2009-10 ACC Hoops – A Jumbled Freaking Mess

Over the past couple of weeks, things finally settled down enough for me to watch more ACC basketball. I leave my esteemed comrade VaWolf to give you the best ACC analysis by the numbers anywhere, but here’s how I see things.

First, every single ACC team is fatally flawed. Most in multiple areas. Duke is probably the least flawed (iffy depth and athleticism), so in the ACC’s land of the blind, the Devils are the one-eyed king. But does anyone seriously see Duke as a legitimate Final Four contender? I work with several Duke alums, and they unanimously would be less surprised to be upset in the first round. And I agree – this Blue Devil squad has “first weekend exit” written all over it.

Second, the gap between 2nd and 12th is virtually nonexistent. Having watched each school (for at least partial games) at least twice, none of them seem good to me. At all. Even when these teams have their “all cylinders clicking” games, it’s clear they aren’t on sustainable paths to success. This ACCT is going to be hell to predict. I can’t see anybody making it to the finals to get spanked by Duke – but someone kind of has to.

Third, two teams in particular have been very disappointing. I hate to point the finger at my two favorite ACC coaches – but I’m looking at you, Seth Greenburg and Oliver Purnell. Each squad has a bonafide superstar team leader (Malcolm Delaney, Trevor Booker), and enough surrounding pieces (and/or a tested system) that should provide opportunity for upward mobility in a lackluster league year. Clemson has lost 3 consecutive ACC games, including an ugly home loss to Duke (that mojo from last year has completely gone away) and an unforgivable loss to a lousy Boston College team. The Hokies unfathomably needed a last second shot to squeak by the Eagles at home, then lost decisively in Miami today. Next Saturday, these two teams meet in what could be a bubble bursting game for the loser.

Who has positively surprised the most so far? Probably Maryland and Wake Forest (each about 4-5 slots higher than expected). But each of them lost at home to William & Mary. How seriously can we really take them? Virginia has really cooled off after their hot start, and nobody ever really did take them seriously when they were still unbeaten. But Tony Bennett is showing what disciplined play and good coaching can do when conference weakness presents an opportunity.

This reminds me of a Big Ten season in the not-too-distant past. Ohio State and Michigan State were a little down (much like the Holes this year), and nobody else really rose to the top. I believe that 7 teams got NCAAT bids (and the conference SOS was thus fairly strong), but nobody had a seed better than 6th. All but said 6th seed lost in the 1st round, and they lost in round 2.

Even more subjectively, there’s just not a single ACC team that I really enjoy watching play. I suppose we’ve all been spoiled – even when one’s favorite team isn’t so good (uh, we’re pretty used to that here), ACC fans still get treated to watching basketball at its most watchable, enjoyable level. Not this year. I like watching the aforementioned Booker and Delaney, but their teams overall? Ugh.

Notice how little we’ve talked about UNC. Why? They are every bit as inconsequential as the Wolfpack this year. Welcome to our level, guys! Too bad you can’t stay longer.

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.

09-10 Basketball ACC ACC Teams

87 Responses to 2009-10 ACC Hoops – A Jumbled Freaking Mess

  1. fullmoon1 01/31/2010 at 4:55 PM #

    All this could make for a very interesting and entertaining tournament. We could have a blue free acc championship. At least we don’t have to listen to the heels this year proclaim themselves regular season champs. This post was a good read and right on the money. I have cringed at most games I have watched, even those where state is not playing.

  2. wolfmanmat 01/31/2010 at 5:25 PM #

    This what happens when underclassman go to the NBA. A league can be tops one year and then have a couple kids go to the draft and all of the sudden, you are losing the Big Ten/ACC challenge. Wake and UNC were both at #1 last year and both lost multiple early round picks. Duke lost Gerald and Elliot(not to NBA but still). This has created a void at the top….makes the games more exciting(ie. competitive) IMO, but makes the games much sloppier.

  3. BJD95 01/31/2010 at 5:50 PM #

    Clemson and Maryland are setting a new standard for ugly, sloppy play right now. Just an abomination to watch early on.

  4. 61Packer 01/31/2010 at 5:52 PM #

    If you think ACC hoops are a mess, you ought to watch the Pac 10 hoops masquerade that’s trying to pass for basketball. The Wolfpack certainly wouldn’t be tied for last in the conference if they were playing the Pac 10 teams.

    But before we determine that it’ll be a non-blue ACC tourney final or that UNC will continue to be as bad as the Wolfpack, let’s see how the second half of the season plays out. As long as K and Roy are on the sidelines, don’t ever count out Duke or UNC in basketball.

