One month ago we asked @MattZemek if Louisville’s Chris Mack was the early front-runner for ACC COY. At the time he was, and it was wasn’t close. Mack had taken a Louisville team predicted to finish 11th in the ACC, and scored wins over Michigan State, at North Carolina, and at Virginia Tech. If you told a Louisville fan that they’d be a lock for the NCAAs and in late February be 18-11 (9-7), they would have taken it.
Starting with late blown leads against Florida State and the epic 23 point meltdown at home to Duke, Louisville has lost 5 of their last 6 games. The Cardinals suddenly can’t hold leads, and that has opened the door for others in the ACC COY race. Chris Mack is still in the picture, but Buzz Williams, Tony Bennett, and Roy Williams are now in the mix too.
I’d throw Buzz Williams’ hat into that ring. (Does he wear hats? He probably wears hats.) (Also, what ring?) (Never mind.) https://t.co/CfzCDl22rK
— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) February 28, 2019
Let’s make the case for each as we hit the closing stretch of the regular season.
Tony Bennett – Virginia is 25-2 (13-2). No team in the country has played more consistently excellent basketball this entire season. Only a fully healthy Duke team has been able to knock them off. They lead the nation in scoring defense by nearly 3 points. This could be Bennett’s best team, and I’m saying it now. There will be no 1st weekend NCAA loss this year.
Roy Williams – The Heels are 23-5 (13-2) and are playing their best basketball of the season. The Heels have lost 1 game since January 14, and that was to Virginia. I currently give Bennett the edge on Williams, but if the Heels win the ACC regular season you’ve got a great case for Williams. Great coaches make their teams better as the season progresses and Williams is doing exactly that.
Buzz Williams – When Justin Robinson went down to injury in late January, Virginia Tech’s special season looked like it was going to be trouble. There was even a chance they could miss the NCAA tournament all together. Remember this was on top of losing Landers Nolley and Chris Clarke for the season. Despite it all, Buzz Williams has navigated the Hokies to a 22-6 (11-5) record. The Hokies are certain a NCAA lock.
It’s going to be a race to finish and all four coaches are in play.