Friday, November 14, 2014
Many people are calling this new ACC the New Big East.
During its various heydays, the Big East dominated with its larger-than-life coaching fraternity and later with its sheer size and depth.
Though the ACC struggled and failed to live up to its billing last season, sometimes, as LeBron James can attest, it takes a season or so to truly reach your potential.
With the arrival of Louisville and Rick Pitino, the ACC now has four Hall of Famers on its sidelines (Coach K, Boeheim, and Roy Williams being the others), along with many other top-flight coaches looking to attain similar status.
The league will truly be a beast this year, as there should be no prohibitive favorite. Tobacco Road is strong, but so are the Big East transplants. Don't sleep on Virginia or Florida State either.
It should be a fun ride this season. Let's just hope the in-league carnage that is sure to take place doesn't wear them out come Tourney time.
All Conference Team:
G - Marcus Paige, Jr, North Carolina
G - Malcolm Brogdon, Jr, Virginia
G - Olivier Hanlan, Jr, Boston College
F - Montrezl Harrell, Jr, Louisville
C - Jahlil Okafor, Fr, Duke
Player of the Year:
Montrezl Harrell, Jr, Louisville
Newcomer of the Year:
Jahlil Okafor, Fr, Duke
Coach of the Year:
Rick Pitino, Louisville
Predicted Order of Finish:
1. Louisville - the Cards are still loaded and they have my choice for Player of the Year in Harrell. Depth could be an issue for Pitino, however. Best Player: Montrezl Harrell. Key Player: Wayne Blackshear
2. North Carolina - they are talented across the board, typical of the Tar Heel teams we're used to. Paige is one of the best guards in the country, along with one of the most clutch. This could be a retribution year for ole Roy. Best Player: Marcus Paige. Key Player: Brice Johnson
3. Virginia - the Cavs won both the regular season and tournament titles last year. A repeat is a lot to ask, but they will be in the mix with most of their squad returning. Best Player: Malcolm Brogdon. Key Player: London Perrantes
4. Duke - once again, the Blue Devils are very talented, but young. That has not been Coach K's recipe for ultimate success. They will be good, but how good? And how long will it take? Best Player: Jahlil Okafor. Key Player: Rasheed Sulaimon
5. Florida State - it looks like Leonard Hamilton has his type of team again: experienced, deep and talented enough. The rest of the ACC is forewarned. Best Player: Aaron Thomas. Key Player: Montay Brandon
6. Syracuse - there's been a whole lot of changeover since last season, but Boeheim and the 2-3 are still there. It could be a struggle and the coach may have to use smoke and mirrors, but they will find a way to stay in the mix. Best Player: Trevor Cooney. Key Player: Chris McCullough
7. Notre Dame – Jerian Grant returns to form a sleeper backcourt for the Irish. Mike Brey is too good of a coach not to rebound from last season’s disappointment. Best Player: Jerian Grant. Key Player: Demetrius Jackson
8. Pittsburgh – the roster doesn't look all that impressive, but Jamie Dixon has some experienced kids returning and he always finds a way. Best Player: James Robinson. Key Player: Cameron Wright
9. Miami – speaking of coaches who find a way to get the job done, Larranaga is one of them. A slew of ready transfers will give him the talent to work with. Best Player: Angel Rodriguez. Key Player: Sheldon McClellan
10. NC State – it will be a struggle for the Wolfpack to get back to the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight season. But that last sentence lets you know that Mark Gottfried will have his team in the thick of things. Best Player: Ralston Turner. Key Player: Trevor Lacey
11. Clemson – K.J. McDaniels’ early departure is an obvious big blow, but Coach Brownell will have the Tigers playing hard and they will be a nuisance to the league’s upper echelon. Best Player: Rod Hall. Key Player: Jaron Blossomgame
12. Virginia Tech – Buzz Williams will change the culture, but a twelfth place finish in this league is pretty much their ceiling. Best Player: Devin Wilson. Key Player: Ahmed Hill
13. Wake Forest – new coach Danny Manning (along with assistant Randolph Childress) will breathe much needed life into the program, but their championship aspirations won't be easy in this league. Best Player: Codi Miller-McIntyre. Key Player: Devin Thomas
14. Georgia Tech – the Yellow Jackets have struggled mightily the last three years under Brian Gregory. Expect those struggles to continue. Best Player: Marcus Georges-Hunt. Key Player: Robert Sampson
15. Boston College – the cupboard was left bare for new coach, Jim Christian. They have a player, in Olivier Hanlon, but think Kobe and the 2014 Lakers. Best Player: Olivier Hanlon. Key Player: Lonnie Jackson.