  5. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 5:54 PM #

    ..well said, you’ve pretty much summed up all my feelings this year. it makes it even worse that we aren’t in a position to jump to the top. at the beginning of ACC play i thought clemson was really going to do it this year, and duke would be better than the last decade.. but both teams appear to be much weaker than i thought. md, not a suprise for me, the beating they gave us was. i had them pegged for top four… unc was in there or atleast on the “bubble” of the top four. i had wake near that level too… aside from all that you’ve said, it is even more disheartening to watch the Wolfpack play this year… i guess it has something to do with seeing the slow start to the season we got capped by an in-person viewing against new orleans. seeing it in person helps me follow televised games better. the word vomit comes to mind. but as december passed and onto january… i felt we were getting better, which we were and still are… just not with a steep enough curve… i’m not even sure an ice cube could slide back down our progression curve. to convey my disappointment, i’m just flat out suprised at our level of play.. i credit us for improving with the kind of guards we are working with… but i guess my expectations still are too high. there’s nothing like clawing back to .500 to make me feel better. but when i watch the team play, i push that thought to the back of my mind. mainly b/c i don’t just don’t know anymore, which team is going to show up… it’s time to take the training wheels off Sid.. give us something to cheer for!!!

  6. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 5:55 PM #

    that said, i have not NIT aspirations.. but if that’s where we end up, good… and how nice would a possible unc-ch mathcup in that tourney be.

  7. VaWolf82 01/31/2010 at 6:08 PM #

    The ACCT will be entertaining…much like a 3 Stooges movie. All that fumbling and falling around is always good for a few laughs.

    I saw Seth Davis yesterday talking about how the overall poor play this year left the door open for more mid-majors than normal to make the NCAAT….however, none of the mid-majors were stepping forward to claim the available spots.

    I could easily see the ACC getting six NCAAT bids and no one left after the first weekend. There’s still time for some teams to get their stuff together; but a number of teams need to stop digging and start climbing.

    PS – Good to see you back BJD!

  8. Wulfpack 01/31/2010 at 6:20 PM #

    “But does anyone seriously see Duke as a legitimate Final Four contender?”

    Hell no, not even close. If Duke makes the Sweet 16, I will be surprised. Come to think of it, I will be surprised if ANY ACC team makes the Sweet 16.

    Duke’s loss yesterday was bad for the conference. When the 4th place team from the Big East waxes arguably your best team, there are issues. That game wasn’t even close — akin to what Nova did to the Devils in the tourney last year.

    The biggest travesty of all of this is we have, to this point, failed to capitalize on the all around shoddy play of the ACC. We’re currently where everyone picked us to be — last freaking place.

    The ONLY team I can give props to as it stands this evening (looking like Clemson will handle the Terps) is UVA. They are much better than last year. I think they are just about the only program that can claim that.

  9. whope90 01/31/2010 at 6:24 PM #

    That is why this season is so disappointing for state! This conference is weak and UNC is down and yet,other than the Duke game, we are 1-5 in the acc with more road games than home games. We may have Ryan next year,but if Duke and Carolina have the high recruits comming in with ours, then we are stuck again! Imagine if we had a good coach like gregg marshall or the ks state coach or even billy gilespe! Inept coaching and mediocare league play and the best hope fo us is NIT? Sad very sad!!
    NIT aspirations, is like hoping that the girlfriend that dumps you will maybe take you back! LOLL

  10. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 6:26 PM #

    i agree with you vawolf, six teams is not out of the question for me. .. if not a realistic prediction. teams that i see being tougher at the end of the reg season: duke, clemson, gt, fsu, and a wake/unc-ch/vt type.. md will get in i’m sure, but i just don’t think they have the toughness to win two games. i think duke will adjust and be a sweet sixteen team, clemson & fsu are the tough teams that i like in the conference.. they should do alright/win 2 unless they are seeded in a tough bracket. gt is talented, not “well coached” as most would say.. i see them winning a game or two but similar variables as fsu/clemson. then we have unc-ch, they could very well get a sympathy bid.. i was on the NCSU vs. unc-ch conversation board for the game, the next day there was an argument that they were somewhat entitled to appear in the ncaa’s b/c of the nc last year (bulldoggydo). i think wake or a “vt” is talented enough to get there… don’t know how they would fair? but i really do think the ACC gets 5-6 teams in w/out any problem. deep runs are a totally different thing though. duke is not rugged enough to survive some matchups they may see if they aren’t a #1 seed. and then we’ve got the hail mary ACC Tourney winner (NC STATE)! this is actually where i think we can excel… if we just finish strong. no matter what you say, noone can kill this dream of mine.. doubtful, but possible. it would be our luck, however, to meet up with a unc-ch non-ncaa tourney bound team in the championship… and you know the rest of the usual story… hopefully our flickering pulse turns into a raging waterfall stat…

  11. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 6:31 PM #

    unlike some others, i don’t give uva too much credit. we lost to them yes, but more importantly.. we beat ourselves, not the other way around. the other half says uva won’t stay amongst the upper half. i just don’t give them that much credit.. it doesn’t make sense to say the ACC is down and credit uva with being better.. it makes more sense to me that uva is about the same as last year, just playing weaker competition. i truly feel that there will be some stronger ACC teams by the end of the conference battles..

