Previewing the 2008 ACCT

Well, my predicting gut brought good mojo last year. Similarly, the Pack gets a very favorable draw (relative to seed) in 2008. Without further ado, here’s how I see it:

1. North Carolina

Realistic Chance to Win? Absolutely. I will repeat what I said last year – they are clearly the most talented team, and their depth will help them survive the rigors of tournament play. In addition, this UNC squad is much more consistent. Unless Lawson turns his ankle again (and maybe even if he does), expect the Holes to cut down the nets.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Clemson. Although UNC swept the series, they had to play flawlessly to win in Littlejohn, and catch a whole lot of breaks to come from behind in Chapel Hill. Clemson got angry instead of dispirited, and took it out on the rest of the league. I don’t think UNC would win a third matchup. Fortunately for Roy’s crew, the Tigers are on the opposite half of the bracket. Maryland beat UNC in Chapel Hill, but Carolina played terribly in that game, and the Terps are a shell of their formal selves.

2. Duke

Realistic Chance to Win? Yes. Duke is easily the most dangerous team from beyond the arc, and if they are hot on Saturday and Sunday, they will be hard to beat. The Devils also match up fairly well with Clemson and Maryland (possible Friday opponents), and should have no trouble on Friday.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Generally, physical teams that rebound and defend. But with ACC refs, that weakness will be neutralized. Greg Paulus has difficulty containing quick, athletic guards. Team with multiple such guards (like UNC) can really cause the Devils trouble. And nobody looks poised to knock UNC out before Sunday.

3. Clemson

Realistic Chance to Win? Yes. The Tigers are hungry, and playing with great confidence and determination. They are very well-coached. They have a deadly 3-point threat in Oglesby, and multiple low-post options. KC Rivers can take over a game on the offensive end. SFN will be rooting for Clemson once NC State is eliminated.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Free throw shooting, ACC refs. It’s hard to protect a lead late when you suck from the free throw line. And do the Tigers ever suck there. Cliff Hammonds is well below the 50% mark, and Clemson needs to have him in the game at crunch time for defense and ball-handling. Clemson is also very physical, which will be of more use in the NCAAT, without ACC refs.

4. Virginia Tech

Realistic Chance to Win? No. Seth Greenberg has absolutely maxed out with this team. They are tough and gritty, but will not win 3 straight against good opponents. Their best wins came against Maryland (sweep), but the Terps are on the opposite side of the bracket. VT did give Clemson a very tough fight in the season finale, so that should give them some hope. Still, it’s hard to predict a deep run without the benefit of upsets elsewhere.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Skilled offensive teams that can prevent VT from slowing the game down, teams with experienced, quick guards. UNC is a nightmare matchup, and almost certainly would await on Saturday.

5. Miami

Realistic Chance to Win? No. Miami has had a good ride under Frank Haith, and has already punched its dance ticket. Their win over Duke showed that the Canes can beat top teams. Unfortunately for them (and for fans of compelling basketball), they are on UNC’s side of the bracket, not Duke’s. Miami also lacks a second real scoring threat after Jack McClinton.

Toughest Obstacle(s): The burden of expectations, scoring balance. Miami is used to being the hunter, not the hunted. Also, if you shut down McClinton (as NC State showed in the first half in Raleigh), you shut down the Canes. If they don’t get bounced sooner, Marcus Ginyard probably does that on Saturday.

6. Maryland

Realistic Chance to Win? Very slim. Maryland is seemingly at its most dangerous when counted out. The Terps have two legitimate stars in Vazquez and Gist. Bambale Osby has great hair. Gary Williams will certainly go down fighting, screaming, and sweating.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Lack of depth and confidence. The Terps stumbled badly down the stretch, blowing significant late leads at home against both Virginia Tech and Clemson. In particular, Maryland really seemed to hang its collective head after the Clemson debacle. And can you really blame them? They lost a 20-point lead well into the second half. An easy opening round game against BC should get Maryland back on the winning track, before facing their demons on Friday against Clemson.

7. Georgia Tech

Realistic Chance to Win? No. The Jackets lack stars and offensive skill. Paul Hewitt hasn’t shown much tournament coaching acumen since GT’s Cinderella run to the national final. Seems like a million years ago, doesn’t it?

