On Saturday, the ACC lost two more teams as Pitt lost to Florida, as generally expected, and Syracuse lost to Dayton, which not many expected.
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Syracuse has struggled all year with offense. It's not a big surprise for Rakeem Christmas, as the big man is not offensively gifted. But CJ Fair, Jerami Grant, Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis are all capable. It's a bit surprising is all.
Syracuse did have some major injury problems though and it obviously affected the team's depth and development. Fair is graduating and Grant and Ennis may decide to leave for the NBA. We'll see what happens, but next year could be interesting.
In Milwaukee and Wisconsin, there is a sense of disbelief verging on anger over Buzz Williams' move to Virginia Tech. Check out Mike Larsen in the Kenosha News, who questions Williams' sanity. In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Michael Hunt suggests the diminished Big East is behind his move and that Williams might not be at Tech for long.
One of Williams' Marquette recruits, Sandy Cohen, has asked for and received his release. And at Virginia Tech, Trevor Thompson, who Williams found soft as a high school recruit, has asked for his release. He and his father are not at all impressed with the new Hokie coach.
So Hunt raises a couple of interesting questions. Can Williams do well at Virginia Tech and how long will he stay?
Our guess is that he'll succeed. Remember that before he was fired, Seth Greenberg had Dorian Finney-Smith on the team and Montrezl Harrel on the way.
What Virginia Tech lacks is the culture, and having the culture makes a lot of difference - just look at Miami, look at how Jim Larranaga has changed that program dramatically in very short order.
We expect he will recruit and recruit well and he's proven he can coach. How long will he stay? Different question.
Virginia Tech is a place where you can build - if you have the ability. It's worth mentioning that Finney-Smith is from Portsmouth while Harrell is from Tarboro. Washington and Baltimore are a short trip; North and South Carolina, established sources of talent are also close by. Even West Virginia pumps out solid players.
Recruiting wise, Virginia Tech is pretty much in the middle.
As far as tactics go, he's at the very least above average. Williams spends tons of time watching video. He's rarely outworked. He's often described as a blue-collar coach; that'll go over well there. Actually, he may find it a better fit in some ways than Marquette.
Currently there's little indication about BC or Wake's search.
On Sunday, Virginia takes a deliberate, methodical game against Memphis, a program which likes to go as fast as possible. That's not a real good recipe for success in a tournament which values every possession, but who knows. This year has been bizarre. Still, we'd think Virginia has an advantage here.
As for UNC and Iowa State, we were pretty sure Iowa State had a better team. That takes a hit with the injury to Georges Niang. Aside from the obvious, the Cyclones now have precious little depth.