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Olympic Fan
04-07-2010, 10:39 AM
Riding back from Indy Tuesday -- it was a killer 11-hour drive and we hated missing the welcome back celebration, but it was great to be there for the title!!! -- one of our main topics of conversation was a debate about the ACC next season.

I know there is another thread looking at the national scene in 2010-11 and plenty of threads talking about Duke's prospects next season (with and without Kyle), so can we keep this one to a discussion of the other 11 ACC teams and how they rank. I think we'll almost all agree that barring something totally unexpected, Duke will be the near unanimous No. 1 in the league next year. But after that, I see:

2. UNC -- I know that Duke fans hate to see this, but you're fooling yourself if you think their drop was long-term. UNC had two major problems this past season -- shakey play at the point and lack of firepower on the wings. The latter problem will be solved by the arrival of Barnes and Bullock, two absolutely stud wing forwards. Plus, I think Strickland, freed of the need to play some point, will blossom back at his real position, wing guard (remember, players do get better -- Nolan should remind us of that ... Strickland has talent).

UNC will also upgrade at the point with the addition of Marshall and the return of an improved Drew. Now, I know Marshall is overrated by some, but his real strength is his steadiness and his ability to handle and distribute the ball cleanly. Drew is never going to be great, but he showed progress over the course of the season -- he was maybe their best player in the NIT.

UNC does lose a lot of depth and talent in the post -- I'm assuming that Davis turns pro. Even if he does, they have Zeller and Henson, two talented players to start -- Henson is a potential beast as he gets stronger and more mature. The big problem is depth at this position -- the Wear twins are it, although Barnes could see some time at the 4.

UNC should not have been as bad last season as their record. They had some bad breaks, including some tough injuries and they didn't respond well.The players lost confidence and Roy threw his team under the bus (just look at back at how often he talked about what a tough year it was for HIM). They may lose a few guys to transfer (McDonald?), but if the core stays and the team uses its embarrassment as motivation in the offseason ... I think UNC returns to (near) the top of the ACC. If they were adding Irving instead of Marshall, I might pick them No. 1.

The biggest danger for the Heels (and the biggest hope for Duke fans) is the threat of chemistry issues between the old guys and the new guys. That often happens ... will the veterans of 2010 accept Barnes, Marshall and Bullock as saviors or resent them in that role? Will the Drew/Marshall competition divide the team (in some ways it would be easier if Drew had left)? Stay tuned.

3. Virginia Tech -- Only if Delaney returns. I think he will, but his name is out there and it could happen. Everybody else is back, plus they add the big Florida transfer, Chaney. Great senior core -- Delaney, Hudson, Allen, Thompson. Very similar (maybe even older) to this year's Maryland team ... a veteran group built around a great guard (Delaney was unanimois All-ACC with Scheyer and Vasquez).

4. Florida State -- Again, depends on the return of Alabi and Singleton -- Alabi is a projected lottery pick ... but with a strong junior season could be the No. 1 guy a year from now. Wait and see. Otherwise, they lose little (Reid is the only senior), plus they add a great combo guard in Ian Miller, who should provide some of the perimeter firepower they lacked in 2010. Plus, I think Michael Snaer will really benefit from the normal freshman-to-sophomore jump (In fact, I think Snaer, Mason Plumlee and Jon Henson are the three key freshmen-to-sophomores to watch). Absolutely huge -- Xavier Gibson is a talented big guy and they'll finally get 7-foot Jonathan Kreft (of "crack in the crack" fame) in the lineup.

5. NC State -- Big jump, I know, but Ryan Harrow is that good (an absolute crime that Marshall beat him out for the McDonald's Game). Great point guards win in college basketball and State will finally have one, even if he will be a freshman. He's the key. They have a stud in the post in Tracy Smith, a developing power forward in Richard Howell and a great wing shooter in Scott Woods. If Lorenzo Brown qualifies (reportedly still struggling after a year of prep school), they add another top-flight ACC wing guard. And if they add CJ Leslie (I heard from a great source in Indy that "the tide may have turned" and that the top 10 prospect was now leaning to NC State over Kentucky), look out -- Leslie would move them up at least one spot (and two if Delaney bolts).

Next year for State will be very much like this year for Georgia Tech -- a window of opportunity for a struggling coach to prove that he can win with talent. Like 2010 Tech, State will be a bit young next year. Except for Smith and Gonzales as a senior off the bench, this will be a freshman/sophomore team. But the talent will be there, can Sidney coach?

I would draw a line right here ... above this line are the five ACC teams that I think have a chance to be really good -- top 25 good (at some point). Below are teams that would struggle to make a 65-team NCAA Tournament:

6. Miami -- Loved the way they finished. Loved Durand Scott -- again, point guards mean the world in the college game and Scott is a stud. If Reggie Johnson can get in shape, he'll make the 'Canes forget that Dwayne Collins ever played there. I like Malcom Grant too, but they need more firepower on the wing.

Interesting situation -- they still have a chance to land Brandon Knight (although Kentucky is still the favorite). Not sure how much that helps. Knight is a great player (the No. 1 PG in the class, even ahead of Irving on most lists), but he needs the ball in his hands ... and so does Scott. Could they coexist like Wall/Bledsoe or Duhon/JWill? Don't think it matters -- Knight has Kentucky written all over him (for one year anyway).

