Just Another Classic ACC Tournament Friday

Another ACC Tournament, another classic Quarterfinal Friday.  The games weren't necessarily pretty to watch, but they were all in doubt late in the game. 

UVA looked like they had a shot to upset Duke, but limited offensive firepower caught up with them in the end.  In the biggest shocker, 12th-seeded Miami was able to knock off Virginia Tech, a team many thought had a chance to steal the title from Duke.  As was the case on Thursday, the night games were even more entertaining and featured big plays down the stretch.  Two plays from Friday night really stand out- Shumpert's block/steal on Vasquez to ice the game and Tracy Smith's rainbow that gave the Wolfpack an insurmountable lead in the final minute. 

Defense was the deciding factor today in each game.  First, Duke shut Viriginia down completely to pull away in the final minutes.  Tech was able to shut down Vasquez, particularly in the final minute to hold on after blowing a 20-point lead.  NC State didn't hit a shot for what seemed like an eternity in the latter part of the game, but was able to get enough stops against the Seminoles to maintain a small cushion sown the stretch.

Saturday should be interesting, with the 7, 11 and 12 seeds making it to the Semifinals.  This looks like Duke's tournament to lose- will they be challenged Saturday or Sunday?  Can Miami and NC State complete the ultimate Cinderella story?  Is Hewitt going to shut his critics up and buy himself a few more years?  Greensboro should be rockin' on Saturday, and it will be fun to see how this tournament unfolds.

ACC Tournament Preview

Today begins the greatest college basketball tournament in the nation.  The tournament this year is where it should always be- right in the heart of the ACC at the Greensboro Coliseum. Wake, State and UNC all play today, which means there is a chance that ACC Tournament Friday could have just one team from North Carolina.  I guarantee there is not a single person in the ACC office that wants that to happen, and I don't think it will. 

Despite the 12:00 snooze-fest between Boston College and Virginia, it should be a fantastic day of basketball.  Wake and Miami should play an entertaining game to get things warmed up for the 7:00 and 9:30 games which look promising. 

UNC and Georgia Tech both play exciting styles of basketball and, on paper, the teams match up well.  A ton of NBA talent will be on the floor in that one.  UNC is playing for an NIT berth (let's see if they really care) and Tech needs a win to feel good about Selection Sunday.  Tech has the talent to knock off a few teams this weekend, but the question is whether they will get their act together.

Potentially, the best game of the night could be the State-Clemson game.  Earlier this season, the teams played a thriller in Raleigh that came down to the final minute.  State is fighting for an NIT berth, and probably needs two wins to lock it up.  Clemson has a legitimate opportunity to get to Sunday, but they need to play their best to get it done.  Can Lowe find the magic to make a run?  Can Purnell finally win a post-season game?

Should be a great weekend!

ACC Season Review

We're just two days away from the ACC Tournament, and it's hard to believe how fast the season has gone by.

Player of the Year:  John Scheyer, Duke.
       This was a tough call between Scheyer and Vasquez, as both have been phenomenal.  I'm going with Scheyer because he is steady, consistent and rarely makes a bad decision.  Vasquez brings the flash, but is prone to take a bad shot or force things.  It came down to who I would rather have leading my team, and Scheyer gets the nod.

Coach of the Year:  Gary Williams, Maryland.
       Gary doesn't have the McDonald's All-Americans, but he gets everything out of his players.  He is not only a great tactician, but a superb motivator.

Biggest Disappointment:  North Carolina.
       The Heels were picked to finish first, but were only able to win five league games.  They have as much talent as any team in the league, yet could not figure out how to play as a team or how to play hard.  Roy Williams gets a free pass based on his hall of fame career, but he needs to assess his recruiting decisions and how to adjust his strategy to fit his personnel.
        (Georgia Tech gets an honorable mention here.  How can they finish below .500 with all that talent?)

Triangle Hoops Journal All-ACC Team:
         *Disclaimer- This is the team of THJ's favorite players and most fun to watch, not necessarily the top five players in the conference. 
          John Scheyer, Duke
          Tracy Smith, NC State
          Solomon Alabi, Florida State
          Sylven Landesberg, Virginia
          Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech

There will be more to come over the next several days.

Championship Week

It's time for the biggest week in college basketball- Championship Week.  I will be blogging as much as possible, so check back often!