With ACC member school Florida State beating SEC member school Auburn 37-34 to win the national collegiate football championship, it is time for us to turn our attention to the ACC basketball season.
If you are unaware of what has happened, the ACC has upped its ante to 15 teams. New member schools Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse have entered the league with fists swinging. Notre Dame upset Duke to kick the Blue Devils out of the Top 10 for the first time since 2007. Pittsburgh started out its ACC play with a win on the road at NC State. And #2 Syracuse (15-0) opened up conference play at home by defeating last year’s ACC champion Miami.
With the new additions, the ACC has fast become the premiere conference in the nation. In fact, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the coach with the most wins in NCAA Division I history said on May 24 that these new squads meant that the ACC would “be the best conference in the history of the game.” Next year, the best will get better with the addition of last season’s National Champion, the Louisville Cardinals along with their Coach Rick Pitino.
But for now, let us concentrate on what has happened already taken place this season and let us begin by talking non-conference play. #2 Syracuse has beaten #8 Baylor and #18 Villanova. Orangemen forward C.J. Fair is leading the way averaging 18 points and 6 boards. Freshman guard Tyler Ennis is adding 12 points and 6 assists a game for the Orange. The Pittsburgh Panthers are 14-1 with their lone loss coming by a point to Cincinatti. Guard Lamar Patterson is averaging 17 points and 4 dimes per game. Notre Dame is 10-5 with losses to #3 Ohio St. and #23 Iowa.
At this rate, the ACC is up for grabs. Traditional powerhouses Duke and UNC are playing with inconsistency and everyone else seems to be a step behind with the exception possibly being Virginia. Virginia is 11-4 with a proven senior guard by the name of Joe Harris. Joe is off to a slow start, averaging 10 ppg which is 6 points less than last season. Being a senior, I expect him to find his form in conference play. #16 Duke is loaded with talent, beginning with freshman phenom forward Jabari Parker. The Blue Devils have started non-conference play with losses to #4 Arizona and #5 Kansas. Duke did defeat #22 Michigan. Jabari is averaging 20 points and 8 boards a game. UNC is the anomaly. Their enigmatic play has led to victories over #1 Michigan State, #3 Kentucky, and # 11 Louisville but also to losses against Belmont, Alabama Birmingham, Texas, and Wake Forest.
Maryland (10-6), NC State (11-4), Wake Forest (11-4), Florida St. (10-4), Clemson (10-4), Virginia Tech (8-6), Miami (9-6), Georgia Tech (9-6) and Boston College (4-11) round out the rest of the standings.
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