Toughest Obstacle(s): Their draw. UVA is playing much better of late, and the Cavs just beat the Jackets in Atlanta 10 days ago. If they do slip by Virginia, the Jackets’ reward is a date with Duke on short rest. Lucky them.

8. Wake Forest

Realistic Chance to Win? No. Wake has shown flashes, but is at least a year away. They have beaten Thursday opponent Florida State twice (and fairly easily each time), but never really threatened UNC in their one and only matchup. Wake would have a better shot against Duke – but once again, the upstart is on the wrong side of the bracket.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Inexperience. This applies to both the Deacon players and their head coach. Wake’s two best players are freshmen. Dino Gaudio did a good job getting the Deacons to feed off the emotional, untimely loss of Skip Prosser – but that wore off down the stretch as Wake lost winnable games and fell of the NCAAT bubble. Gaudio’s late mentor didn’t find much success in the ACCT, even with superior teams and more favorable draws.

9. Florida State

Realistic Chance to Win? No. Florida State did play UNC tough in the regular season, taking the Holes to OT in Tallahassee. The Seminoles can really get physical, and perhaps would be able to get under Hansbrough’s skin (paging Ryan Reid). Toney Douglas is the kind of player who could leave his mark on the tournament, so the Noles might at least make things interesting.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Lack of scoring depth. You might remember me saying the same thing last year. It’s still true. Florida State also showed no ability to handle Wake Forest – and they can’t make Friday interesting if they don’t have a game scheduled.

10. Virginia

Realistic Chance to Win? No. But if you want to impress your office mates by picking an underdog to make a run, the Cavs could do it. Sean Singletary is very, very good – and this is his last stand. UVA played much better in the second half of ACC play (4-4), and three of their early losses came in OT. Virginia is playing better than Maryland, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest right now.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Lack of scoring depth and inside presence. Virginia’s big men are mediocre at best, and you don’t really need to commit to stopping anyone other than Singletary. Virginia also gave UNC a much better fight than it did Duke. Once again, wrong side of the draw – sensing a pattern yet?

11. Boston College

Realistic Chance to Win? No chance in hell. Tyrese Rice is phenomenal, but you can’t even charitably call his supporting cast mediocre. Maybe they can play spoiler to Maryland, and set up an easy road to the semis for Clemson.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Momentum, every position other than PG. The Eagles lost 12 of their last 13 ACC games, with their only win a home blowout of last-place NC State. Enough said.

12. NC State

Realistic Chance to Win? No chance in hell. The Pack has a great draw for the first 2 rounds, improbably facing teams that it didn’t lose to this season, including the only ACC team State comfortably beat this season (Virginia Tech). On the 5% chance that the Pack shows up motivated and ready to play, it could conceivably get to Saturday before being crushed by UNC. Those 2 wins would be enough for an NIT or CBI bid, however. Yay. The Pack played 55 good minutes of basketball against Duke this season – but again, wrong side of the bracket.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Apathy, lack of quickness, turnovers, defensive ineptitude, poor coaching. We have chronicled these problems all year, and there’s no reason to expect a magical turnaround this late in the game. It’s 95% likely that Miami plays Dr. Kevorkian to the 2007-08 season, in runaway fashion. Did you know that Dr. Death is out of prison and planning to run for Congress? You learned something today, didn’t you?

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

07-08 Basketball

58 Responses to Previewing the 2008 ACCT

  1. Trip 03/13/2008 at 2:32 AM #

    I wouldn’t throw anyone out in this tournament, a lot of teams are fighting to dance, and some teams are hopefully fighting for pride. *cough* NCSU *cough*

  2. Avid109 03/13/2008 at 5:01 AM #

    “…fighting for pride?” Our guys? C’mon.

    I expect them to fold up their tents and head home.

  3. wolfonthehill 03/13/2008 at 5:14 AM #

    Beat me to it, Avid.

    Our team hasn’t shown pride since… well… a month. They look more like a team ready to just fade away from the spotlight and get on with their lives.

