Jeff Gravley

Let the Triangle hoops race begin!

Posted November 8, 2012
Updated November 9, 2012

1988 was a pretty good year with "The Cosby Show" blowing up the TV. "Rain Man" was a box office smash ... yeah, yeah, excellent movie. The Redskins won the Super Bowl and a sneaker company rode the line "Just do it" to millions of dollars. 

1988 is also the last year that North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke finished in the top 3 in the final ACC standings. (It was in that order too.) 

This year could repeat the feat of '88. For those who haven't experienced when the Triangle is that good in basketball, it is absolutely insane. Our trio of teams are good enough to finish 1-2-3 in the race but a few things have to align for that to happen.

NC State

The Wolfpack is the preseason pick to win the ACC and is the highest ranked ACC team in the national preseason poll at number 6. They have the key mixture of talent and experience. Toss in a highly ranked recruiting class and you can see why the Wolfpack was the preseason pick. Plus they have the best point guard in the ACC in Lorenzo Brown. Talented teams with proven point guards tend to go far in March. 

One concern about NC State is where will their focus be. Is it on this season or what they will be doing next season? Are they content with what happened last year or are they famished to hang a banner in PNC arena? Coach Mark Gottfried and his staff have done a great job preaching to the troops how they haven't don't anything yet. Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie summed it up best, "We gotta beat Duke and North Carolina."

Duke

I had the Blue Devils in the 2nd slot in the ACC and that was before the mystery injury to senior Seth Curry. He has been limited with an injured lower leg. An ineffective Curry coupled with the absence of Andre Dawkins, who is sitting out this year, leaves Ryan Kelly as their most proven three-point shooter. Behind the golden arch is a bread and butter area for the Blue Devils.

Quinn Cook will start at the point and freshman Rasheed Sulaimon will start his first game against Georgia State. He knows his minutes will be enhanced by how he defends. Two other newcomers could find important roles for Duke. Amile Jefferson brings athleticism and energy and there is a ruggedness to Alex Murphy who redshirted last year. Mason Plumlee is a double-double threat every night and has developed some other post moves. 

North Carolina

One day before the Tar Heels opener against Gardner-Webb, Roy Williams still hadn't completed his line-up card. Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo, Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige will start the opener but who's in the post? One of the reasons I have North Carolina at number 3 is the fact they will start a freshman at point guard. That's not a knock on Marcus Paige but he's playing the most difficult position for a first-year player to play. Especially the system that North Carolina runs. 

Defense may be the staple of the Tar Heels with the ability to pressure the perimeter with Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock and Marcus Paige. McDonald had a wide grin on his face when I asked him about their ability to defend the perimeter. "Applying pressure and getting steals starts our offense," he said. 

There is a factor to keep in mind. Williams got the scare of his life when a tumor was found on his kidney. He said he really wanted to come back and coach this team. He will, and the players don't want to disappoint their coach. 

14 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • jrt0856 Nov 9, 2012

    HEY State not on TV, havent made to the big time yet, eating at the kids table ESPN3.

  • 1969inyourface Nov 9, 2012

    Uhhh, I dont think the trangle hoops race will begin until January. Just sayin.

  • StunGunn Nov 9, 2012

    I'm ready for the games to begin! I think the ranking of State, Duke, Carolina ia about right, but let's see where we are in February and March. Go Heels!

  • Aint ur day Nov 9, 2012

    View quoted thread


    Hey bozo...not ALL unc fans have that ego! Just remember for future reference when state takes those steps you just might have reason to cheer like the Heels have in recent years.

  • baldchip Nov 9, 2012

    Tar Heels are always full of ego-just ask their fans. The whine and cheese crowd at the Smith Center never think their stuff stinks!!

    State fans have been made humble by years of being down!! However, we have kept the faith.

    GO PACK!!

  • eaglewolf Nov 9, 2012

    . . . or also have high expectations from their respective fanbases? Seriously, whatever.

  • eaglewolf Nov 9, 2012

    View quoted thread


    State and Duke won't be "full of ego"? Mmmkay.

  • Tarheel born Nov 9, 2012

    This is going to be a great season of Basketball in the Triangle. If Wake Forest can get several good recruiting classes we may just have ourselves another Big 4 Tournament. At least I can wish it!

