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ACC Roundup - This Year Is Off The Charts

We’ll be talking about this season for years

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Notre Dame
Jan 30, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) dribbles in the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

This is a good place to start today’s ACC Roundup: how crazy is this conference anyway?

Pretty darn crazy, as Andrew Chernoff discusses in the link above.

We’re at the halfway point now and who the hell knows what to expect?

The ACC is off the charts. Every team, with the possible exception of Clemson, has at least two really, really good players. Start at the bottom and work up: Pitt has Jamel Artis and Michael Young.

BC has Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman. Clemson has Jaron Blossomgame but he has a solid supporting cast.

Wake Forest? John Collins and Bryant Crawford.

State? Dennis Smith, Abdul Malik-Abu and Omer Yertseven (just wait).

You can go all the way up to the top like this. There’s a ton of talent.

And just as importantly, ask yourself this question: where do you find a bad coach?

You could argue that Kevin Stallings has done a mediocre job at Pitt - fine. But he has had success before.

Danny Manning is building a powerhouse at Wake (again, just wait). Mark Gottfried had Alabama at #1 and he has done fairly well at State, last season and this one (so far) aside. Jim Larranaga is a superb coach. Josh Pastner is having a tremendous debut season with Georgia Tech. Buzz Williams? Outstanding? Mike Brey has turned Notre Dame into a consistently powerful team.

Brad Brownell has a tough job at Clemson, but no one doubts his coaching chops. Leonard Hamilton has done well everywhere he has coached other than in the NBA.

After those guys you get into legends - Coach K, Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams and a still young but brilliant Tony Bennett.

So what should we expect now?

Well, in a basketball sense, pure Darwinian struggle for survival. It should be a fascinating race the rest of the way.

Duke seems to have pulled together despite everything, not least of all the absence of Coach K. There are serious questions for Wake Forest, NC State and Pitt.

Clemson is capable; they just have to win some games.

Otherwise it’s all up for grabs.

We usually have a good sense of the conference rhythms, but it’s shot to hell this year. Nonetheless, we don’t think Pitt has a chance at beating UNC, particularly after the ugly loss to Miami.

The Wake-BC game promises to be much more interesting.

Last year, BC was a punching bag. Well no more of that: Boston College can beat just about any team in the ACC now.

Wake can too; they just have trouble doing it. But their core is young, dynamic and talented. Their day is coming.

We get the repeated subtext here of Bowman sticking it to Big Four teams whenever he can. It’s a home game so it won’t surprise us at all if he goes off in a big way.

BC is the only team in the ACC with a losing record but look closer: aside from Bowman and Robinson, AJ Turner is a solid player. Jordan Chatman is only averaging 8 ppg but he exploded against Virginia Tech. Nik Popovic should be a competent big man at the very least.

The last three games BC lost to UNC by eight, Miami by one and Virginia Tech by six.

Despite the record, Boston College has improved dramatically over last year. It’s just hard to tell because the conference is so brutal.

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