Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ACC basketball lacking at the top

A look at The Associated Press' men's basketball Top 25 in Tuesday's newspaper demonstrates that the ACC has a lot of work to do to gain national respect this season.

Just three ACC teams - No. 8 Duke (7-1), No. 11 North Carolina (7-2) and No. 24 Georgia Tech (6-1) - are in the Top 25 one week after the ACC lost 6-5 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the Big Ten's first win in the 11 years of the event.

The Big East, which is the conference ACC fans like to say they're battling for national supremacy in basketball, has three teams (Villanova, West Virginia and Syracuse) in the top seven alone - ahead of all the ranked ACC teams.

The Big 12 has the top two teams - No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Texas - and four ranked teams overall. The SEC - which just finished a shellacking of the ACC in the football rivalries in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina - has three top-10 teams (Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida) and four Top 25 teams.

And the Big Ten has used its success in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge to get four teams ranked. Wisconsin, which owns wins over ACC members Duke and Maryland in recent weeks, made its season debut in the poll this week at No. 20.

Only the struggling Pac-10, with only Washington in the Top 25, has fewer ranked teams than the ACC among the so-called power conferences.

The bad news for the ACC is that a Clemson team picked third in the conference preseason media poll isn't living up to that prediction. With K.C. Rivers and Terrence Oglesby gone from last season's team, the Tigers lack the perimeter shooting to draw defenders and clear space for powerful post player Trevor Booker to operate in the lane. Clemson has quality wins over Butler and South Carolina, but appeared uninspired in a loss to Texas A&M and suffered an incredible collapse against Illinois after leading by 23 at home in what turned out to be the decisive game of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Maryland also has failed to deliver for the ACC in losses to Villanova, Cincinnati and Wisconsin, all of which are ranked. None of those defeats will take the Terrapins out of NCAA Tournament consideration, but they're missed opportunities for marquee nonconference wins. With Gary Williams at the helm and a veteran backcourt featuring Greivis Vasquez, Maryland could have done itself and the ACC a favor by winning at least one of those games.

The ACC has had some pleasant developments, too. Miami (8-1, with its lone loss against conference foe Boston College) has played an easy early schedule but managed to defeat South Carolina and Minnesota. Miami, Duke, Florida State and N.C. State all won early-season tournaments. N.C. State (at Marquette) and Wake Forest (at Gonzaga) both pulled off unexpected road wins over quality opponents over the weekend. North Carolina coach Roy Williams appears to be steeling his young team for the NCAA Tournament with nonconference games against four teams (Texas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Michigan State) ranked No. 12 or higher. And N.C. State, which was picked in the preseason to finish last in the ACC, received three points in this week's AP voting.

But what appears to be emerging is a league that possesses excellent depth without a lot of Top 25 talent and without a top-five team. In other words, ACC basketball is resembling ACC football.

Anybody who follows ACC football knows that's not a good thing.

Ken Tysiac

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let me make a correction and a comment. First of all, I would have said "The ACC is the conference Big East fans like to say they're battling for national supremacy in basketball" instead of the other way around. Secondly, while the the ACC is obviously not strong at the top in football on a national basis, the depth of the league ahd the competitive games have made it fun to watch.

Big D Tarheel said...

Every year the "talking heads" talk about the lack of depth in the ACC - they say it is too top heavy. Well, now there is a chance for the conference to be decent/balanced from top to bottom and THAT seems to be a problem. There is no pleasing most sports writers. They are just looking for the "angle" - something to write about. That is fine - that is their job. I'm a Carolina fan - and I love it when the Heels dominate. I love the years (see 05/09) when no one can touch us. But, those years are few and "not far" between LOL! Seriously, the ACC is fine and it will play out over the course of the year. And, if not, well it's just one year. Welcome Harrison Barnes!!! Go Heels!!

Big East smells like Garbage said...

Everyone watch out for Georgia Tech cause they'll figured out how to get Derrick Favors more looks and he's a monster! Having said that, the Big East's Shit is real weak. The Big 10/ACC Challenge was a fluke, Clemson won't collaspe that way at the end of the season. Once ACC play starts these team's will all become hard-nose and truly battle tested. No cupcake squads like in the Big 10/East. Want proof that ACC is better? Look at their pro's, hell look at just Carolina's or Duke's alone. Not to mention all the WACK ASS players that have played in Big East and I know we've had our Kris Lang's, but explain Eric Devendorf

Anonymous said...

So Duke and UNC are carrying the conference again.... WHAT ELSE IS NEW?!?!?! Its been this way the past 20+ years, how is this news?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Duke, for actually cracking the Top 10. This is embarrassing.

I agree with 8:46, Tech should make noise this year...and might have the most talent in the whole conference.

Basketballhoopsoutdoor said...

The bad news for the ACC is that a Clemson team picked third in the conference preseason media poll isn't living up to that prediction.

Read more: http://aboverim.blogspot.com/2009/12/acc-basketball-lacking-at-top.html#ixzz0uxcknzaw

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