Four Tiers in ACC Hoops

After today’s action, all ACC teams have played 5 or 6 league games. It seems to me that some symmetry is starting to emerge. You can categorize these teams in the following groups of three:

Tier I (Excellent) – Duke, UNC, Wake Forest. All of these teams are legitimate Final Four contenders. Once the polls come out, Duke will ascend to #1 nationally, meaning that 3 Tobacco Road programs will have held down the top spot this season. So much for the “but there’s no room at the top with UNC and Duke down the road!” theory. If the small private school in Winston-Salem can do it, there’s no excuse for the large state university in Raleigh to accept second-class status.

Tier II (Good) – Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami. All of these teams should make the NCAA tourney, and I could see each of them reaching the Sweet Sixteen. As I predicted before ACC play started, Virginia Tech has indeed shaken off its typical December struggles, landing impressive road wins against Miami and then #1 Wake Forest. It’s not a talented enough group to compete for the league title, but as usual, Basketball Grobe is getting the most out of what he’s got. Miami’s loss to the Hokies assures they will come into Raleigh hungry on Tuesday night – lucky us.

Tier III (Mediocre) – Florida State, Maryland, Boston College. Meet your NIT and CBI participants. These teams are all fundamentally flawed and, especially in BC’s case, very inconsistent. These teams are very glad for the heavily populated league cellar. This tier also contains two fairly hot seats (those belonging to Leonard Hamilton and Gary Williams). It’s not comforting that NC State has suffered two double digit losses to Tier III opponents.

Tier IV (Shitty) NC State, Virginia, Georgia Tech. The largest dropoff in quality is between Tiers III and IV. These teams have beaten nobody but each other. No team has a realistic path to any post-season whatsoever. Epic meltdowns and uninspired play are hallmarks of Tier IV. Paul Hewitt saved his job (barring a league first 0-16 season) by signing Derrick Favors, and Sidney Lowe works for Lee Fowler. Dave Leitao has no such life raft available.

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.

08-09 Basketball

131 Responses to Four Tiers in ACC Hoops

  1. 61Packer 01/25/2009 at 9:58 PM #

    Tier IV?

    You mean Stage IV.

  2. TheCOWDOG 01/25/2009 at 10:06 PM #

    OK BJ, I’m still rollin’ for a bit. It’s probably gonna be a shoot out between BC and Va Tech for the 6th spot. I’ve seen about the same game time for each. They seem to me to mirror in potential the same that I see with the Pack and GT. Ya’ know, 2 universes occupying the same time and space thing.

    I can see BC hitting in the 7 hole for ACC invities. If Va Tech continues to compete and win ( they will, compete ) there is no way the commity will screw Greenburg again even if they fall a game behind BC.

    Wake win = UNC win.

  3. tvp1 01/25/2009 at 10:39 PM #

    Good list, except I’d bump FSU up to tier 2. FSU has some good ooc wins for once.

  4. redfred2 01/25/2009 at 11:01 PM #

    “If the small private school in Winston-Salem can do it, there’s no excuse for the large state university in Raleigh to accept second-class status.”

    Yeah but uh, I mean, how can we uh, it’s been that way for, for, forever, what in the world makes you think we can possibly compete with the likes of unc, Duke and, and……….W-A-K-E F-O-R-E-S-T!!! for crying out loud???!!!

    Not NC State, not the sprawling commuter school, it’s certainly no match for any of those three, nosireee.

    I remember back when there were only two at the top, and Duke wasn’t even in the picture. I wonder which other ACC school will figure a way to jump up on that top tier next?

  5. tvp1 01/25/2009 at 11:08 PM #

    ^It’s the fuhciluhties. We can’t match Lawrence Joel.

  6. MatSci94 01/25/2009 at 11:21 PM #

    We are who we thought we were.

  7. redfred2 01/25/2009 at 11:29 PM #

    ^ HA!!! Sad but true.

    Maybe it’s…

    We are who everyone else knows we are, but some of us dumb asses just can’t give it up.

  8. redfred2 01/25/2009 at 11:58 PM #

    I’m a State fan, I’m a State fan, I’m an N…CeeEEE…StaaATE Fan!!!