7. Maryland -- Only this high because of my respect for Gary's coaching ability and the promise that Jordan Williams offers up front. But who is going to play the point? Bowie is the incumbent candidate, but he's no point guard. Mosely was a poor ballhandler as a third guard in the three-guard offense. PG recruit Terrell Stoglin is not so highly rated. Pe’Shon Howard gets better reviews, but most see him as a wing.

8. Clemson -- Based here on talent alone ... no idea who the new coach will be or whether he keeps/runs off talent. A lot of bitterness about Purnell's abrupt departure. Still, Stitt is a quality ACC PG and with Grant and Booker II up front, they are solid in the post. The new coach will inherit talented wings to mold in Jennings and Noel Johnson. Andre Young is unique -- a 5-9 wing guard. There are pieces for a decent team here, although Clemson still lacks outside firepower ...

9. Boston College -- Interesting mix ... Donohue did a great job at Cornell. He inherits a veteran team -- Reggie Jackson, Rakin Sanders, Cori Raji, Joe Trapani and Josh Southern will be together for their third straight season. Will they buy into Donohue's new style? Cornell was the best 3-point shooting team in the nation last year ... BC was a weak 3-point team and was weak in the post. No impact recruits on the horizon. Still, some good mid-range players, Trapani is a poor man's Kyle Singler and Jackson is a potential star. One key is getting Sanders back up to the level he played in 2009.

10. Virginia -- Funny, the pieces keep falling off -- Jeff Jones just joined Slyvan Landesberg and Tristan Spurlock out the door -- and nobody coming in is rated an impact player, although Bennett is adding five guys that he thinks can play is style -- so what if the recruiting gurus aren't raving about them.

Oddly, Virginia played better late last season after losing Landesberg -- a strong game in a close loss to Maryland in the regular season finale, a victory over Boston College in the ACC Tourney and a strong showing against Duke in the ACC quarterfinals. They won't be talented enough to finish in the first division, but these guys may be frustrating to play next season.

11. Wake Forest -- Nobody loses more than the Deacs (well, maybe, see below) -- Aminu, Ish Smih, LDWillians, Chas McThugland and David Weaver all gone. Ari Stewart and CJ Harris, a pair of promising wings, return, along with improving big man Tony Woods. Maybe this year we'll get to see if Ty Walker, a 7-foot prep All-American who hasn't gotten off the bench in his first two seasons, can play.

Luckily, Dino is bringing in a deep, talented group of freshmen -- wing J.T. Terrell and matched forwards Melvin Tabb and B.J. McKie have a chance to be really good. The key is freshman Tony Chennault, the Philly player of the year, and the only real PG on the team (I can't see Harris playing there). If he's good quickly, the Deacs could leap a few teams and finish in the middle of the pack.

12. Georgia Tech -- So why did Hewitt come back? Favors gone. Lawal gone. Peacock gone. Bell gone. He returns promising young wings in Rice and Oliver, a nice (if limited) senior PG in Moe Miller and two unknown bigs (Miller and Holsey) who redshirted last year. Udofia has potential at the point. But none of them will ever see the ball -- Iman Shumpert is returning to Georgia Tech to prove he's a lottery pick -- look for him to lead the ACC in FG attempts next season -- by a wide margin.

The Jackets were dead last in the ACC two years ago. Last year was the year for Hewitt to prove he could coach talent. Well, he did make a run to the ACC Tournament title game, but a seventh place ACC finish (7-9) and one NCAA win was hardly the payoff expected for the Favors-Lawal team.

Anyway, that's how I see the league -- at this moment. Obviously, a lot to settled in the offseason that could change things.

What do you guys think?

PS Best part of the long ride home was cruising through Lexington, Ky., and blasting the Stringstein's "Thunder Road" at full volume: "It's a town for losers and I'm rolling out of here as a winner!"

Embrace the Kentucky hate!

On the other hand, we kept a low profile in West Virginia -- as much as I dislike Huggins, the WVU fans we ran into (our hotel ws overrun with them) were great -- passionate about their team, but not ugly about Duke the way Kentucky fans were (and BTW, one of the great pleasures of the title was to visit the Kentucky message boards and drink in their anguish).

91devil
04-07-2010, 10:44 AM
Thanks, a great read.

Re: Florida State. If Alibi returns, watch out - that team could be scary good next year. The only thing that holds them back, IMO, is the coaching. Not sure Leonard Hamilton can lead such a talented team to their potential.

hurleyfor3
04-07-2010, 10:53 AM
In no way do I presume unc's drop is long term.

However, going from the ACC basement to second place is asking for a lot from a couple of freshmen in this league.

I think the best comparison is from the last rebuilding period at unc that Doh had started before Roy decided to give a (crap) about North Carolina. This year was pretty much the same for them that 2003 was (actually part '02 and part '03, but I don't feel like breaking it down here), so next year would be like 2004. They did OK that year, but were still subpar by unc standards -- got a 6 seed, but went out in the second round.

The mitigating factor is that the rest of the ACC was very, very good in 2004 as a nine-team league. But I still won't be scared of them as national title contenders.

DukieInBrasil
04-07-2010, 11:18 AM
In no way do I presume unc's drop is long term.

However, going from the ACC basement to second place is asking for a lot from a couple of freshmen in this league.

I think the best comparison is from the last rebuilding period at unc that Doh had started before Roy decided to give a (crap) about North Carolina. This year was pretty much the same for them that 2003 was (actually part '02 and part '03, but I don't feel like breaking it down here), so next year would be like 2004. They did OK that year, but were still subpar by unc standards -- got a 6 seed, but went out in the second round.

