Thursday, February 11, 2010

Five Questions About The ACC Race

After a busy Wednesday night and in advance of another active weekend, here are five issues awaiting a resolution in the muddled ACC basketball race:

1. Could North Carolina finish last?

Absolutely. That doesn't mean it's going to happen 0r that it's likely to happen but if the Tar Heels lose at home Saturday to N.C. State, they'll be in the cellar with three weeks left in the regular season. And they still have to visit Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Duke.

2. Will North Carolina Play In The NIT?

Unless they win out or run the table in the ACC tournament, it's going to be their only post-season option. Would the Tar Heels take it? Their fans will say no. The administration may say otherwise.

3. If Lance Thomas Is Out, What Happens To Duke?

It doesn't help, that's for sure. Thomas is one of those players whose value can't be measured by the stat sheet. He gives Duke a strong interior defensive presence and if Duke is without him for a while, it won't be as good. Freshman Mason Plumlee will have to play a more prominent role and he's getting better as the season goes on.

The Blue Devils are built around the trio of Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith and this will only increase the burden on them.

4. Which Teams Will Get First-Round ACC Tournament Byes?

Barring a total collapse, Duke will have Thursday off in Greensboro. Maryland will probably get one of those byes, as well. From there, it's still wide open. Right now, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech are the best bets.

5. How Many NCAA Teams Will The ACC Get?

It's getting to that point where the barometer reading changes with every game. With nine teams at 17-7 or better, the records look good enough but some of that is fool's gold. Miami hasn't beaten enough good teams to get in. Florida State is in its usual iffy position, probably outside looking in. Clemson needs to find some consistency and Georgia Tech runs hot and cold.

Right now, it looks like five.


Mia said...

I have been pleasantly surprised by Wakes play; if they stay consistent it will be a good finish. Also, it is good to see Duke doing well, though the final stretch will be a challenge. Unfortunate about UNC this year, though I think deep down most of us expected a tough year for them anyways. Always going for the underdog, go Wake!

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