Thursday, March 25, 2010

STOP AND SMELL THE BLAZERS AND THEN COUNT YOUR ACC BLESSINGS…

Kevin Scarbinsky writes a nice piece for the Birmingham News about how North Carolina’s coaches, players and fans get it…It worth reading. To do so, click here.

In short, he points out to the U.A.B. Blazers and their followers that big-time college basketball has a different look and feel about it and, lo and behold, it’s kinda fun…

It’s a good read for ACC fans as well as many seem to have forgotten what a special brand of basketball they enjoy consistently year-in and year-out. Coming off what might be a down year, many are complaining about the quality of hoop throughout the ACC…

But, not so fast, my recession bedraggled, health care debate weary, sick of winter compatriots…The ACC still remains poised to score the race post season double/double being in a position to win both the NCAA (Duke) and N.I.T. (UNC) tournaments.

In fact, the ACC is the winningest conference in NCAA Tournament history. At the start of this year's Big Dance league teams were a combined 338-170 (.665) in NCAA Tournament play. In addition, ACC teams have won 11 NCAA Men’s Basketball National titles, including four in the last nine years.

So, what's all the fuss about?

No place is the lesson in appreciation more evident than what happened in Chapel Hill where a talented, but chemistry deficient, Tar Heel team skidded through a rough season only to rally their way to Madison Square Garden for next week's N.I.T. quarterfinals.

Sensible fans have spent the season complaining about turnovers and poor shooting while delusional ones have vilified their coach and their point guard. Truth is Ol’ Roy is good – damn good, and his post season run shows it yet again.

The point guard? Larry Drew II’s problem isn’t what he is, it’s simply what he isn’t – Ty Lawson. Drew isn’t Lawson now, and he won’t be Lawson next year. Some Heels’ fans forget that their squad sent four starters to the NBA after last season. Let it go, people.

Other programs have their worries for sure.

Realistically, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech are on solid ground with no big mountains to climb in 2010-11.

Maryland is going to miss its exiting seniors, especially the Venezuelan Whirlwind. Folks in Wolfpack Nation have to be losing patience with Sid Lowe, and the same is likely down at Clemson where winning a regular season game in Chapel Hill, an ACC Championship or an NCAA tournament game continue to seem all but impossible.

Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech continues to bring in great players, but he can’t keep them long enough to have them gel into a powerhouse like last year’s North Carolina team. Wake lost Skip Prosser and who knows how long Dino Gaudio can keep folks happy in Winston-Salem. Both teams will be in trouble if NBA defections come as predicted.

No doubt, Tony Bennett showed some coaching chops in his first year in Charlottesville, but unless he’s an amazing recruiter losing Landesberg and Tristan Spurloc will show in next year’s won/loss record.

Florida State? Football school. Everybody likes Leonard Hamilton, and if they still had Toney Douglas (who is playing well for the lowly Knicks), they would still be in the NCAA tournament and a force with which to be reckoned. Simply put, they are one really good player away from being…really good.

Miami and Boston College have some work to do, but the folks at Miami are also focused on football, while most of the Eagles fans are also Red Sox fans so they’ve already proved over the years that they are patient – very patient.

Obviously, the ranks will thin when some graduate and some talented players head off to the NBA, but new spectacular talent will arrive as well. Who knows how things will shake out next season?

In the meantime, enjoy what's left of the ride, and remember football is only five months away…

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