The mitigating factor is that the rest of the ACC was very, very good in 2004 as a nine-team league. But I still won't be scared of them as national title contenders.

I have to agree with your closing comment. Their Fr. PG may be quite good but it's hard for a Fr. PG to change a team's dynamic that much, and Drew still has his limitations. HB may also be fantastic and Bullock may be really good too. But look at Kentucky this year, Wall is (according to recruiting gururs) far better and Bledsoe is a better PG than Drew. Patterson is no slouch so he and HB may be a draw. That UK team was good but I never seriously thought they were a title contender, due to the youth. And these considerations are IF UNC's Fr. end up playing as well as advertised. This year's Fr. at UNC did not come anywhere close to the expectations.
Having said that, I think UNC will be better than the '10 squad, but I'm not sure that they'll be the 2nd best in the ACC. If Davis does come back, they may be able to ascend all the way to #2 though.

roywhite
04-07-2010, 11:32 AM
Good stuff from O.F.

Honestly, I have a hard time placing Duke w/o Singler as a default #1 pre-season in the conference. Not that the talent and coaching aren't there, but replacing 4 starters is a big task and we could take some lumps.

If not Duke #1, who? That group from Chapel Hill who finished 10th in 2009-10 but have talent and a HOF coach? FSU---do they have enough guard play?

I'd like to think this over and await NBA draft declarations before making a definite list. I do see the Wolfpack as major wild-cards with maybe a chance of getting in the top 2 or 3 in the league.

MChambers
04-07-2010, 11:57 AM
Plus, I think Strickland, freed of the need to play some point, will blossom back at his real position, wing guard (remember, players do get better -- Nolan should remind us of that ... Strickland has talent).

UNC will also upgrade at the point with the addition of Marshall and the return of an improved Drew. Now, I know Marshall is overrated by some, but his real strength is his steadiness and his ability to handle and distribute the ball cleanly. Drew is never going to be great, but he showed progress over the course of the season -- he was maybe their best player in the NIT.

Interestingly, there was an article recently, written by Adam Zagoria, about Strickland that had lots of quotes, including some from Ol' Roy, that suggested that Strickland's future was as a point guard. If so, then LD II and Marshall will face some real pressure for playing time.

Of course, UNC has a very full roster, with at least four fairly good bigs, even if Davis leaves. I think the Henson as 3 experiment is over.

On the perimeter, they've got HB, Graves (probably), Bullock, McDonald, Watts (maybe), Strickland, LD II, and Marshall. That's a lot of players, and the most talented of them will be freshman. Even if you discount Watts, and assume he won't play, that's 7 players for at most 120 minutes. It will be interesting to see how Ol' Roy keeps everyone happy.

I agree that UNC will be better and more talented, but it again is an interesting mix, and it's not clear to me how well it will work.

Jderf
04-07-2010, 11:59 AM
However, going from the ACC basement to second place is asking for a lot from a couple of freshmen in this league.

I think you have to remember that it won't just be the freshmen. There is a lot of talent on that team as it stands and a lot of firepower coming in. Give Ol' Roy another shot at teaching the game of basketball over the summer and we'll see what happens. The only thing I would say is that it's going to be very hard to predict. Maybe Roy goes bust again, maybe they click and become a force. Who knows? I'd say they're definitely a top 25 team. Where are they in that top 25? Could be anywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if they were either 23rd or 3rd by the end of the season. The real shocker would be if they somehow manage to miss the field again, which I don't think anyone is predicting.

MChambers
04-07-2010, 12:04 PM
IThe real shocker would be if they somehow manage to miss the field again, which I don't think anyone is predicting.
No, but everyone here (other than Jason Evans) is hoping for that!

whereinthehellami
04-07-2010, 12:13 PM
In no way do I presume unc's drop is long term.

However, going from the ACC basement to second place is asking for a lot from a couple of freshmen in this league.

I think the best comparison is from the last rebuilding period at unc that Doh had started before Roy decided to give a (crap) about North Carolina. This year was pretty much the same for them that 2003 was (actually part '02 and part '03, but I don't feel like breaking it down here), so next year would be like 2004. They did OK that year, but were still subpar by unc standards -- got a 6 seed, but went out in the second round.

The mitigating factor is that the rest of the ACC was very, very good in 2004 as a nine-team league. But I still won't be scared of them as national title contenders.

It's not as hard to go from basement to 2nd place when the league is down as a whole. Their main challengers will be VT and FSU. And the heels have alot more talent than those teams. VT and FSU have experience and other intangibles over the heesl but talent can be hard to overcome. I think the heels put it together next year but will fall short of doing any real damage due to their issues from this year. Its like they are starting over from scratch. But I don't see finishing second in the weak ACC as being evidence of a huge leap of faith.

Olympic Fan
04-07-2010, 12:17 PM
No, but everyone here (other than Jason Evans) is hoping for that!

It's going to be pretty daggum hard to miss a 96-team field. As bad as UNC was this season, they'd have made an expanded tournament.

And one other comment -- UNC is not trying to go "from the basement to second place" ... they didn't finish in the basement last season. They finished tied for ninth last year ... and that was underachievining.

A jump from 9 to 2 is not that unprecedented or unusual in the ACC.

gw67
04-07-2010, 12:24 PM
Olympic,

Terrific read as usual. As you noted, a lot depends on departures to NBA (and transfers).