  4. LRM 03/13/2008 at 6:15 AM #

    “On the 5% chance that the Pack shows up motivated and ready to play…”

    I won’t even believe they actually bothered to drive to Charlotte until I see them on the court.

    Besides, I can’t stomach the thought of losing to Carolina a third time this season.

  5. vtpackfan 03/13/2008 at 6:18 AM #

    In all probability we go out looking like chumps today.

    You don’t lose the last 8 and then play the “new season card” for any other reason then it’s been 25 years since the “Cardiac Pack” so hopefully V appreciates the dream.

    I’m hoping & praying for 2 W’s this week. I want to make one of these lesser tournaments. More for “Terd” Fergueson, Javy’s, and Tracy’s growth then anything else (also give JJ a chance to increase his draft standing thus increase his salary. Let him make the $$ and lets move on with our lives).

    No way in heck any tournament save the over 30 YMCA mens touch this team with an invite if they go down today.

  6. Trip 03/13/2008 at 6:22 AM #

    ““…fighting for pride?” Our guys? C’mon.

    I expect them to fold up their tents and head home.”

    Like I said, hopeeeefully.

    You know, if this team somehow pulled off a 4-day upsetathon I’m just going to say that Sidney can freaking coach in a tournament, he might suck it up during the regular season, but watch the hell out if we’re in your bracket in whatever YMCA tournament we show up in.

  7. mafpack 03/13/2008 at 7:01 AM #

    “but watch the hell out if we’re in your bracket in whatever YMCA tournament we show up in”

    Dear God we’ll have those 13 year olds running scared won’t we Trip? 🙂

    But then they’re coach will show them game footage of the first UNC debacle and they’ll feel much better – “Shoot coach, even we can score more than 13 points in one half!”

    In all seriousness though, I’d love to see a few post-season wins and lots of playing time for some of our younger/hungrier players. Nuff said.

  8. Rochester 03/13/2008 at 7:03 AM #

    Never know. McClinton could come down with food poisoning or something.

    I’m not going to make any predictions, because I don’t want to predict against the Pack. I’ve got my Wolfpack gear on today and am counting down until I leave early to go home and watch it all unfold. By the law of averages maybe we’ll shoot 80 percent today and even out some of the misses over the last month. Heck, if we even get shots off on 80 percent of our possessions that might spell a victory.

  9. Anthony Grundy 03/13/2008 at 7:08 AM #

    As dumb as this may sound, we could beat UNC as long as the general rotation is as follows: Fergie, Smith, McCauley, Fells, Grant, Hickson, Javi. I went out on a limb and predicted the same before our last game against Duke (well i omitted Javi, but still think he’s backup pg at best in the ACC). Regardless, I still think we would have won if Costner had not played. Essentially, why can’t we just ommit MJ and Costner from stepping foot on the floor. Even Harris should play over Costner. Harris actually looks like he can play although i’ve only seen him play for 10 minutes over the entire season.

    I’m stuck at work today, so i won’t even get to watch todays game. I really need State to win so i can see at least one more game this season.

  10. Afterglow 03/13/2008 at 7:14 AM #

    Next Colorado Powerball Drawing is $275,000,000 with an estimated annuitized jackpot cash value $135,700,000. The Pack winning the ACC Tournament and an NCAA Championship… priceless.

    I’m gonna buy a ticket just because I think I have a better chance of winning this lotto than the Pack does of winning the ACC Tournament and NCAA Championship this year. I suppose if either proves me wrong, I’ll be a happy man.

  11. Sweet jumper 03/13/2008 at 7:24 AM #

    GO PACK!

  12. LRM 03/13/2008 at 7:25 AM #

    For everyone that thinks going to the NIT will help the younger guys improve, I’m just curious what evidence this theory is based on. Certainly not last year.

    I’d rather us lose miserably today or tomorrow, the same way we have all season — listless, yielding, and half-heartedly — and then everyone can stew over just how embarrassing this season was for everyone involved. Go home dejected, demoralized losers.

    Maybe that would get through to them for next year.

    Lose the battle, win the war.

  13. CarnifeX 03/13/2008 at 7:28 AM #

    “Bambale Osby has great hair. Gary Williams will certainly go down fighting, screaming, and sweating.”

    Best. Maryland. Preview. Ever.

