Sunday, March 16, 2014

Things We Learned About the ACC During The Conference Tournament

Incontrovertible truths demonstrated on the hardwood of Greensboro:

The way to beat NC State is to beat holy hell out of T.J. Warren. If Warren and someone else are scoring, the Pack is damn hard to beat. If Warren alone is scoring, they're in the game. If he's not scoring and nobody else is, they're done.  Duke understood this, which is why Warren was eating hardwood for most of today's semifinal. And nobody else really stepped up to make them pay for it.

If NC State makes the NCAA tournament, it will not be a terrible injustice. They have precisely zero shot of winning this thing, but they've definitely proven their mettle, and if T.J. Warren goes nuts in a couple of games, they might surprise some people.

Duke will go precisely as far as their guard play will take them. And no further.

Has there ever been a more nondescript set of Wake Forest teams than the ones Jeff Bzdelik has coached? They're mediocre at literally every aspect of the game.

If Maryland was going to go out of the ACC without winning the tournament, getting bounced on a last-second dunk is about as good as it gets. Next year, they should slot in nicely with the Minnesotas and Iowas of the world, getting crunched by MSU and Ohio State the way they've spent the last few years getting crunched by Duke and UNC.

Syracuse looks like they're out of gas, the victim of injuries and a too-short rotation. Look, every year Cuse busts out of the blocks, largely because they don't play anyone outside of the Finger Lakes region (look it up, kids) until mid-February. This year was no exception, which meant that the meat of the schedule finally kicked in right when the Orange's too-short rotation finally wore all the tread off their tires. Consider them a trendy upset pick next week.

North Carolina left the tournament the way they entered it: capable of beating anybody if they play well, and losing to anyone if they get bored. They did both against Pitt, which is why the game that should have ended with the teams in different area codes was actually close, but if the conference tournament doesn't get their attention, I'm not sure what will.

While the Triangle schools and Syracuse sucked all of the air out of the room, UVa quietly had their best year since the Ralph Sampson days. And since that is all anyone in the national media knows about them, that's all you hear until they inevitably get bounced in the Sweet 16 by some enterprising mid-major with blood in its eye. If we're really lucky, it'll be UW-Green Bay.
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