Posted: 10/16/2012 12:43:00 PM
A national championship team needs to put together the right blend of talent and experience and even then, its a shot in the dark. Look no further than UNC a season ago. With 4 NBA first round picks the Heels season crumbled when Kendall Marshall broke his wrist in the NCAA Tournament. Even though UNC fell short, they had all of the pieces. Is there a team this season that should have national title hopes?
I have a feeling a certain fanbase in Raleigh answered, "yes". After all, NC State is certainly talented and who can deny the experience that the Pack picked up making a run to the Sweet 16 a year ago? On top of that NC State added a highly touted freshman class, but let's rewind back to Mid-March for a second. On March 10th, NC State played in the ACC tournament semifinal against UNC. CJ Leslie fouled out with 8 minutes left (seems like forever ago) and NC State's chances seemed slim. NC State ultimately fought back in that game but just missed out on an opportunity to play in the ACC Tourney Championship game against FSU. Ultimately, NC State was the very last team announced on Selection Sunday. If NC State wasn't selected that Sunday, where would your expectations be? NC State was that close to not making the tournament.
Duke and UNC are perennial contenders but both have question marks. UNC is looking to replace 4 NBA first round picks with players stepping into larger roles or freshmen. Duke needs to learn how to effectively play a pressure defense that their hall of fame coach has trademarked over the years.
Ultimately, there is a NCAA Title Contender recipe that you can compare your team to to determine if they are a contender or pretender. In general, if there are 3 or more NBA players on your roster then you have a good shot at a national championship. If you have 2 NBA players on your roster, then you have a shot but it will take a greater team effort for your team to become a national title contender. If you have just 1 NBA player, then your margin of error is even smaller. Let's go through team by team in the ACC and see if any of the teams are contenders.
You might ask why are NBA caliber players so important to national title teams? The answer is simple, those guys are matchup problems on offense and cover your mistakes on defense.
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