It’s here everyone!! We are officially less than 24 hours away from tip off of what looks to be one of the more interesting ACC seasons. Unbalanced schedule, two extra games, and no clear cut second place team should make this season a memorable one. Sure next season great with the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and maybe Louisville, along with hopefully a F U last season from Maryland. However next season will be even more unbalanced and the new guys will be feeling their way into the conference. Anyway not to get too far from the point, out of all the ACC games I’ve picked out 26 that right now I’m excited for, and think will get better as the season goes. Out of those these are my top ten games right now.
Side note: This list will probably change often as the season goes on, I’m aware of this.
10) North Carolina at Duke: February 13 9:00: I know what you are thinking, but the second match-up between them usually has more on the line. Also, I’m all in on the Big Ten, so I’m over this rivalry! Seriously though, what I think hurts this match up is how over powered UNC has looked on the road against good teams. They get tested on the road before this, but for many of these players who didn’t see the floor as much last year, this is a tough Duke team to go on the road in a rivalry game and be competitive.
9) Maryland at Duke: January 26 1:00: I like how the Terps match up with Duke this year. However, same thing goes as the above match up, Maryland has too many players who didn’t see the floor last year to handle a trip to Duke. I love my Terps but this is a tall order, but a good learning experience for them to play in the toughest stadium in the ACC.
8) Georgia Tech at North Carolina State: January 9 8:00: North Carolina State has shown that they take some plays off on defense, and sometimes try to coast through games. This game is on Wednesday before State welcomes Duke to Raleigh and goes to College Park. Only the second game of a young ACC season, but a Georgia Tech who has gone on the road and thrown punches with Illinois. The Wolfpack can’t get caught looking ahead to match up against #1 Duke until they take care of a much improved and riding high Yellow Jacket team.
7) North Carolina at Maryland: March 6 7:00: Most likely the last time the Heels come to College Park. Senior night for discount double check Jimmy P aka New York native James Padgett! Maryland finished the season with 3 out of 4 on the road, if they are around the top 4 at this point in the year they will need to take care of business at home to secure a first round bye in the ACC tournament. This game could be big for seeding in the ACC tournament with UNC likely to be around the top 4, but Roy Williams can’t overlook a trip to a place he has struggled with the Duke that weekend.
6) North Carolina at North Carolina State: January 26 7:00: In retrospect I’m not sure why I ranked this game so highly, especially after writing about Jimmy P’s senior game. However, it’s a rivalry game and UNC catches this game in a stretch of three tough games (Maryland, Georgia Tech, and at NC St). This stretch will go a long way in defining where North Carolina stands in terms of competing for an ACC title.
5) Miami at Duke: March 2 6:00: The Hurricanes were able to get the best of the Blue Devils last season. This year Duke gets a Reggie Johnson free trip to Coral Gables, which makes that games less appealing. This is Miami’s last road game, and if they are in need of a signature win for the tournament, this would go a long way. With the team Miami has, I’m sure they will be looking forward to a chance to get to play Duke at full strength, especially if they find themselves in fourth or fifth place.
4) North Carolina State at Maryland: January 16 7:00: A match up of two teams likely to be battling for second place this season and their only match up. For Maryland, the nation hasn’t been giving them credit for the 12 game winning streak. With how the wheels have fallen off Virginia Tech and Florida State, that still won’t turn people on to them, but a win against North Carolina State will get people’s attention. For the Wolfpack, home vs Georgia Tech, vs Duke, then trip to College Park, nothing to get you into ACC play than that stretch.
3) Duke at North Carolina: March 9 9:00: It never matters how each teams season is going, this game will always mean something. The Tar Heels could be in trouble coming into this game, but they would want nothing more than to beat Duke at home. With the season Duke is having, the expectation is to sweep the Tar Heels.
2) North Carolina State at Duke: February 7 9:00: These two teams expect to be competing for first place in the standings and North Carolina Pride. The second match up should bring more experience, more hate, and some battle scars from the ACC season. Possible revenge game for either team depending on who wins the first match up.
1) Duke at Maryland: February 16 6:00: First off, you’re reading a Maryland focused blog and one written by someone who gets chills thinking about “The Duke Game”, so don’t be pissed that I put thigh number 1. Also, this is the last time that Duke will come to The Comcast Center for a game. Don’t kid yourself if you think the ACC schedules Duke at Maryland next season, they don’t want to give Maryland fans what they want and Coach K doesn’t ever want to play in College Park again. This will be one of the best atmospheres in all of college basketball this season. Maryland could be 5-1, possibly even 6-0 and a top 20 team hosting the most likely #1 team in the country. Saturday game during the semester, with all of the students on campus, and enough time for them to partake in some adult festivities before hand. Find a way to turn the commentary off, put the volume up, and get ready to hear why Maryland has one of the best home court advantages in the country!