Obviously the loss to Virginia Tech Saturday was not what any of us wanted, but let’s take a minute and just look at how very well the Hokies played. Those guys, without question, have the hearts of champions. They’ve gone from 10-10 on January 26th to ACC champions on March 12th. Obviously they’re in the NCAA field now too.
There have been a lot of suggestions that with Roy Williams and soon Mike Krzyzewski off the stage that the ACC will be short on quality coaches.
Well time will tell obviously, but from here we can safely say that both Virginia schools are in great shape. Tony Bennett has long since proved himself at Virginia and Mike Young has long been seen as a brilliant coach. His performance this weekend really reinforced that (we also appreciated his comments about his love and respect for the ACC Tournament).
Aside from those guys, Brad Brownell showed, again, that he’s a tremendous coach who is a bit handicapped by not being able to get top-shelf players at Clemson.
And we also have Steve Forbes and Earl Grant, who have both shown serious potential. We thought that by the end of the season, Hubert Davis, who inherited a not-so-great roster at UNC that was built one way and tried to take it in a radically new direction, had really improved his team. What happens when he has the players he wants for the system he’s trying to install?
And most Duke fans know that Jon Scheyer is highly regarded. Jason Williams - we think it was Williams but we could misremember that - compared his basketball intellect to that of Brad Stevens. And that’s pretty impressive.
As for the other guys, Jim Boeheim, Leonard Hamilton and Jim Larranaga are all near the ends of remarkable careers. They’re still very capable. Mike Brey had a nice revival at Notre Dame this season too.
And while the younger other guys - Josh Pastner, Kevin Keatts and Jeff Capel haven’t truly established their programs, all three have shown serious potential. Pastner won the ACC title last year and is personally brilliant - he finished college in 2 /12 years while both playing basketball and working as essentially a coaching intern. Keatts was superb at UNC-W but has struggled with the NCAA issues he found at NC State and various other issues. As for Capel, he was superb at VCU and had Oklahoma in the Top Ten before things went south. He won a lot of admiration as Coach K’s lead assistant when he was at Duke.
Obviously we don’t know who will be coaching Louisville next year, but the fan base will demand excellence.
In general, we’d say at least 10 schools are going to be very well coached next season, so there’s a reasonable chance that the ACC will bounce back in a big way.