I agree with you re Duke, UNC, Virginia Tech and Florida State. I like the returnees at N.C.State and Harrow is apparently the real deal but they are still coached by Lowe. I think the Pack will be in the next level under the top four. UNC has depth and talent up front and on the wing. The key will be the play of their backcourt.

I take mild exception to your comments re Virginia. Johnson, a forward, and Harrell, a shooting guard, are well regarded and should get a lot of playing time next year. Their three other recruits will add depth but may be a year or two away from making an impact.

My thoughts on the Terps are (1) they will need to find shooters/scorers to replace the three seniors they are losing; (2) they should be a better rebounding and defensive team; and (3) Stoglin, Howard and Parker should play major minutes.

I would expect 4-5 teams to make 65-team NCAAT and who knows how many for 96-team NCAAT.

gw67

hurleyfor3
04-07-2010, 12:30 PM
Geez, we won a national championship two days ago and here we are talking about how wonderful unc basketball is.


And one other comment -- UNC is not trying to go "from the basement to second place" ... they didn't finish in the basement last season. They finished tied for ninth last year ... and that was underachievining.

A jump from 9 to 2 is not that unprecedented or unusual in the ACC.

Preacher, meet choir. Aw heck, we've done the reverse (1994-95). I ignore things such as conference tournament tiebreakers in this kind of analysis. They're still trying to go from "almost in last place" to "almost in first place". And I stand by my belief they will not be a serious national title contender.

gumbomoop
04-07-2010, 12:31 PM
Good stuff from O.F.

Honestly, I have a hard time placing Duke w/o Singler as a default #1 pre-season in the conference. Not that the talent and coaching aren't there, but replacing 4 starters is a big task and we could take some lumps.

If not Duke #1, who? That group from Chapel Hill who finished 10th in 2009-10 but have talent and a HOF coach? FSU---do they have enough guard play?

I'd like to think this over and await NBA draft declarations before making a definite list. I do see the Wolfpack as major wild-cards with maybe a chance of getting in the top 2 or 3 in the league.



Duke clear #1, even without KS. With KS, 16-0/15-1. KI is amazing, not overrated. NS for stability, muti-threat O, great D. SC and DD for instant O. MPs, esp MP2, will explode. Yes, questions re Bigs-depth, but RK is a comer, a player, passer, shooter.

A near-total-makeover team, different O and D from '09-'10 Champs, but so much talent that will be disciplined by K's comprehensive approach. That is, unlike Calimari [hard to mention K in same paragraph with him], K thinks about every nuance. K is going to be so energized by Olympics, and then by the totally-positive puzzle of how to get young talent to explode on O, and play every play on D. K is going to be so excited, positive vibes all 'round from NC and National Team project. When he tells everyone who wonders if he's slowing down, he's answered honestly, he cannot wait. Absolutely cannot wait; kid in a candy shop happy.

As to OF's great post and predictions, I'd say:

1. Top-tier: Duke clear #!, then UNC; only these 2 could plausibly reach 12-4
2. 2d tier challengers to UNC for #2: FSU and VaT, if key players stay
3. 3d tier, middle-muddle, but in this order: Miami, NCS, Md, BC, Clem
4. bottom tier: GaT (unless Favors stays, or Hewitt goes[??], then obviously higher), Wake, UVa. I think Bennett will be first-rate, but it'll take a few years

DevilHorns
04-07-2010, 12:32 PM
2. UNC -- I know that Duke fans hate to see this, but you're fooling yourself if you think their drop was long-term. UNC had two major problems this past season -- shakey play at the point and lack of firepower on the wings. The latter problem will be solved by the arrival of Barnes and Bullock, two absolutely stud wing forwards. Plus, I think Strickland, freed of the need to play some point, will blossom back at his real position, wing guard (remember, players do get better -- Nolan should remind us of that ... Strickland has talent).

UNC will also upgrade at the point with the addition of Marshall and the return of an improved Drew. Now, I know Marshall is overrated by some, but his real strength is his steadiness and his ability to handle and distribute the ball cleanly. Drew is never going to be great, but he showed progress over the course of the season -- he was maybe their best player in the NIT.

UNC does lose a lot of depth and talent in the post -- I'm assuming that Davis turns pro. Even if he does, they have Zeller and Henson, two talented players to start -- Henson is a potential beast as he gets stronger and more mature. The big problem is depth at this position -- the Wear twins are it, although Barnes could see some time at the 4.

UNC should not have been as bad last season as their record. They had some bad breaks, including some tough injuries and they didn't respond well.The players lost confidence and Roy threw his team under the bus (just look at back at how often he talked about what a tough year it was for HIM). They may lose a few guys to transfer (McDonald?), but if the core stays and the team uses its embarrassment as motivation in the offseason ... I think UNC returns to (near) the top of the ACC. If they were adding Irving instead of Marshall, I might pick them No. 1.

The biggest danger for the Heels (and the biggest hope for Duke fans) is the threat of chemistry issues between the old guys and the new guys. That often happens ... will the veterans of 2010 accept Barnes, Marshall and Bullock as saviors or resent them in that role? Will the Drew/Marshall competition divide the team (in some ways it would be easier if Drew had left)? Stay tuned.


