For all of you agrarian-oriented readers, we’re approaching basketball harvest time, that point in the team growing season when the wheat is separated from the chaff, the cream from the whey.
Or, to put it in terms pundits and cliché-mongers will embrace, soon we’ll find out who’ll make the Big Dance, set amid a champagne-like chorus of bubbles bursting, with a few deserving mid-major teams getting screwed along the way in favor of mediocre squads from power conferences.
Then the debate can move to power ratings and snubs, grudge matches sure to yield ripe TV ratings, and seeds that are the pits.
Right now most ACC teams are stumbling to the finish. Only four have hit a healthy stride as they approach tournament play: Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
Going in the other direction, Kevin Keatts’ NC State squad is assured of at least matching the school’s most overall losses (19 in 1967, 1993 and 1994) since the ACC began competition in 1953-54.
And Syracuse is in danger of posting more losses overall than wins for the first time in Jim Boeheim’s 46-year tenure, not counting seasons amended by NCAA cheating forfeitures. This will be the Orange’s 8th finish at sixth or below in 9 ACC seasons.
Meanwhile, at the top of the heap Mike Krzyzewski has kept his youthful squad on track despite confronting an array of the usual hurdles (injury, slumps, brushes with the law, etc.)
In what’s an impressive if underappreciated habit, his Blue Devils haven’t lost consecutive games all season. No other ACC team has managed that in ‘22. Duke has won 12 of its last 13, 7 in a row after topping Pitt the other day.
Only Miami ran off more consecutive victories in 2021-22, with 9 straight from Dec. 1 through a 2-point triumph at Cameron on Jan. 8. Since then Jim Larranaga’s charges have basically played .500 ball.
Krzyzewski is once again closing in on a 30-win season in what he’s announced is his valedictory lap as Duke’s head coach. The Devils will finish atop the league regular-season standings for the first time since 2010.
As we’ve noted previously, because excellence is expected from his teams you can bet Krzyzewski will fail to win honors as ACC coach of the year for the 22nd consecutive and final time.
Since last winning the award in 2000, Krzyzewski’s squads captured NCAA championships in 2001, 2010 and 2015, won 10 ACC Tournaments, and finished first or second 13 times during the regular season, not counting this year. And still he was passed over each season as the ACC’s coach of the year.
Voters, these days a preselected “blue ribbon” panel, simply prefer rewarding those who provide pleasant surprises.
|PEAKS AND VALLEYS
(Streaks Of Wins, Losses Listed In Chronological Order, Through 3/1)
|School||Wins in Row||Losses in Row||Last 10 Games|