  14. Rochester 03/13/2008 at 7:36 AM #

    LRM has a good point, though I do hope we win because I’m so sick of watching us lose. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to enjoy a win.

    Still, if a hot streak this week gives anyone a false sense of security going into the offseason it’s not worth it. Even an ACC title can’t disguise the abomination we’ve suffered through. Every coach and player needs to step up next year or this will keep happening.

  15. Anthony Grundy 03/13/2008 at 7:40 AM #

    Afterglow, I bought 5 powerball tickets last night and obviously I won nothing. I guess I’m just overly optimistic like Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber when he played the role of Loyd Christmas.

    Lloyd Christmas: What are the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me…ending up together?

    Mary Swanson: Not good.

    Lloyd Christmas: You mean not good like one out of a hundred?

    Mary Swanson: I’d say more like one in a million.

    Lloyd Christmas: So you’re telling me there’s a chance? Yeah! I read ya.

    if you haven’t seen the movie, you should: here’s the clip for those who have lived in a cave for the last 2 decades:

  16. Rochester 03/13/2008 at 7:55 AM #

    Watching that clip, Jim Carrey’s haircut slightly reminds me of Javi’s.

  17. Dr. BadgerPack 03/13/2008 at 8:17 AM #

    LRM, for what it’s worth last years NIT run was a different beast I think. The opportunity to improve was certainly there, but wasn’t particularly realized since the whole run was based on riding the ONE senior (Atsur), who happened to be the PG. When 1 guy is making/creating all of the plays, then matriculates you’re back to square one. So, the potential for growth exists this year with PGs and other young players (who have to varying degrees demonstrated the capacity to improve). I think the only real way to get the improvement though would be to get a tough NIT road game or two and perform well (road games shouldn’t be a problem, the seed would blow if we made it in).

    Osby’s hair does indeed rock. It’s larger than I am tall.

    When (and yes I say WHEN) this team implodes in the ACC tourney, I hope Sid sticks Gavin and 4 freshmen/sophomores out on the court to ride it out. The one thing I don’t want to see is Gavin on the sideline at the end, unless it is his choice (not bloody likely).

  18. Rochester 03/13/2008 at 8:21 AM #

    I can’t see us getting an NIT bid unless we make it to Sunday. We barely made it last year, and that was with the world tuning in to Red Jacket mania. The NIT is required to take conference regular season champs who don’t win their tournaments (offhand not sure how many there are this year), and then fill out with at-large teams who most likely didn’t lose eight in a row at any stretch during the year. One or two wins won’t get us there.

  19. RAWFS 03/13/2008 at 8:26 AM #

    Clemson: Realistic Chance to Win? Yes.

    I would put that up there with Virginia’s run in 1976 if it happens. Why? Checked Clemson’s historical record in the ACCT? Typically, they come for a day and head back home the same night.

  20. Dr. BadgerPack 03/13/2008 at 8:37 AM #

    I don’t particularly like this author, but this is mildly entertaining stuff- and relevant in that this is an ACC-Tourney thread.

  21. CarnifeX 03/13/2008 at 8:43 AM #

    ^ that guy is a slightly more successful Barry Sanders. Don’t feed the trolls.

  22. CarnifeX 03/13/2008 at 8:45 AM #

    ha! Sanders, Saunders…HUGE difference. sorry, will proofread next time.

    Mike Freeman can’t hold a match to Barry Sanders; however I imagine he and Barry Saunders have quite a few things in common.

  23. BJD95 03/13/2008 at 8:47 AM #

    It’s a new day at Clemson under Oliver Purnell. Not sure history is going to hold them back this time. This will sound like heresy, but I think Purnell might even be a better coach than Barnes (just doesn’t recruit as well). I wish they played UNC in the semis instead of Duke. They would win.

    If I had press credentials, I would vote “Bambale Osby’s Hair” for the all-tournament team.

  24. packgrad93 03/13/2008 at 8:47 AM #

    from an article today:

    “Costner said he definitely would back at NCSU for his junior season.”

  25. RAWFS 03/13/2008 at 8:51 AM #

    Everything is a conspiracy to guys like that. He probably believes in “The Plan” too.

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