  12. whope90 01/31/2010 at 6:40 PM #

    Duke,UNC Maryland,Wake Forest and Clemson will be stronger and Vtech will make their NCAA run and State has to hope for the CBI!
    Is V tech really 16-3?

  13. JEOH2 01/31/2010 at 6:42 PM #

    NCAA basketball as a WHOLE is suffering this year. Watching a lot of NCAA Basketball this year, what I see is overwhelming mediocrity. Some programs are performing well Kansas, Kentucky etc but overall the middle of the Big East isn’t very good and the top of the Big East should’t scare many people…the Big 10 doensn’t have an elite team as even MSU & OSU faltered out of conference & Purdue hasn’t been elite in conference…the Big 12 is probably the strongest but Texas has been falling off, w/ only Kansas being a consistant standard bearer…the SEC besides Kentucky is, honestly, SEC basketball (aka when does football season start)…the Pac-10 is unmentionable and the mid-majors don’t have a strong “buzz team”…it’s not suprising things look bleak for the ACC…

  14. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 7:23 PM #

    well the trend i’ve noticed that is continuing this year is the toughness of the big east. i differ in opinion that the big east’s mids and upper teams are actually something to be “scared” of, f.e. duke. they got crushed yesterday. the big east has been one of the most physical conferences or one of them for the past couple of seasons. there aren’t many teams that are good enough to face one or two big east teams in their bracket and come out winning. kansas, kentucky (maybe), duke (slight chance), pac10 (doubtful), mich st (likely)… i agree about the mediocrity, but i think the big east is the one exception.

  15. john of sparta 01/31/2010 at 7:26 PM #

    +1 JEOH2….everyone sucks.
    even UK goes Zombie.
    is this Bill&Mary’s year?

  16. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 7:31 PM #

    are there really down years anymore? i’ve seen some not so good teams win nc’s.. and the most talented players often opt for the nba before staying in school long enough to really even flunk out.. i just question whether or not have “down years” or if the level of play has shifted downward in the past decade or so?

  17. Wolfy__79 01/31/2010 at 7:31 PM #

    kentucky is good/talented.. but i don’t think this is their year…

  18. Wulfpack 01/31/2010 at 7:48 PM #

    I’d have to say Kansas and Kentucky have got to be the favorites. Villanova and Syracuse are both awfully good. I also really like Michigan State. Never count out an Izzo coached team with everything on the line.

    The SEC is shaping up to be a much better conference than many expected. UK, Vandy, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Florida and South Carolina all with a chance at the dance.

  19. Wulfpack 01/31/2010 at 8:01 PM #

    “unlike some others, i don’t give uva too much credit.”

    UVA won just 4 games in conference last year and 10 games overall. At this same time last year, they were 7-9 and 1-4 in the league. I would say it’s safe to say that they have improved. They aren’t going to make the NCAA Tournament, but they are now clearly at least competitive in the league. Tony Bennett is going to get it done.

  20. MA Wolfpack 01/31/2010 at 8:28 PM #

    I’ll believe UVA has turned the corner when I see it. UVA was the 2 seed in the ACC tournament a few years ago so they have had decent teams. This UVA team is not very good, but they have Landesburg (sp?) and that gives them a chance in most games.

  21. MA Wolfpack 01/31/2010 at 8:38 PM #

    Wow, UVA has one player and no one can stop him. It shows the importance of having a key guy that can get in the lane and score off the dribble. He beat NCSU by himself in the second half.

  22. ncsukyle 01/31/2010 at 8:38 PM #

    I’m watching the UNC/UVA game right now (admittedly this is the first UVA game I’ve looked at) but they have been impressive and fun to watch, especially Landesburg.

  23. Wulfpack 01/31/2010 at 8:42 PM #

    The Cavs ae beating the tar out of the Tar Heels. Zeglinski has gone off in the second half. And their defense has been solid all night. This will be their fourth ACC win, equaling last year’s total. My guess is they will be a 3-5 point favorite over us Wednesday night.

  24. MA Wolfpack 01/31/2010 at 8:44 PM #

    Probably more than 3-5 pts if they hold on and get this win. Would love to play them coming off a big road win.

  25. BJD95 01/31/2010 at 8:49 PM #

    Wow, whoever would have thought that our home loss to UVA would look better than our home loss to UNC. These guys suck!

Leave a Reply