People talk about the SEC, the Big 12, the Big 10, the Big Eastand and
also the PAC 10 as being periodically as good as the ACC, which is true, and
sometimes they're better. But rarely are they more
Generally speaking, the teams that are supposed to win do win, and the story
lines are passably interesting. The ACC always has something great to talk
about, though, and Sunday was no exception. First, UNC barely squeaked
by Binghamton, a program which has precisely 9 D-1 games under its
belt. Kris Lang left the game sick to his stomach, and we're guessing a
lot of UNC fans did as well. In fairness,
Binghamton was kind of cool. We only saw bits of the game, but we did see
some sharp three point shooting, and a 7 foot Alaskan who was making steals on
the perimeter. That probably indicates a serious malfeasance on UNC's part
People are starting to talk, though. The fans have been buzzing, both UNC and
ABC fans, but now the buzz is spreading more to the media as well. Not too
long ago, the sentiment was give them time, but now at least one person in the
working press is more skeptical. Hermann Wendorff says it's
not to late to lie on his resume. Eddie Landreth is warning now of a long season as well.
Not to be mean about it, but a few random thoughts about UNC as currently we
know the team:
- After Duke and UNC both played the EA All Stars, there was a radical swing
in +/- margin. What will it be when UNC plays NC A&T?
- What will Virginia and Maryland do to this team? Both are dedicated to
pressing and running, and love the three point shot. Juan Dixon will have to
take lubricant for his elbow.
- Is this the year Clemson wins at Chapel Hill?
The urge is to blame it on Guthridge, and to look at how seriously he blew it
by not taking Jason Williams, who was keenly interested. But whatever you
want to say about Gut, it's not as if Doherty is blameless. Yes, his team
is young. But they still don't defend well, they don't pass well, and they
don't always take smart shots. Consider: Binghamton nearly won shooting
34%. A barely D-1 team shooting 34% almost
beats UNC? There's no way to call it anything but what it is - a high level
The other significant thing is that no one will buy the mystique anymore. Do
you think Clemson is worried about playing in Chapel Hill? We're not saying
(yet) they are a lock to win, but are they scared? Heck no. Why should they be?
Finally, one last point on
UNC. Our theory is that some strange force ties Duke and UNC together and
each acts at times as a doppelganger for the other. Is this UNC's
'95? Duke football provided great comfort as a new coach came in and
offered great encouragement while the basketball team died a painful death.
But even more interesting is the Capel tradition.
Jeff Capel, a decent human being and all around nice guy, came in and played
for a championship his freshman year. After that, things blew up. Only once did he experience a win against UNC. Most
of his career was about rebuilding the program after 1995.
In Jason Capel's case, things were somewhat better, but reversed: he has
beaten Duke one time in his career, to keep that parallel going, and played in
Final Fours before enduring this hellish season. We haven't heard anyone we take
seriously suggest that this UNC team can beat Duke. Given the rivalry, we never
rule it out, but it seems somewhat a stretch at the moment.
To top it off, no pun intended, 7-7
Neil Fingleton was busy filling out transfer papers as Kris Lang was
Georgia Tech continues the weird Sunday deal by
upsetting Syracuse, which falls to 1-2 in the ACC after being previously
undefeated. Don't write us - we know they're in the Big East. Get a humor
Like State, Tech didn't just beat Syracuse,
they took them to the woodshed. Well, considering that Syracuse was
previously a Top 10 team, anyway.
Wake provided what
little sanity there was Sunday, doing what everyone expected, namely
beating FSU. No matter what the other conferences do, it won't
be as interesting, and people won't care as much, either. We are the ACC, and
damn does it feel good to call this conference home.