Joe Ovies

ACC still a wide open affair

Posted January 15, 2013

Saturday's contest between NC State and Duke was such an impactful local sporting event that folks are still discussing peripheral issues left in its wake. There has been debate as to whether or not the win itself was an upset at all, if the Wolfpack will suffer a letdown against Maryland on Wednesday, if the result would have been the same had Ryan Kelly been healthy and whether or not Duke should still be considered the top team in the country based on their early season résumé. 

And, of course, there's the viral phenomenon of Will Privette, the wheelchair-bound NC State student who had the student body president push him into the center of the post-game pandemonium. Privette has done countless interviews, including a spot on "Today" with Matt Lauer, and inspired an officially licensed shirt with "Roll Pack" emblazoned on the front. 

All of this has taken attention away from what's happening in the rest of the ACC, which has been confusing to say the least. One could run themselves in circles trying to gauge where various teams stand at this point, so maybe all the talk about NC State and Duke is for the best.

Virginia, floated by the Sporting News to potentially finish second in the conference after a home win against North Carolina, was hit with a double-dose of head scratching losses to Wake Forest and Clemson. The Demon Deacons? They've got an opportunity to push their league record to 3-1 with a game against the Tigers Tuesday night. 

Georgia Tech was a trendy selection to make the NCAA Tournament because of its defensive play, but now the Yellow Jackets find themselves winless early in the conference slate. At one point Miami was thought to be in serious trouble because of Reggie Johnson's injury, but the Hurricanes have seen the emergence of Kenny Kadji and have reeled off wins against the Jackets, the Tar Heels, and Maryland. And those Terrapins? The shine has come off rather quickly despite a talented roster.

Of course, it's still too early to make sweeping generalizations about the ACC. All of the above simply illustrates why it's senseless to jump on or off any bandwagons in the middle of January. Don't be like Phillip Bridges, '86 graduate of North Carolina, who wrote a ridiculous letter to the Daily Tar Heel following a win over Florida State.

North Carolina certainly doesn't lack talent. Just compare their roster to programs outside of Durham and Raleigh. Most of them would be more than happy to take the court with that personnel. The issue is execution on both ends of the floor. Some of it relates to inexperience, which is why Marcus Paige has struggled. Most of it relates to staying focused, which manifested itself as North Carolina suffered defensive lapses as Florida State went 6-of-10 from beyond the arc in the 2nd half. However, the Tar Heels managed to avoid the same let downs against the Cavaliers and Hurricanes by absorbing the punches and closing the deal. 

That's why I never understood the existential crisis that unfolded in Chapel Hill following an 0-2 start in conference play. Ultimately, the stupidity of the ACC will save the Tar Heels from a potentially horrendous season. The key is for North Carolina to solidify on-court leadership from Reggie Bullock and PJ Hairston while actually learning some basketball IQ while the conference sorts itself out.

39 Comments

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  • Heelraiser RIP Jan 17, 2013

    Just like the radio show, Master of the Obvious, Joe is

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Jan 16, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Miami is tough.

    But Maryland is, too, and we always have a hard time in their house. I'm still more worried about Maryland than Miami. Maryland is also the hangover game after the Duke win.

  • StunGunn Jan 16, 2013

    View quoted thread


    I thought it was his iPhone.

  • StunGunn Jan 16, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Sometimes very talented teams, which State is this year, have trouble "getting up" for weaker teams. I've seen this a lot with Carolina teams in the past. As a fan, it can be maddening, but I think most fans would rather be in your shoes this year than not. Gott is a good coach, and he can keep them focused, dangling the NCAAT carrot in front of them. I'm not looking forward to seeing the Heels play State this year, that's for sure.

  • Toddler10-21 Jan 16, 2013

    Miami is the team I'm most worried about as a Pack fan. They are big with, or without Johnson. They have soild guard play, and some athletes coming off the bench. Plus they have a solid coach. I think Duke will be fine with or without Kelly, because with more minutes Jefferson will be pretty good. Kelly can shoot the outside shot when open, buut they have enough shooters. Where they need help is on the inside. Plumlee can't be your only inside player. Miami will give alot of teams fits with there inside play.

  • Hammerhead Jan 16, 2013

    View quoted thread


    .....and Dead Horse Beating.

  • packerbacker1976 Jan 16, 2013

    Unfortunately, I beleive the State/Duke game solidified my view on the program this year..We play to the level of our opponent. We have talent galore, enough to run with any team in the nation. But, they don't always show that enthusiasm and passion they showed for the Duke game. Look at the Okla St, BC and GT games. No talk, no hustle, no swagger= no win. Leslie and the group looked disinterested at best in being there. And that's not good this year in a down ACC. Honestly, beside Duke, State and Miami, everyone else looks weak. There are teams that have potential like UNC, FSU and Virginia if they can get everyone on the same page, to be successful. I think State is for real, but we will have letdowns against some weaker opponents, but I think if we make it to the big dance with a mid-range seed, we will be better off than being a 4 and playing an automatic-bid, weaker conference team that we don't get [uas][/u] pumped up for. I'd rather be a 7 or 8 and play a decent middle of the road power conference team with some name brand. I like Lunardi's board right now for the fact that we can face Kansas again. We owe them a little something. Go Pack!!!!!

  • unc70 Jan 15, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Had a very busy and intense social calendar last week. We made it to the loss on Thursday, but not able to post afterward. Did finally post late in the main State-Duke story on the WP main page. Will wander over to the Den in a bit. Had to work late tonight catching up from my long "virtual" vacation.

    I still think nearly every ACC team will have 6 or more losses, nearly all on the road.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jan 15, 2013

    View quoted thread


    lol

  • heelsforever Jan 15, 2013

    Sports takes a back seat to Joe's first love --- pop culture.

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