Going into the exam period, how is the ACC doing? Well, overall, the
conference is 36-8 against outside competition. Of those losses, two are to
Indiana (Uva and Maryland), and one to Notre Dame (Terps). Florida State
lost by 1 to Florida, Georgia Tech lost by 1 to Minnesota, UNC was clobbered by
Illinois and Kentucky, respectively, though Virginia beat the Wildcats. Virginia
also lost to Michigan State. Those are all solid teams, and all, overall, good
things on which to build an argument for the NCAA tournament selection committee.
Most importantly, record aside, so far no one genuinely sucks. The
North/South split that has been there over the last few years (south of
Charlotte the conference collapsed) has gone away, as Clemson is 4-0 for the
first time in forever, Tech has one of the nation's best freshman in Chris Bosh,
and Florida State is showing a lot of spine. Michael Joiner is shooting an
astonishing .722 percent from the floor, incidentally.
The closest things to disappointments are UNC and Maryland, and that's
relative. In UNC's case, they had two tough losses, but after last season,
big whoop. The team has potential. And in Maryland's case, as of now at
least, they are far off of last year's pace at this point and soft in the
middle. But it's not like they're pathetic.
At the beginning, UVa looked like a team which could be shaky, but in Hawaii,
they righted themselves, and it will be fun to see where they go from
here. Could still go either way, in our opinion.
N.C. State has more offense than it has had in a long time with Marcus
Melvin, Scooter Sherrill, and Julius Hodge. And Wake Forest is puttering
along at 3-0 despite a very young team. Their win at Wisconsin was
impressive for this early for such a young group.
Rashad McCants and Chris Bosh are the early favorites for Rookie of the Year,
with Bosh pulling double-doubles on a nightly basis, and McCants almost leading
the conference in scoring at 20.1 per game. More impressively, Bosh is averaging
11.8 rpg and leading the conference.
Chris Duhon leads the conference in assists with 8.8 per game.
Here's the question: where are the easy wins this year? Clemson? Maybe, maybe
not. Florida State? Not anymore. Wake Forest? They have a battering
ram in the middle, a great forward in Howard, and decent guard play.
So where to from here? Well, expect a brutal sorting-out. The
in-conference play is going to be superb this year, and anyone who loves
basketball should be pumped. The conference is going to be nuts. Add in
sensational younger players sprinkled liberally throughout the league, solid
coaching everywhere, and you have the recipe for an amazing experience.