    GO HEELS!!

  • SpartanDude Nov 9, 2012

    I'm looking forward to this year's ACC vs B1G matchups. Indiana vs UNC, Michigan hosting NCState, Duke vs Ohio State, FSU vs Minnesota, Wisconsin vs UVA, Michigan State @ Miami (Go Green! Go White!) these are all games with a currently ranked team. Pretty freakin awesome if they all stay ranked by the time they tip off!

  • VT1994Hokie Nov 9, 2012

    Looking forward to seeing some great teams play this year. My team won't be all that much, but these 3 teams in the Triangle will be fun to watch.

More...

 

 

  • NFL Chicago at Dallas

    Tonight at 8:20 on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Chicago at Dallas

    Tonight at 8:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Hurricanes at Washington (Stream only)

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Atlanta at New Orleans

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 22
Houston0Final
New England27
Sunday, Sep. 25
Arizona18Final
Buffalo33
 
Minnesota22Final
Carolina10
 
Denver29Final
Cincinnati17
 
Detroit27Final
Green Bay34
 
Baltimore19Final
Jacksonville17
 
Cleveland24F(OT)
Miami30
 
Washington29Final
NY Giants27
 
Oakland17Final
Tennessee10
 
San Francisco312:53
4th Qtr
Seattle37
 
Los Angeles2414:48
4th Qtr
Tampa Bay20
 
San Diego192:39
3rd Qtr
Indianapolis20
 
NY Jets313:58
4th Qtr
Kansas City17
 
Pittsburgh31:52
3rd Qtr
Philadelphia33
 
Chicago 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Dallas 
Monday, Sep. 26
Atlanta 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
New Orleans 
 
NHL Preseason
Columbus3Final
St. Louis7
 
St. Louis 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT
Columbus 
 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 
 
TOUR Championship (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1tR. McIlroy-1218
1tR. Moore-1218
1tK. Chappell-1218
4P. Casey-918
5H. Matsuyama-618
6tJ. Thomas-518
6tD. Johnson-518
8tA. Scott-418
8tJ. Dufner-418
10tS. Kim-218
View Full Leaderboard
 
Evian Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1I. Chun-21F
2tS. Park-17F
2tS. Ryu-17F
4S. Feng-15F
5S. Kim-14F
6I. Kim-12F
7A. Stanford-10F
8H. Nomura-9F
9tB. Henderson-7F
9tA. Jutanugarn-7F
View Full Leaderboard
 
European Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Levy - z-19F
2R. Fisher - y-19F
3tM. Jonzon-16F
3tR. Karlsson-16F
5B. Wiesberger-15F
6M. Kaymer-14F
7tR. Bland-13F
7tE. De La Riva-13F
7tF. Fritsch-13F
7tG. Havret-13F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Pacific Links (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1tC. Montgomerie-149
1tS. McCarron-149
3tM. Jimenez-1317
3tS. Dunlap-1310
5tB. Langer-1215
5tD. Garwood-129
7tF. Funk-1116
7tM. Dawson-1113
7tW. Wood-1113
7tD. Waldorf-1111
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Sunday, Sep. 25
St. Petersburg Open (ATP)
Final
(1) S. Wawrinka2 6 5   
(5) A. Zverev6 3 7   
 
Moselle Open (ATP)
Final
(1) D. Thiem65 2    
(3) L. Pouille77 6    
 
WTA Scoreboard
Sunday, Sep. 25
Korea Open (WTA)
Final
(5) M. Niculescu0 6 0   
L. Arruabarre6 2 6   
 
Wuhan Tennis Open (WTA)
First Round
Y. Wickmayer6 77    
S. Rogers3 61    
D. Kovinic79 5 4   
L. Siegemund67 7 6   
Y. Shvedova6 6    
S. Zheng0 3    
I. Begu4 77 6   
E. Kulichkova6 64 2   
V. Lepchenko5 3    
L. Safarova7 6    
T. Babos3 5    
K. Siniakova6 7    
(9) S. Kuznetsova6 3    
B. Bencic3 4    
(13) R. Vinci6 6    
M. Puig3 3    
(12) T. Bacsinszky3 3    
L. Chirico6 4    
E. Makarova6 6    
S. Lisicki1 2