Monday, 9 November 2009

NCAA Basketball ACC Preview

A season ago, North Carolina had their One Shining Moment, beating Michigan St. for the National Title and declaring that the ACC had the best team in the nation. However, they lost much of their core roster (including Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, and Ty Lawson), making the ACC race wide open.

Even with the losses, the Tar Heels will still be in contention for the title. They return a lot of young talent, and they brought in a strong recruiting class. They should be very strong up front, led by Ed Davis (who showed tons of talent as a freshman off the bench and should be a star as a sophomore), Deon Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and freshman John Henson. If the backcourt can play well, the Tar Heels could certainly contender for another national championship.

Duke looks to be their main contender, and the rivalry between the two schools should remain strong. Duke is also deep up front, and will be led by Kyle Singler, one of the most versatile players in the country. He has a chance to be a first-team All-American. They will be very thin in the backcourt after the transfer of Elliot Williams to Memphis, as Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, and freshman Andre Dawkins will be relied on to play very heavy minutes. Still, they have the talent to win an ACC title.

Georgia Tech is coming off of a disappointing season, but they bring in one of the best freshman classes in the country. The headliner is post man Derrick Favors, who rivals only John Wall of Kentucky for best freshman in the country. He teams with returnee Gani Lawal in the post (15.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG) to form one of the best front lines in the entire country. If the freshman can mature and blend in with some talented returners, look for Georgia Tech to get back to the Tourney.

Things are less clear after that. Maryland and Clemson look like Tourney teams again, and Greivis Vazquez for the Terps could be the ACC Player of the Year. Beyond that, Florida State, Boston College, and perhaps Wake Forest should challenge for Tourney spots in what could be a deep conference.

The ACC is also a very strong conference, and things appear no different this season. With Duke, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech leading the way, the ACC will again boast some of the most talented teams in the country. While there are no favorites to reach the Final Four like last year, things are still looking up in the ACC.