I think UNC will be nasty good next year. Barring chemistry issues regarding the mix of new players and old, this team will be hungry to return to its mantle. You better believe it. And you know what? Davis is going to return because his injury has interfered with NBA tryouts (I read this on InsideCarolina, he's due to give a statement this week). I wished so much that he'd leave because he is an absolute STUD and will only be better next year (barring injury issues). The key to their year is leadership and chemistry, not the direct addition of talent in Barnes, Bullock, and Marshall. Barnes will be hungry for the spotlight, and will have his ups and downs in ACC play definitely, here's to hoping that there isn't enough solid veteran leadership on that team to control his ego and keep him focused, and to nurture him in a true learning environment. The thing is, losers do 2 things (and thats what this Carolina team is currently). They wake up and realize that they have a case of mistaken identity, that they arent losers, or they stick to their loser roles like the heel of a shoe sticks to tar. Its hard for players that have been winners all their lives to have a season like this. They will go 2 directions. Some players will overcome it, some won't, and in the end, I think the team can go either way, and I have a feeling they will come back nasty. Just a feeling.

Jderf
04-07-2010, 01:04 PM
or they stick to their loser roles like the heel of a shoe sticks to tar.

nice.

Duvall
04-07-2010, 02:21 PM
Move Wake up a couple of spots.

ACCBBallFan
04-07-2010, 02:29 PM
OP has it pretty accurate except perhaps Miami too high and BC too low.

Things return to normalcy with top heavy ACC, only Duke and UNC, plus possibly next tier of BC, FSU if Alabi returns which is doubtful and VA Tech if Delaney return, could depend on who has the most favorable ACC Unbalanced schedule.

Lose most of the good big men, Favors, Booker, Zoubek, Alabi, Collins, Davis, MacFarland, and depends what Tracy Smith, Jeff Allen, Gani Lawal do but best big men might be BC's Josh Southern and MD's Jordan Williams, which bodes well for Plumlees playing paint for Duke and Zeller for UNC.

Miami and MD lost a ton of seniors. BC has a ton of seniors but a new coach.

If Duke loses Singler, their only upperclassmen are Nolan Smith and Miles Plumlee plus an asterick to Seth Curry and JUCO Felix who have three more years eligibility after sitting out a year.

UNC's only senior is William Graves and return of a trio of their juniors Davis, Drew II and Watts is uncertain and Zeller has had two injury reduced seasons.

So even a top these two could resemble UNC this year with loads of talent but not a lot of experience causing mediocrity or UK with loads of young talent that wins a high percent of their games until their youth catches up with them.

But hard to see anyone else besides Duke and UNC until these other ACC schools prove they can win on the road.

UrinalCake
04-07-2010, 03:11 PM
If Singler does in fact go then Duke will enter the season looking a lot like UNC did this year - having lost four starters off a title team, and assuming that the bench/role players and incoming freshmen (plus Curry and Felix) have enough talent to keep it going. The main difference is, of course, Coach K. There is so much unknown in this team and we can't take anything for granted.

I do think that Duke and UNC will be #1 and #2, and expect Maryland to be near the top as well. Those three teams' coaches are clearly in a class by themselves compared to the rest of the league.

whereinthehellami
04-07-2010, 03:41 PM
I do think that Duke and UNC will be #1 and #2, and expect Maryland to be near the top as well. Those three teams' coaches are clearly in a class by themselves compared to the rest of the league.

I'm not sure your reasoning in sliding MD in near the top for next year. They lose Vasquez, Hayes, and Milbourne. That is a lot. Losing Vasquez would have been enough IMO to put MD in the bottom half of the conference next year. But to lose 2 additional starters will....make Gary sweat. Alot.

MChambers
04-07-2010, 03:57 PM
If Singler does in fact go then Duke will enter the season looking a lot like UNC did this year - having lost four starters off a title team, and assuming that the bench/role players and incoming freshmen (plus Curry and Felix) have enough talent to keep it going. The main difference is, of course, Coach K. There is so much unknown in this team and we can't take anything for granted.

I do think that Duke and UNC will be #1 and #2, and expect Maryland to be near the top as well. Those three teams' coaches are clearly in a class by themselves compared to the rest of the league.

I'd say the other main difference is Nolan Smith, who I think is a pretty good leader and a star. The returning UNC players were all role players and weren't ready to carry a team.

Indoor66
04-07-2010, 04:26 PM
I'm not sure your reasoning in sliding MD in near the top for next year. They lose Vasquez, Hayes, and Milbourne. That is a lot. Losing Vasquez would have been enough IMO to put MD in the bottom half of the conference next year. But to lose 2 additional starters will....make Gary sweat. Alot.

That is a heck of an accomplishment - to make Gary sweat - alot. He will become the guy in the AXE commercials if that is the case. :eek: :o

Olympic Fan
04-07-2010, 04:28 PM
If Singler does in fact go then Duke will enter the season looking a lot like UNC did this year - having lost four starters off a title team, and assuming that the bench/role players and incoming freshmen (plus Curry and Felix) have enough talent to keep it going.

Well, let's see, assuming a worst-case scenario (Singler turns pro, meaning that Duke losses four starters:

Returning starters:

UNC in 2010: Deon Thompson; Duke in 2011: Nolan Smith

Significant edge to Duke (Smith was second-team All-ACC and regional MVP; Thompson averaged 10 points, 5 rebounds as a junior).

Veteran guard available after missing the championship season:

UNC in 2010: Marcus Ginyard; Duke in 2011: Seth Curry

Significant edge to Duke -- I can't prove it, but I'm willing to bet significant money that Curry is better next season than Ginyard was this year.