    I’m a State fan, I’m a State fan, and I’ll be laaaABELLED as a complete loooOOSER, with a capital L, unTILLL the day that I di…eeeEEY!!!

    Come on, EVERYBODY!!!, sing it with me now!!!

    I’m a State fan, I’m a State fan, I’m an N…CeeEEE…StaaATE Fan!!!

    And I’m go…ooING to go beEEEDDY bye now, like I should haAAVE about two hours agoOOO!!!

  9. Paramarine 01/26/2009 at 12:40 AM #

    There’s a reason why we’re in Tier IV…

    It’s because there’s not a Tier V.

  10. coppertop 01/26/2009 at 1:21 AM #

    “You mean Stage IV.”

    And there is no Stage V…

    Which could mean we can only get better? or have I been a State fan too long and said this too many times…

  11. JeremyH 01/26/2009 at 3:42 AM #

    Is it bad when you start saying “is it football season yet?” when you are a much bigger basketball fan?

  12. Gene 01/26/2009 at 6:59 AM #

    Why don’t we just kill our men’s basketball program? For all the hot water Gary William’s may be in right now, for winning or lack there of, he took over a Maryland program that was dead and led them to 12 straight NCAA tournament appearances, a National Title and an ACC title.

    As much as people focus on the National Title run, I think just getting them to be a NCAA tournament team year-in and year-out was a bigger accomplishment, considering he was vying with Les for naming rights to the play-in game, when he got to Maryland.

    Somehow watching other schools turn there program around and us in utter futility for 20 years just makes me want to scrap basketball all together.

    Heck, Wake sucked when Les got to NCSU. Dave Odom built led them to a couple of ACC titles and when he couldn’t get it done, they quickly rebuilt with Skip Prosser. After Prosser died and they just finished a last place season, Dino’s rebuilt them again into a top team.

    If other schools can rebuild last place programs into contenders and champions, there’s something fundamentally wrong with us for not being able to do it. I therefore just want to quit while we’re ahead and get rid of the basketball program.

  13. Rochester 01/26/2009 at 7:38 AM #

    I therefore just want to quit while we’re ahead

    Way, way, way too late for that.

  14. ktoh 01/26/2009 at 7:40 AM #

    Well biggest difference between us and all the other programs that sucked,is that williams and odum got the max out of their shitty teams when they first started . We get worse each year ,and don’t give me that Sid can recruit stuff. Every other team in the league has better underclassmen,take a look.

  15. Gene 01/26/2009 at 8:02 AM #

    Rochester, if we aren’t going to get better, that means it’ll only get worse. Ergo we are ahead, now, from where we will be in the future.

  16. Alpha Wolf 01/26/2009 at 8:23 AM #

    The truth is that we are perceived as a delusional fanbase with unreasonable expectations. Somehow, being in the same metropolis as Duke and UNC means that NC State cannot nor ever will be able to compete successfully. Maryland, being in Alaska, is able to recruit and to win their share against the Blue Bloods, but it is is something we will never, ever do.

    So the conventional wisdom goes.

    I too wonder why we even bother at times. In the depths of my despair I sometimes wish that we would abandon the RBC and leave the ACC to play in the Southern Conference and never play Duke and Carolina. Why be their bitch?

    Then I remember that NC State is the largest university in NC, and academically, graduates of the university are more than prepared to compete and to win against the likes of UNC and Duke’s graduates. No one tells an undergraduate at NC State that there’s no reason to work hard to excel because they will never ever be able to match wits with a Duke or UNC graduate. (Well, no one but the Wal-Mart fanboys that couldn’t find Chapel Hill or Durham on a map. You know, the ones that hope to go to Wake Tech and get an education one day.)

    There is NO reason that State cannot, at a minimum, join the ranks of Wake Forest, Maryland and Georgia Tech in building programs that not only compete but can also vie for national titles at least once a decade.

    That leaves the stark reality:

    We are who we are because we have chosen to be who we are.

    So keep those dollars coming, shut up and know that we are a top 5 program nationally in terms of money-raising. That’s the only top 5 that “management” cares about.

    Winning means as much to them as last Friday’s lunch means to you. They’ll give lip service to competing, and they will make every excuse they can when it never happens. Just as long as the dollars keep coming, they won’t care and you won’t matter. They only want to hear from you when they want you to open your wallet.

