Summer ACC Report: Part 2
Posted by Patrick on August 7, 2008
Last week I previewed six of the twelve ACC teams. Now here is a look at the rest of the ACC and what they will have going for them this upcoming season:
North Carolina- Of course, they are everybody’s preseason #1 (I’d like to meet the man that picks against them). The Tar Heels return reigning Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough, a solid 20 PPG and 10 RPG player next season. They also return star point guard Ty Lawson, great shooters/scorers in Wayne Ellington and Danny Green, and gain two new freshman phenoms at the forward positions. There is certainly no question that UNC is the frontrunner in the ACC, but they will have some competition because no conference game comes easy (like we saw last year when they dropped a game to Maryland on their home court).
Duke- Whenever you mention North Carolina, you next have to mention the Duke Blue Devils. Led by senior point guard Greg Paulus and returning sophomore forward Kyle Singler, the Dukies are poised to make a run at a chance for the ACC title. Other key performers will be freshman Nolan Smith, junior John Scheyer, and center Brian Zoubek. Zoubek will be the X-Factor for Duke this season; if he can play well on the inside, it will be easier to kick it out to the shooters, (Singler, Paulus, and Scheyer) but if he plays like he did last season, Duke could have trouble making it out of the second round of the NCAA tournament for the third straight year. Duke will always play great defense, which could lead to a potential upset at Cameron over the Tar Heels.
Clemson- This team’s future seems up in the air even though they’ve had a great start to the last two seasons. In 2006 they did not make the NCAA tournament, and last season they lost in the first round to a team that most people felt should have been left out of the field. Losing James Mays and Cliff Hammonds will certainly hurt the Tigers, but they do return key players like K.C. Rivers, Trevor Booker, and shooting specialist Terrence Oglesby. Recruit Catalin Baciu (7-1 center) may be able to pick up some of the rebounding slack left by Mays, but he is only a freshman and a pretty low rated recruit at that. I expect Clemson to make the tournament this year, probably as an eight or nine seed, but I don’t see them making too much noise in the ACC other than a probable top five finish.
Virginia Tech- According to Hokies coach Seth Greenberg, everyone on the NCAA selection committee was clinically insane for not putting Va Tech in the field of 65. Virginia Tech brings back three of its top four scorers in A.D. Vassallo, Jeff Allen, and Malcolm Delaney. This is the year for this team to make the NCAA tournament. Not only do they have the talent to make the field, but they also have the motivation after last year’s “snub”. I like Virginia Tech to end up somewhere in the top six of the ACC which will probably be good enough to make the tournament as a ten seed.
Virginia- We’ll see how Virginia deals with the loss of Sean Singletary and if they can get back to where they were in the 2006-07 season. Mamadi Diane will be the leading scorer for this team in 2008, and behind him will be Calvin Baker and Laurynas Mikalauskas. It should be a tough year for fans in Charlottesville as the chances of making a post-season tournament are pretty slim even if its the CBI. Even though Dave Leitao was 2007 ACC Coach of the Year his job may be in jeopardy this season.
Boston College- Get ready to watch the Tyrese Rice show all season long as he will be wheeling and dealing his way to another first-team All ACC finish and contend for ACC player of the year. Rakim Sanders will be a great compliment to Rice, as well as Cory Raji. Probably the worst news of the offseason was Shamari Spears transferring to Charlotte. He was a key man in the paint for Boston College and his departure took this team from a Top 20 contender to a team that will have to fight its way into the NCAA tournament. Rice will get his points, but the keys for this team to win are defense and rebounding (we all saw them blow a huge halftime lead against North Carolina on their home court last season). I think they will make the tournament but it won’t be easy and they will have to do some work in the ACC tournament to get off the bubble in March.
Predicted ACC Finish:
1. North Carolina
4. Wake Forest
6. Virginia Tech
7. Boston College
9. Florida State
10. NC State
11. Georgia Tech