first off, my predictions for the final acc finish. recorded for posterity; want to put ten bucks or some porn on how close to right i am?
- boston college
- georgia tech
- florida state
- virginia tech
- wake forest
- north carolina state
north carolina (1): besides my bias, i have two words that will sum up the entire season for the heels: "chemistry" and "tyler". good chemistry amongst a mind-blowing freshman class (expect the heels to start at least one, ty lawson at point, and maybe two, if shooting guard wayne ellington's game is as good as they say it is) and the returning sophomores and juniors is crucial for this team; roy started two freshman last year, plus now-senior (and my future ex-husband) wes miller. bobby frasor and marcus ginyard will still see plenty of minutes, but wes may not. can they find a chemistry and lineup that keeps everybody happy? it's a necessity. and so is tyler hansbrough: a healthy, happy psycho t -- who'll get true help inside from two frosh right off -- might be player of the year, and if he is, look for another title for roy, now that the monkey's gone. (bonus: if reyshawn terry shows up, the heels win. if reyshawn doesn't bring his game, they lose. simple as the pretty written all over my baby daddy's face.)
boston college (2): i hate myself.
virginia (3): returns all five starters and a talented freshman class full of role players; beat carolina last year. a far, far better team than they look on paper.
duke (4): jj redick and shelden williams are irreplaceable players, no matter how i feel about them personally, and greg paulus is out indefinitely; sorry, duke fans, but i know broken foot bones in the preseason, and sean may missed 95% of that season. you won't have him back 100% before february at the earliest, and by then it's too late. possible higher finish factor: gerald henderson, high school teammate and best friend of tarheel freshman wayne ellington. enigma on the court. could be a plus factor for the dukies.
georgia tech (5): unlike virginia, they don't return their entire starting lineup, but they return a fair portion and a handful of awesome freshmen. paul hewitt still remains one of my top young coaches, even though he's not that young and he's been at tech a couple of years now. he's smart, and he's got talent to make waves this year. look for a lot of better teams to fall in atlanta.
florida state (6): bruisers and speedsters and gunners, oh my! a large portion of the team that beat duke last season comes back; could go up or down a few spots, depending on how they play early on. i think that their first three or four games will set the tone for their season.
maryland (7): most people are predicting a lower finish for them, but it's gary williams. he's a good coach; he can get a mid-field finish (and maybe a tournament bid) out of his lineup this year.
clemson (8): death valley is a tough place to play, no matter what kind of team clemson fields. given that i know very, very little about the team that they're fielding this year, picking them 8 seems a fair spot.
virginia tech (9) and miami (10): depleted teams who are reeling from less than successful football seasons (do not underestimate the football season as an influence on the basketball season; carolina's miserable season should drive them to success on the court, for one thing) at traditionally powerful schools.
wake forest (11): wake forest, unlike nc state with herb sendek, is willing to wait to watch skip prosser work his magic. prosser is a very talented coach who paid his dues on his way up to wake forest (when i was in middle school, i used to go watch him coach at loyola (maryland), and he moved from there to A10 school xavier (why is it still the atlantic 10 if there are fourteen teams?)) and he's a great recruiter who's been hurt by team chemistry and early departure for the nba recently, but his freshman class is stellar and he returns a player or two who should help with leadership, but the team is young with a capital Y and this won't be prosser's year. next year, maybe.
north carolina state (12): poor sidney lowe; despite the fact that i sent lee fowler, nc state's athletic director, my cover letter and resume when they were searching for a coach, i don't want that job. (i promised to wear short skirts and high heels, and maybe that would distract the fans from the fact that no matter how good a coach or a team state has, they won't be as good a team or a coach as duke and carolina have.) it sucks out loud to be a team from north carolina that isn't carolina or duke; it does. and sidney lowe's going to have a shitty, shitty year this year -- transition coaching year, a thin team, and the frustrated, angry fans who pushed herb sendek so hard he actually did quit. (very few coaches quit. they are mostly made to quit, to avoid firing.) sidney lowe is going to suck this year, and i think he knows it, and i hope that the state fans recognize it, and know that they can only go up from here.
aaaaand that's all, folks. later this week: how mike anderson will fare with 40 minutes of hell in the big 12; why the big east makes me want to rip my hair out; why the acc gets no respect come tournament time; and my final four picks.
IT'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON, WHY AREN'T YOU EXCITED YET.