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ACC Tipoff Thoughts

An interesting and bittersweet season is about to begin

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tip Off
 Oct 12, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks to the media at the ACC Tip Off at Charlotte Marriott City Center. 
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Naturally one of the big topics of conversation at ACC Tipoff were the transitions at Duke and UNC. Hubert Davis is up first and while he’s clearly holding on to some UNC traditions - on the first day of practice he gave the same Daily Thought that has been given on the first day of practice every year since Dean Smith’s first season - he’s in a new era and he’s made it clear he will adapt.

He plans to run and run and then run some more but he also is going to modernize UNC’s system.

Predecessor Roy Williams did that in many ways, mostly by radically speeding up the traditional UNC approach.

Davis is going to open it up. Williams stuck with a lot of what he learned from Smith and fixed positions and UNC suffered to an extent from poor three point shooting over the years.

So there will still be a lot of the traditional stuff for Davis, but he’s not bound by things Smith learned at Kansas and refined in the 1960s, nor by what he absorbed working for Williams. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if he chafed a bit at the conservative approach Williams stuck to in a time of immense change in the game.

As for Duke, Mike Krzyzewski has one (don’t say it) season to go and he’s made it clear that it’s still his team and he is more than capable of leading Duke to another outstanding season.

You know what’s striking? Duke has a tremendously promising talent in Paolo Banchero. We’re not sure he even came up Tuesday.

We’ll be curious to see how fast Wake Forest advances under Steve Forbes, what NC State does with an intriguing roster, if this will be the final year for Jim Boeheim and sons, how Earl Grant will affect BC and so much more.

One of the more interesting games this season is going to be UNC’s game with Virginia this season.

Virginia has become a reliable Top 3 team in the ACC and has given Roy Williams fits. It’ll be Davis’s turn to take a running team into that meat grinder of a defense which is going to be really interesting to watch.

We’re excited to about what could happen at BC. Earl Grant was a bit out-of-the-box but he seems like a hard-nosed coach who can appeal to recruits. And his first recruiting class is looking reasonably good and, with Prince Aligbe, Donald Hand and Armani Mighty, is a headline writer’s dream.

Could this be Boeheim’s last season at Syracuse? It could be. Son Buddy is a senior and Jimmy, who is a grad student transfer from Cornell, will finish his grad year. Quite honestly the bonus year stuff is confusing so we think they both can have an extra year but would either take it?

Good question.

Other interesting questions: can Leonard Hamilton and Florida State break the level they’ve settled into? FSU is a very dangerous team but they’re like a wounded bird in the post-season.

What will Georgia Tech do without Jose Alvarado and Moses Wright? Josh Pastner proved that he can coach last season and also that he could develop talent but is there a second act?

There’s a lot of uncertainty this season but it’s a chance for several teams to stake a claim in the upper division or at least to move up.

Jim Phillips is still new around here but he got one thing right: it’s going to be an intensely competitive year. It always is but this one may be off the charts.