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A Beef With The All-ACC Team

We have a minor and belated quibble with the All-ACC Team: Kendall Marshall is clearly the most critical player on the Tar Heels. Take him out and it's just a collection of awkward parts with no driver. With him behind the wheel, though, UNC becomes a very fine machine: Tyler Zeller knows he'll get the ball in the right position, John Henson can point to the rafters and know he'll get an alley-oop, and Harrison Barnes can ignore the weaknesses in his game and focus on what he does best, which is to shoot.

You could see the difference last year when Marshall replaced the ineffective Larry Drew II: Barnes, who had been regarded as a bit of a disappointment until then, roared to life.

Much of that was due to Marshall's brilliance in getting his teammates the ball where they wanted it.

We have no quibble with UNC having three on the first team; we just think Marshall should have been there in place of Barnes.

As long as we're at it, we didn't seriously expect Coach K to get much support for Coach Of The Year, but he lost 20-21 to Florida State's Leonard Hamilton.

Duke and UNC fans have just gotten used to it: it's hard for K or Roy (or Dean previously) to garner much support. It almost always goes to someone else.

But Hamilton's team was highly erratic throughout the season, losing to Harvard then beating UNC by 33, then losing to freshman-laden B.C. It's very hard to get excited about a team that's that wildly erratic. And of course Duke has been erratic as well. But Duke has put together a remarkable year in spite of losing Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, and having, really, overcome some limitations.

So while we accept that it's just harder for K or Roy to win it, we don't think they made the best choice. K would have been a great choice, especially this year. But it is what it is.

There is another team in the ACC which faced and overcame significant adversity this season: injuries and transfers decimated its roster.

Yet Virginia kept fighting hard. Even now, down to seven players, they took UNC to the final play of the game.

Tony Bennett has overcome an incredible amount of bad stuff this season. He would have been an immensely deserving honoree.

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