Friday, November 6, 2009

ACC Preview


The Atlantic Coast Conference had an exciting campaign last season, starting with the fact that it was home to the national champions, North Carolina. The conference as a whole received seven bids to the NCAA Tournament, and two more that just missed and were relegated to the NIT. After the Tar Heels, eight teams finished within four games of each other for second place, leading to an exciting finish to the season. This year, UNC and Duke are likely to be atop the league, but after that, it's wide-open. There are really no guarantees this year, and there will be up to 10 teams fighting for bids to the NCAA Tournament come March. One of the reasons for that is that the ACC might have lost more talent than any other league -- from North Carolina's stars and Wake Forest's duo to Florida State's Toney Douglas and Miami's Jack McClinton. A team to watch will be Georgia Tech, which could be one of the most improved teams in the country, and might have the most talent in the league. The league pecking order won't be decided until early March, which bodes well for the conference.

Player of the Year: Kyle Singler, F, Duke

Newcomer of the Year: Derrick Favors, F, Georgia Tech

All-Conference Team:
G- Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
G- Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
F- Ed Davis, F, North Carolina
F- Kyle Singler, Duke
F- Trevor Booker, Clemson

Second Team:
G- Jon Scheyer, Duke
G- Sylven Landesberg, Virginia
F- Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
F- Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
F- Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech 

Third Team:
G- Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech
G- Michael Snaer, Florida State 
F- Deon Thompson, North Carolina
F- Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech
C- Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Projected Order of Finish

1. North Carolina: The defending national champions lose four starters and three first-round draft picks, but they still have the deepest and most talented frontcourt in the country. Point guard is the big question. Prediction: NCAA
2. Duke: The Blue Devils lack backcourt depth and a go-to post player, but Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler are experienced and form one of the best tandems around. Nolan Smith has to step up as a scorer. Prediction: NCAA
3. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are poised to make an enormous leap from last place behind the arrival of freshmen Derrick Favors and Mfon Udofia, and the return of Gani Lawal and Iman Shumpert. Prediction: NCAA
4. Clemson: The Tigers are looking to take the next step and advance in the NCAA Tournament. Big man Trevor Booker is a load down low, but several role players need to step up and become productive. Prediction: NCAA
5. Maryland: The Terrapins finished last season on a high note, and will carry that momentum over to this season. Greivis Vasquez is an all-around star at guard, and two newcomers will try to solve the post problem. Prediction: NCAA
6. Wake Forest: With the loss of draft picks Jeff Teague and James Johnson, the Demon Deacons will take a step back in the ACC. However, Al-Farouq Aminu returns, and he is poised to become a star. Prediction: NCAA
7. Florida State: The Seminoles lose do-everything guard Toney Douglas, but freshman Michael Snaer will replace him. Frontcourt playears Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton are ready for breakout seasons. Prediction: NCAA
8. Boston College: Never count the Eagles out, even when they lose a talent such as Tyrese Rice. Joe Trapani leads a solid crop of returnees, including wings Rakim Sanders and Corey Raji. Prediction: NIT
9. Virginia Tech: The Hokies have one of the best inside-outside combos in the country in Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen, but they couldn't make the Big Dance with those two and scorer A.D. Vassallo. Prediction: NIT
10. Miami (Fl.): At times last season, Jack McClinton was the only option for the Hurricanes. Now that he is gone, who will provide scoring? Freshman Durand Scott is solid, but someone else needs to step up. Prediction: CBI/CIT
11. Virginia: New head coach Tony Bennett is ready to bring his slow-down style to the ACC, and he has a spectacular scorer in Sylven Landesberg to help ease him in. Tristan Spurlock is an impact frosh. Prediction: No Postseason
12. North Carolina State: The Wolfpack finishing last is the only guarantee I will make for this wide-open league. They lose their top three scorers from last season, and will undoubtedly struggle. Prediction: No Postseason

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