This year’s ACC-Big 10 Challenge was very revealing about how the ACC is as a basketball conference this year. There have been a mixture of maruqee wins and ugly losses for ACC teams early this season, but I think we have a handle now about where some teams are. The ACC and Big 10 are the two best basketball leagues this season, and a 6-6 tie did little to separate the two.
Who were this years ACC big winners and losers?
North Carolina – Easily the top choice here. The Heels inconsistency is baffling. They’ve lost at home to Belmont beat Louisville, lost at UAB, won at Michigan St, but at the their best they can beat anyone in the country. UNC showed a toughness against the Spartans that I didn’t think they had. I believe the Tar Heels have the weathered storm of their up and down and play, and I expect this team to win a lot of games going forward. If they can get back Hairston and McDonald, with that additional scoring they can win it all. Heck apparently they are good enough to do that even with them. Two of the most impressive wins of the early season. `
Syracuse – Time to put the Orange among the top 2 or 3 teams in the country. They dismantled a decent Indiana team, after winning at Maui. C.J. Fair leads the way for a team that doesn’t appear to have many weaknesses. Syracuse is building quite a strong non conference resume. This is an elite team.
Duke – The Blue Devils needed to prove they could beat a quality team, and they did just that in a not as close as the score indicated, 10 point over Michigan. Jabari Parker is nearly unstoppable and is having a sensational freshman year, but you wondered if the Blue Devils could defend well enough to be a legit national title contender. There were good signs against Michigan. They even got some decent minutes from Marshall Plumlee who provided some good energy in spots.
Pittsburgh – 8-0 after beating Penn State. Why aren’t they ranked?
Georgia Tech – Huge win for them coming down from 12 late to beat Illinois late. This could be a big confident boost for a team that’s struggled against decent competition. The Jackets still need more perimeter shooting and better point guard play, but defensively they played quite well against Illinois.
Virginia – The Cavaliers looked awful offensively against Wisconsin in scoring only 38 points. They were at home too. Virginia even at 7-2 has 0 quality wins and could have really used a victory over VCU or Wisconsin. I still think Virginia is a NCAA type team, but they’ve left themselves no margin for error.
Boston College – They can’t defend that’s the bottom line. At 3-5 after an ugly 21 loss at Purdue, BC is reeling. They were supposed to be an ACC sleeper team, now they look like one of the conference’s worst teams.
Miami – The Canes dropped to 5-4 after losing to an average Nebraska team. After a nice win over Arizona St. you thought maybe the Canes could build on that win. They didn’t. It’s going to be a long season Jim Larranaga’s bunch.
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