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ACC Roundup

In today's N&O, Caulton Tudor raises the question of
whether the ACC is overrated.
After UVa's loss to the London Leopards, and State's
struggle last night versus Interhoop
, a Lithuanian team, maybe it's a
fair question. But Tudor drags out the already dumb observation that
only Coach K has made the Final Four. This overlooks the fact that 6 of 9
schools have hired new coaches fairly recently, and they are building programs
but haven't had time to establish themselves fully just yet, least of all Matt
Doherty who is going to coach his first game at UNC on Friday. But the
other guys have all inherited tough situations, and they've all, Steve Robinson
and arguably Doherty excepted, improved them (having not coached at all yet, the
jury is still out, but not for long): UVa was a mess when Gillen showed up,
Barnes bailed on Clemson and left them with no talent, Herb Sendek inherited a
decade of trouble at State, and Cremins left Tech depleted.

At UNC, Guthridge's energy was criticized, but Doherty has reversed that, and
has recruited extremely well early. At FSU, Pat Kennedy had the players,
but as Robinson noted at one point, many of them were
"boneheads." His rebuilding is not huge on talent, but his
players are disciplined and tough-minded - a big change. Would anyone at
NC State prefer to go back to the pre-Sendek years?

We would argue that all of these schools are notably better off than they
were before the change, even where the record doesn't reflect it, because in
each case, programs are being built and built solidly. State is deep and
athletic, UVa is one center away from a great team, Paul Hewitt and Larry Shyatt
have begun to get better athletes in the door, and Matt Doherty has pretty much
overhauled UNC's approach. At FSU Robinson has not recruited well, but he
has a new recruiter on staff, and his talent is picking up as well.

Anyway, optimism should be picking up at each of these schools, even FSU
where no one cares.

Certainly UNC has a bright-shiny feel to things lately, with the young and
very energetic Matt Doherty running the show. It's not been an easy
transition, but he has kept his head up and worked hard, and even though the
season hasn't started, he clearly seems like the guy in charge and a guy who is
in command of the situation. The
N&O has a superb article
on his adaptation to the UNC job.

In other ACC news, Wake finally got a break, and Darius Songaila will
only miss a week with his ankle sprain.
And down FSU way, Delvon
Arrington is hoping to get his first year, which he sat out, back again.

The N&O has their annual preview up which is largely published in the
Chapel Hill News, a sister paper, and easier to find there for some
reason. They have various articles up, and you
can find them here.