    Get used to it, it has been our reality for almost twenty years and no relief is in sight. The only way things will ever change is when the Good Ole Boys retire and new blood takes over, and even then it will be a crapshoot as to whether they value excellence or not.

  17. BoKnowsNCS71 01/26/2009 at 8:25 AM #

    I think I would move Maryland down to tier 4

  18. Wulfpack 01/26/2009 at 8:30 AM #

    I agree with the “tier” argument and was thinking along those lines watching the games unfold yesterday. Only thing I might change is drop Maryland into Tier IV because they look terrible, maybe even worse than us. Nobody moves up from Tier IV, they all stink. I think FSU has a chance to compete for a tourney bid but it’s going to be tough.

    I still think UNC will outlast Duke and Wake for the crown, but, does it really matter? I agree all three are legitimate Final Four contenders.

    Seth is doing one hell of a job at VT. Will Hewitt, Leitao and Gary Williams be sticking around? My gut says Favors may have saved Hewitt. As for the other two it’s anyone’s guess. Maryland can’t be happy with how far they have fallen. That game at Duke Saturday was an embarassment.

    I think there are some winnable games left on our schedule but it is going to take the effort we exhibited in the first half at Duke to win. At this stage our ceiling is 5 ACC wins.

  19. Rick 01/26/2009 at 8:46 AM #

    The next time our intrepid AD steps up to a microphone someone would call him and ask him why Wake Forest, with far less resources than NCSU, can succeed where he cannot.

    Let’s look at the excused Jed Clampett has used
    1) Fuuuuhcilities – we have those. Not even competitive
    2) No one can compete with Duke and UNC – Wake is not scared. They punched UNC in the mouth.
    3) LF knows basketball – Uh no. He hired a person who was not ready to coach at this level.
    4) Give them time – Time will not fix what ails this mess.

    Personally, I question whether we will ever be good a sports again. People have quit showing up to the games. No one cares. The game was on 30 minutes before I realized it and even then no one had started a game thread.

    We have started a death spiral that I do not think we can get out of.

  20. Trip 01/26/2009 at 8:58 AM #

    Move Maryland down to tier 4, that Michigan State win is looking more and more like a fluke.

    I can’t believe I thought we could go 8-8 in the ACC. Those damn close losses to Florida/Marquette led me to belief we could compete.

  21. YANCSSB 01/26/2009 at 9:36 AM #

    I don’t think you have to break your tiers down into even three-team chunks…here are my tiers:

    Tier 1: Duke, Wake, Carolina
    Tier 2: Clemson
    Tier 3: Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Boston College
    Tier 4: State, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia Tech.

    Clemson can expect to beat everyone below them, and no one above them, hence their own tier. Tier 3 is comprised of good teams that will put up WTF losses throughout the year. Tier 4 is Teh Sux.

    I have hopes and aspirations that we will play our way into Tier 3, as sad as that sounds.

  22. newt 01/26/2009 at 9:44 AM #

    When we lost to BC, my reaction was, “Man Georgia Tech is realllly bad.”

  23. graywolf 01/26/2009 at 9:48 AM #

    Tier IV?

    You mean Stage IV.

    And Lee Fowler is the doctor…….next step is the grave yard.

  24. Noah 01/26/2009 at 9:53 AM #

    If other schools can rebuild last place programs into contenders and champions, there’s something fundamentally wrong with us for not being able to do it.

    Well, yeah. Hiring a suck-ass coach will make your team fundamentally flawed.

    I also reject the meme that Lowe is some great recruiter. LARRY HARRIS is a good recruiter. But I’ve yet to see Lowe emerge as some recruiting phenom.

  25. Rochester 01/26/2009 at 9:58 AM #

    I was thinking this morning, what if we pooled some dough together and bought an ad in the Wolfpacker asking Lee to flee? A public repudiation, in print that a lot of Wolfpack fans would see. I kind of doubt the Wolfpacker would accept the ad, on the one hand. But if they didn’t, that’s a newsworthy item to spread around and might even generate more publicity.

    The key is get a lot of donors, even with little donations, so it’s not just dismissed as 50 lunatic fringers on the interwebs.

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