Reserves returning

UNC in 2010: Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, Will Graves, Justin Watts

Duke in 2011: Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, Andre Dawkins, Ryan Kelly

Davis was rated higher than any of the Duke guys, although he didn't play that well even before he was hurt ... as group, this is pretty close -- Duke has a significant edge at the back end.

Freshman

UNC in 2010: John Henson, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Wear I, Wear II

Duke in 2011: Kyrie Irving, Josh Hairston, Carrick Felix and Tyler Thorton

Tough to compare because we know that four of the five UNC recruits were major flops (although Strickland might have some long-term value). Even Henson was much less effective that projected and only began to be a contributor late. If Irving takes until February to show anything and the other three guys are minimal contributors, this would be a push ... but I don't think for a minute that it's close.

Look at it this way -- if Singler goes, Duke still has a starting lineup of PG Irving, SG Nolan Smith, Wing Andre Dawkins, PF Mason Plumlee and C Miles Plumlee -- with Curry, Felix, Hairston, Kelly and Thornton off the bench.

I think that's A LOT better than UNC's original lineup of PG Drew, WG Ginyard, SF Graves, PF Davis, C Thompson -- with Zeller, Henson, Strickland and the Wears off the bench.

UNC was a little stronger (depending on how much progress Mason makes) in the post, but Duke would be MUCH stronger in the backcourt -- and in today's climate, better to be strong at guard than at center.

Add in the fact that without the injuries and the panic by Roy Williams after the Charleston meltdown, UNC would have had a much better season -- the talent/experience on hand was such that they probably should have been a lot closer to what Duke had in 2007 (about 22 wins, a middle-of-the-pack ACC finish, an early NCAA exit).

I agree that Singler's return is key to making Duke a top three team going into next season, but I believe they'll be very, very good at any rate. Now, if Smith renegs on his promise to return and Duke loses him and Singler, I can see Duke step back a bit ... maybe back to 2007 Duke and not to 2010 UNC.

As for Carolina, I think "nasty good" is a little strong. Look at the other recent collapses and how long it took Duke/UNC to bounce back. When Duke slipped in 1995, they got better every year afterwards, but it wasn't until 1997 that they got back in the top 10 and not until '98 that Duke was a national contender again. When UNC collapsed in 2002, they starting climbing too, but they were in the NIT in 2003 and a middle of the pack ACC team in 2004 and a contender again in 2005. When Duke rebuilt in 2007, we were a lot better again in 2008 and in 2009, but not legitimate national title contender (and not better than Carolina) until 2010.

Devilsfan
04-07-2010, 04:32 PM
carolina would be a contender if they could find a head coach that wasn't feeling so sorry for himself and utilized the talent that he had to the best of their ability. By the way are contributions to the carolina basketball relief fund tax deductible?

kong123
04-07-2010, 05:34 PM
UNC showed flashes this year of being a good team, but inconsistency both in focus and in the ability to put the ball in the hoop plagued them all year. Next years team will be loaded with options. With Davis back, UNC has a player down low who can score and rebound better than anyone else in the conference. With more weapons around him, defenses will pay for double and sometimes triple teaming him. For the record, I think HB is overhyped. I think your point guard KI will win freshman of the year in the conference next year. He will make the Plumlee's much better as well. If UNC can average 7 three pointers next year per game and play better team defense, this team can be "scarey good". But, Roy is a stubborn coach who is unwilling to change. He will stick with his help style defense and it will cost us every once in a while, but this team will be a lot better. By the start of conference, I expect the lineups to be set and I expect there to be a buzz about how good the team could be. No one has as much talent as UNC does except for maybe Ohio St. The key will be how well the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I expect a huge change of attitude next season and I believe it will start during the summer. I think the pro's coming back to the Hill will take it upon themselves to help bring these kids along. I am very optimistic about next years team and anyone who doubts them will be in for a surprise.

MChambers
04-07-2010, 07:23 PM
UNC showed flashes this year of being a good team, but inconsistency both in focus and in the ability to put the ball in the hoop plagued them all year. Next years team will be loaded with options. With Davis back, UNC has a player down low who can score and rebound better than anyone else in the conference. With more weapons around him, defenses will pay for double and sometimes triple teaming him. For the record, I think HB is overhyped. I think your point guard KI will win freshman of the year in the conference next year. He will make the Plumlee's much better as well. If UNC can average 7 three pointers next year per game and play better team defense, this team can be "scarey good". But, Roy is a stubborn coach who is unwilling to change. He will stick with his help style defense and it will cost us every once in a while, but this team will be a lot better. By the start of conference, I expect the lineups to be set and I expect there to be a buzz about how good the team could be. No one has as much talent as UNC does except for maybe Ohio St. The key will be how well the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I expect a huge change of attitude next season and I believe it will start during the summer. I think the pro's coming back to the Hill will take it upon themselves to help bring these kids along. I am very optimistic about next years team and anyone who doubts them will be in for a surprise.

How do you think Ol' Roy approaches the point guard issue? Seems like a logjam. Also, if Davis is back, how does Ol' Roy keep all 5 bigs happy?

kong123
04-07-2010, 07:36 PM
I would think that LD3 has the starting position right off the bat. Try to instill confidence in him and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, by then Marshall should be a bit more prepared to play the big minutes.

I think there are only 3 bigs to keep happy, Zeller, Henson, and Davis. Obviously Davis will start, the other two will fight for the last spot. I have a feeling Henson will win the spot since Zeller and Davis seem to play the same spot. The Weir brothers will fill in here and there and learn to be role players. There has been some talk that David may not heal enough from his hip surgery to play next season. And, with the way our bigs seem to get hurt these days, we may need more than 5.

