Jim Quist @ACCTheQ –
Just last month Andy Katz released his college men’s basketball Preseason Power 36. It wasn’t too encouraging for ACC teams. There were only four teams from the conference and just one in the top 10 of his rankings. But hold on there Sparky. Teams from the conference throw a seven in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology from ESPN with one team a top seed. Where’s the disconnect?
I’ll let you answer that question. Let’s move on to more intriguing matters, i.e., what ACC teams are given the nod? We’ll start with the top team and that’s Virginia. Tony Bennett has by far one of his most loaded (talent and depth) teams in quite a while. Some may argue, ever. The team can smother opponents with a wet blanket on defense but it’s the offense that has raised an eyebrow. There’s definitely more firepower on the offensive side of the ball this year. Enough so that if the Cavaliers needed to go on a tear and speed things up on offense Bennett could unleash the beast that has, so far, remained chained.
The Cavaliers are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest and are joined by what is, at the very least, a rejuvenated North Carolina at No. 6. This Region won’t be a cakewalk if Lunardi’s predictions come true. At No. 2 is Kansas, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Illinois and rounding it out is No. 5 Tennessee. This looks like you’ll need to throw a seven to come out unscathed.
Throw A Seven
We go to the East Region for our next highest ranked ACC men’s team. The Duke Blue Devils are No. 2 and have the pleasure of joining No. 5 Florida State in representing the conference. The No. 1 seed is Villanova who present more than a fair share of trouble for any opponents.
As mentioned Florida State is the No. 5 seed but what teams are before and after the Seminoles? At No. 3 is West Virginia, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 6 Rutgers. But, let’s not stop there as there’s also No. 7 Michigan and a team flying under the radar, No. 10 Richmond.
Up next is the South Region where the No. 1 seed is Baylor. What ACC teams are seeded here? At No. 6 it’s Louisville who drops one notch from the previous bracket released August 10. Next is Miami who comes in as the No. 9 seed.
This is a ‘gets real ugly quick’ Region as you’ll see with the 2-5 seeds. At No. 2 is Wisconsin, No. 3 Creighton, No. 4 Kentucky and we finish up with No. 5 Oregon. If it remains this way (which we know it won’t) it will be a lot of fun to watch.
Roll The Dice
The West Regional finds Gonzaga as the No. 1 seed and just one ACC team on the list. Back in August Lunardi had Syracuse as the No. 11 team in the Midwest. Things have changed since then as the Orange move over to the West and move up to No. 8. Lunardi has loaded this Region up with a bevy of Texas based teams. Who follows the leader? At No. 2 is Iowa, No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Texas Tech and wrapping up the top 5 is Houston.
Among the First Four Out are Virginia Tech and Clemson and both teams appear capable of breaking into the bracket.
Overall, the Big Ten leads the way for conferences with a total of 9 teams and the ACC and SEC share second with 7 teams apiece.
Get a full look at the latest bracket from Joe Lunardi at ESPN.
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