March is finally here...
With the regular season for college hoops coming to an end, it’s time to look at the first half of the post season: the ACC Tournament. By far, the ACC is the most dominant conference in basketball and as usual, is filled with several elite teams. Here’s a glance at the front-runners, the sleepers, and the unpredictable teams that can make a run at the ACC crown.
This one’s pretty obvious: Duke, Virginia, and UNC. All three of these teams have loads of talent, a fantastic coach, and the capability of making a run in not only the ACC tournament, but the NCAA tournament later on. When these teams take the floor there’s always a chance of seeing something spectacular. Here’s a brief “How-To” for these teams to win it all in the ACC.
DUKE: For the Blue Devils, I honestly think they just have to get healthy first of all. Once Zion is back for Duke it’s a whole new team. If/when they’re 100% healthy, this team is near unstoppable. If they can catch a good night shooting and run in transition, they will be very tough to take down.
UVA: The last couple seasons Virginia has been lacking on offense, and many believe that’s why they haven’t made a run at a national title. This season’s different. UVA can and will shoot well, play good defense, and not make many mistakes. Duke is the only ACC to beat UVA, and they did so by pushing the tempo. If UVA can get teams to play in the half court, they have an advantage and will suffocate an offense. Control the tempo, control the game for UVA.
UNC: Shoot, shoot, and shoot a little more. UNC isn’t great on defense but can put 100 points without blinking an eye. If they shoot well they’ll stick with anyone, but their key is defense. More than likely, scoring 100 on Duke and UVA won’t happen. If they use their size and athleticism to play good defense, that’s when this team will become a contender.
Two teams that I don’t expect much out of are Syracuse and Louisville. With that being said, both teams could get hot and win the conference. Here’s what it would take...
SYRACUSE: The Orange always play well in March. They are well coached and run that annoying zone defense every possession. That coupled with some talented players, if they get a big game out of Tyus Battle, they could knock off a Duke or UVA.
LOUISVILLE: This is a very talented team. A couple weeks ago they were looking like a top ten team and whooping Duke. Ever since the Blue Devils crazy comeback, the Cardinals have collapsed and lost three of their last four games. Shake off this slump (or whatever it is), they have the talent and athleticism to go far.
The “I don’t know what to expect” teams:
These two teams are talented and have been top ten at times this season. Whether it’s been injury or bad shooting, they’ve had some struggles but might be turning the corner at the right time... Virginia Tech and Florida State. Agree or disagree, but both of these teams could lose in the opening round or make it to the conference championship and win. Here’s what needs to fall into place...
VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies shoot well, have talented players, and are playing relatively well. They just beat Duke and could be getting Robinson back any day now. If Justin Robinson comes back, Alexander-Walker produces like he did as a shooting guard earlier, and Blackshear keeps cooking; Tech can play with anyone. Well coached and good on defense, it could come down to health and shooting to try and make a run.
FLORIDA STATE: I really don’t know with Florida State. They’re a streaking team that will either get blown out or stick with a top team. To me, it’ll come down to their discipline and limiting mistakes. Catch them on a good day and it’ll mean trouble, but I have no clue what to expect from these guys down the stretch.
With a lot of good teams in the ACC it’s tough to predict what you’ll see. It’s pretty up for grabs and may come down to who shoots well on any given day. Surely it won’t disappoint and it’ll be a lot of fun to watch...