RoyalBlue08
04-07-2010, 07:44 PM
How do you think Ol' Roy approaches the point guard issue? Seems like a logjam. Also, if Davis is back, how does Ol' Roy keep all 5 bigs happy?

As has been brought up earlier in this thread, I honestly think that their best long term answer to the PG position is Strickland. I'm not sure why everyone keeps saying he is playing out of position at the point. When I've seen him play, that's where I would want him, and I think he probably has more talent than LD or this Marshall kid (whom I've only seen briefly, but I wasn't all that impressed). Now whether Roy agrees with me in this regard I haven't the foggiest idea.

UrinalCake
04-07-2010, 09:46 PM
I'd say the other main difference is Nolan Smith, who I think is a pretty good leader and a star. The returning UNC players were all role players and weren't ready to carry a team.

I was thinking of Ginyard being the "equivalent" to Smith, but I agree that having back Smith gives us a big advantage. However, the jury is still out on whether the Plumlees can provide starter minutes, and how well our newcomers will pan out. The other returning players (Dawkins, Kelly) are equally unproven.

I'm not trying to be negative or to suggest that next year's season will look like UNC's this year... but I also don't want to overlook how much experience we are losing. Next year's season will be a journey, just like this year's was, and we'll have to wait and see how it develops.

MarkD83
04-07-2010, 10:12 PM
The comparison between Duke next year and UNC this year is getting ridiculous.

The major difference is that Coach K will adjust the style of play to the players he has and if someone does not play defense or does not listen to him they won't play.

The middle of this year Roy was complaining that Strickland didn't run the plays properly yet he still sent him out there for 10-15 minutes a game.

Next year if someone is not playing defense or not running the plays correctly at Duke they are riding the pine.

Jeff0r3
04-07-2010, 10:16 PM
Wow what an interesting read! I just think what Duke has coming next year will be hard to beat.. I think we can expect big things from Nolan, Singler (hopefully), Miles and Mason.. If Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins learned anything this year just imagine.. Then we have to think about the recruits coming in.. Irving is going to be Awesome, Thorton and Hairston are gonna take on the role of learning and hopefully will be great contributors.. I think the factors we have to include in Duke being even better is Carrick Felix and Seth Curry. I think they slip under the radar and people forget about how good they are going to make Duke.

I predict:

Duke - With or Without Singler
UNC - Sadly
FSU - This team can go either way IMO.. If they stay.. Which I doubt..
VaTech - Potentially higher if they can buy into Seth's program
NCST - Sidneys last year if they don't produce...

Duvall
04-07-2010, 10:16 PM
I think there are only 3 bigs to keep happy, Zeller, Henson, and Davis. Obviously Davis will start, the other two will fight for the last spot. I have a feeling Henson will win the spot since Zeller and Davis seem to play the same spot. The Weir brothers will fill in here and there and learn to be role players. There has been some talk that David may not heal enough from his hip surgery to play next season. And, with the way our bigs seem to get hurt these days, we may need more than 5.

Y'all really do need some better doctors.

kong123
04-08-2010, 06:13 AM
While I do see similarities between our 2010 team and your 2011 teams, the biggest difference in your favor is that your team will have many shooters on your team. Plus, KI is going to be able to get everyone involved, making your team much more balanced. I bet you will have at least 4 guys average double digits next year, if not 5 guys. The similarities are having to rely on role players who came off of the bench or perhaps haven't proven themselves on the collegiate level. But, Dukes ability to shot the ball and an elite point guard will make the transition much better, especially if KS does jump to the next level. There were games that our 1,2, and 3's couldn't throw the ball in the ocean and those long periods of not being able to score smothered us all year long.

whereinthehellami
04-08-2010, 02:25 PM
Techsideline has an article up on the returning experience of the Hokies and the ACC (http://www.techsideline.com/news_archive/showArticle-5163.php) next year. The Hokies return (counting Delayney) 96% of their minutes and 98.5% of their points. And they are adding in a transfer from Florida and 2 decent recruits. Chaney addresses some issues in their frontcourt and the recruits should help their depth (Eddie and Garland should both see some decent PT next year). Here is a youtube video of Eddie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBtDSK3DiJQ). I know its a youtube video but the overall point is that they are not used to getting recruits that are this good.

gumbomoop
04-08-2010, 03:18 PM
Two ACC teams - this isn't rocket science - have the potential to be scary, nasty good next year - members, let's say, of the Scary Nasty League (SNL). One is likely to reach this lofty standard. The other, certainly equally, some might argue even more, talented, might reach it.

Not rocket science, and in fact pretty close to bloody obvious - the 2 teams, the which is which, and the fact that no other team in the conference has any chance to join SNL.

I'm thinking there are very few teams outside of ACC who can join SNL, either. Maybe Mich St. Now Butler, Purdue, Baylor [see a pattern?], 'Nova, OhioSt, Pitt, others can be very good, but not SNL.

I am perennially a Loony Optimist where Duke bball is concerned. I am always surprised when Duke loses a game. I always think, "Gee, I didn't see that coming." Last August-Sept, it took a bit of foolish courage to be an optimist. But I do not feel either foolish or courageous in being optimistic re '10-'11.

