Three Killer ACC Basketball Questions
Editor’s note: Will Ojanen presents three ACC basketball questions. On the panel, Chris Bond, Xayveon and Jim Quist.
Is Tony Bennett a lock for ACC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year?
W: I don’t think so. I might actually give it to Brad Brownell at this point. Sure, Bennett has put Virginia at the top of the ACC, but I think Brownell has achieved more this year.
Clemson was projected to finish 13th in the ACC and they’re sitting in second place. Also, the Tigers continue to win without Donte Grantham and a change to the way they’re playing.
Q: Thought I’d sleep on this question. I regretted the decision the next morning when not even a pot of coffee put a dent in my lack of sleep. There are few things worse than dreaming about Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Larranaga all at the same time. Well, maybe Rick Pitino but that’s another story.
Only two names sifted their way through and they are Tony Bennett and Kevin Keatts. I considered Brownell for a minute but it was fleeting. Sorry Clemson fans. Maybe it’s what he hasn’t done up to this point (career at Clemson) that’s getting in the way.
Bennett for all the obvious reasons and Keatts for turning around a program that’s been in a deep fail mode for some time. The latter resonates with me.
X: If UVA can go the rest of the way suffering only one loss or undefeated then I don’t see anyone more deserving than Tony Bennett for ACC Coach of the Year. This team has fought and earned every bit of respect and then some this season when they were certainly overlooked.
In a close second and to not be overlooked you must absolutely look at the job Brad Brownell has done at Clemson. He’s essentially made a the school pay attention to their basketball program which is always difficult to do in a football town.
C: I’d roll with Bennett right now and a close second is Brownell. But, don’t leave out Kevin Keatts at NC State just yet. With three quality wins from a squad that only won 11 games overall last year I submit he has to be considered at this point.
If you were in charge of selecting teams for the NCAA Tournament would you pick NC State and/or Virginia Tech?
W: I think it’s going to be awfully hard to leave NC State out of the tournament with the wins they have on their resume. They have beaten Arizona, Clemson, Duke, and UNC so far. Sure, their non conference schedule is pretty weak, but the wins listed above are too good to ignore.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand is a more difficult selection. They have one win inside the top 40 of KenPom and when they’ve had their chances to pull off some upsets, they haven’t. They certainly have more chances to strengthen their resume, but as of right now, I wouldn’t put them in.
Q: At this point in the season both teams must have solid wins to be NCAA worthy. I’d vote in NC State today because they’ve progressed. The Pack has delivered when it mattered especially as the season became tougher. Selection committees are all about, “what have you done for me lately” and with good reason. People talk about their non-conference dings as if it happened yesterday. To me, those are toss-away losses.
As for Virginia Tech, I don’t think they deserve a spot. If they pull off some amazing upsets over the next few weeks (their schedule is murderer’s row) and push deep into the ACC Tournament, they’ll get a serious look. I’m in agreement with Matthew over at AllSportsDACC about the Hokies. They may be lucky to find their way into the NIT at this point. Frankly, they’ve been disappointing this season.
X: This really isn’t even close and you can review Will’s points above. NC State has beaten four Top 25 teams to this point while VA Tech only one. NC State has defeated the only top 25 team Tech has a win over (UNC). Can they pull off a second win when the Tar Heels come to town on February 10?
C: I’m definitely running with the Pack. Coming off a dominant 18 point win over Notre Dame, the message being sent from Raleigh is loud and clear. I’m with Will on ignoring the weak non conference schedule because they’ve come through with big wins in a tough neighborhood.
As for Virginia Tech, I’ll just say there’s plenty of opportunities coming up fast to build their resume. I believe Buzz’s kids can get there but we need results.
Pick the over/under for 1.5 conference losses for Virginia. (Over=two or more, Under=one or less)
W: I’m taking the Over. The rest of the schedule (especially on the road) is pretty tough for the Cavaliers. I think they lose twice.
Q: This feels like throwing a dart at a Hummingbird (I’d never do that BTW). Contrary to what Will is saying (the prototypical pessimistic Virginia fan who doesn’t want to jinx the team), I feel that Virginia is really beginning to click on offense. That statement, my friends should send shivers down the backs of their opponents. We know their defense works but the question for me has always been, can they deliver points? Yes, they can and the bench is also delivering. Call me an optimist – Under.
XG: I’m taking the Under due to the Cavaliers ability to consistently play defense regardless of the opponent. Even if they were to suffer a poor shooting night, the other team is going to have to work for every basket. From what I see on the upcoming schedule no team would put fear in my eyes if I was Virginia. Remember, they went to Duke’s turf and kept a team scoring 90+ ppg. to just 63 points.
C: Outside of maybe Florida State, I don’t see a team left on the schedule putting 50 points on Virginia’s defense. You have to be quick in transition to challenge them. The Seminoles are the only ones I see left that can do that and even then I’m not optimistic. I’m taking the Under with maybe one bad night. I’d keep Bennett.
Three Killer ACC Basketball Questions