The ACC Sports Journal has article up which examines the idea that the Big East has passed the ACC in basketball.
In one sense, there is some truth to that. The ACC has been a bit down and the Big East has successfully cultivated a reputation as an uber conference, with several teams highly rated each year.
The suggestion is that the ACC has suffered because of expansion. However, it's not quite that simple.
Our argument has been that the ACC has, relatively speaking, declined not because of expansion but because of the quality of coaching.
Obviously, it hasn't mattered much at the top. The ACC won titles in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, and 2010. The Big East saw Syracuse win in 2003 and UConn in 2004 ( it's irrelevant, but if Duke's post players had not gotten into foul trouble, they would've probably won that game as well).
Top to bottom, we would argue the ACC is stronger, but there's no question that the Big East has done better lately getting teams into the top 25.
But ask yourself this question: if you had Jamie Dixon at Wake Forest, Billy Donovan at Florida State, Rick Barnes at N.C. State, Darrin Horn at Miami, and Brad Stevens at Boston College, where would things be?
Asking the question is answering it. All of these guys might've been hired by more perceptive A.D.'s.
In fact, the only established guy on the list (when hired) is Rick Barnes, and according to some reports, State could've hired him had they been a little smarter.
Instead, we've had the rather dismal experiences of Herb Sendek, Dino Gaudio, Matt Doherty, Dave Leitao, Paul Hewitt,and Pete Gillen.
How much would the perception of the ACC be changed if Duke, UNC, Maryland, Georgia Tech, and State were annual threats to make the Final Four?
We'll be very interested to see how the five new coaches -- this includes second-year Virginia coach Tony Bennett -- change the conference.
If it were up to us, we would do everything possible to make sure that the Georgia Tech and Maryland jobs were taken by guys who could compete at the highest possible levels, and not just every five or so years or so.
You know, part of the reason why Lefty Driesell's famous suggestion that Maryland should be the UCLA of the East is because there was a certain amount of truth to it. The school sits in the midst of a vast pool of talent in a large media market. It's really hard to ask for much more.
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