Now, one could remind me that UK was definitely SNL on paper, occasionally on the court; and look where that got them. So, even reaching SNL is no guarantee. But should Duke achieve SNL, it will be grounded in multiple K-factors. Repeat: grounded, multiple, K. Think of it as a real thing, as opposed to Cal's Potemkin village.

theAlaskanBear
04-08-2010, 03:29 PM
Curry I think is an afterthought to most people who don't follow Duke closely. He is a "sophomore" eligibility, but really he has practice time like a jr. Plus, Nolan is now a proven 18pt a game scorer. Carolina did not have that kind of firepower this year, especially when you consider our 5th start Zoub really only played part of the season. He made us a championship team, but even when he wasnt playing much, we were a fairly good team.

I dont really see the Carolina similarities, other than losing starters. The Duke team is assembled VERY differently than the UNC team, which is cobbled together with small forwards and power forwards and very weak guard play, and almost no one who can shoot. We have so many shooters its not even funny.

sandinmyshoes
04-08-2010, 04:13 PM
Mostly I just want to enjoy this past week.

I'll try to sort out the ACC in my head after all the NBA defections, transfers, coaching hires, and any late recruiting are complete.

I do think, however, that our team next year, even if Kyle should leave, has a better balance of players than UNC's team this season. Plus, looking at it realistically, it took a flukish number of injuries to really drag UNC down to near the bottom of the leauge. Hopefully we'll avoid that.

And we have shooters. UNC would have been an entirely different team this year if they could have mustered any consistency with jump shots. They'll have more possible answers to the problem next year, which could in itself give them a very big boost. Also, I'm much more impressed with Kendall Marshall than are most of you. Jon showed us that you don't have to be a speed merchant to run a team. Marshall has a very high basketball IQ.

But, enough. Back to enjoying. We can begin to sort out next year in a few weeks.

whereinthehellami
04-14-2010, 12:39 PM
Losing Davis is huge for UNC. He was pretty much a double-double guy who had experience. I think they plug Zeller in the 5 spot now. He has played 2 injury-plagued seasons where he has shown some potential but questionable consistency. Zeller is by no means a banger or physical presnece down low in the post. UNC goes softer, Roy has the short bus backing up in the wrong direction.

CDu
04-14-2010, 02:42 PM
Losing Davis is huge for UNC. He was pretty much a double-double guy who had experience. I think they plug Zeller in the 5 spot now. He has played 2 injury-plagued seasons where he has shown some potential but questionable consistency. Zeller is by no means a banger or physical presnece down low in the post. UNC goes softer, Roy has the short bus backing up in the wrong direction.

I agree that Davis is a big loss. But to be fair, he wasn't much of a banger either. That whole frontcourt was fairly soft. I agree that Zeller is probably softer than Davis, but he's also a much better shooter. I think he pairs better with Henson anyway. The downside of this is that UNC have to rely on the Wears a lot more than they would have if Davis had returned. A trio of Davis/Henson/Zeller with an occasional Wear is a lot more imposing than a quartet of Zeller/Henson/Wear/Wear.

But I think the keys to that UNC team next year will be:
1. how well the freshmen (and/or sophomore) wings can step in/up and become consistent scoring threats; and
2. how much improvement we see from Drew/Strickland/Marshall in running the offense.

kong123
04-14-2010, 02:52 PM
Zeller put on a bit of bulk over the summer last year and I imagine he will do the same this season. Will he learn to use that body as a weapon instead of shying away from contact like the UNC bigs did this season? That is the big question. I think our size is fine IF our guys learn how to use their bodies more efficiently. Zoubek finally used his big frame effectively this season after 3 sub par attempts. Zeller has far more offensive ability that Zoubek has ever dreamed of, so again we will see.

Can the Wear's be a force? I think David will be. Both have a good face up game, but neither really showed me anything with their backs to the basket. Our offense may run from the outside-in next season instead of the inside-out. Who knows, but balance is key for Roy's system to run correctly.

Henson will be fun to watch next year. He will score 10pts a game with trash baskets and a few more from transition and set plays. I do not expect that he will be shooting many jump shots next year unless he improves a lot over the off season. Defensively, he will block a few shots a game and alter a few others. Hopefully, his play on the defensive end will breathe life into the team and make them play harder as a team.

camion
04-14-2010, 03:42 PM
I don't think Zeller will be a major factor unless he grows a Zoubeard. ;)

whereinthehellami
04-14-2010, 03:51 PM
UNC's dreams for next year begin and end with Barnes. Will he take over from day one? He has the talent to but will he? Will the rest of the team support him? Barnes has the chance to be that special. Barnes can get his shot anytime he wants and he is smart player. But can Roy and the rest of the team figure it out and get some chemistry while this transformation happens? If I'm Roy, my offense runs through Barnes from day 1 and I only put players on the floor that buy into that.

kong123
04-14-2010, 03:56 PM
If he did that, he would look too much like Abe Lincoln for my tastes!

MarkD83
04-14-2010, 09:37 PM
UNC's dreams for next year begin and end with Barnes. Will he take over from day one? He has the talent to but will he? Will the rest of the team support him? Barnes has the chance to be that special. Barnes can get his shot anytime he wants and he is smart player. But can Roy and the rest of the team figure it out and get some chemistry while this transformation happens? If I'm Roy, my offense runs through Barnes from day 1 and I only put players on the floor that buy into that.

The UNC offense should have run through Davis and Thompson this year but did it. No Roy insisted on running the same "run, run, run" offense he always has used. Unless Barnes becomes a point guard I doubt that the offense will run through Barnes.