time, it’s deeper than expected. No one thought Miami and Virginia Tech would bring anything to the league, but they’ve both been surprisingly competitive. Somewhere, John Swofford is smiling a greasy smile.
Well, through it all, the hope and despair, hype and hyperbole, the season is shaping up to be pretty damn exciting. We knew it would be, but as always, it’s a little different than expected. There are no sure things this season. Except maybe Clemson.