Sunday, March 16, 2008

ACC Wrap-Up

Another great escape for UNC. Another disappointment for the Tigers. This time, however, the two didn't happen in the same game. Carolina barely snuck by Virginia Tech on what was, to be perfectly honest, a player-of-the-year type play by Tyler Hansbrough (followed by an America's Funniest Home Videos type dance/run in celebration). Side note to Jeff Allen - on the last offensive play of the game, you maybe, just maybe, want to think about boxing out the best rebounder in the ACC. Just a thought.

As for the Hokies, at least Seth Greenberg can look forward to next year. It took half a season to get his freshmen up to speed and to figure out his rotation. That half a season cost them their bid. But they played as good as anyone in the country after mid-February. They lost two games - at Clemson, and essentially at UNC - by 3 points and 4.4 seconds. They played the absolute best defense against the Tar Heels as any team all season. If the season were a week longer, or the Hokies had come together a week or so earlier (or freaking Georgia hadn't run over the SEC), they might have been sitting there as a deadly matchup for a 5 seed (you think Drake would want to play the Hokies right now?). But it was not to be. Still, with everyone except D-ron back next season, the Hokies are in prime position for another tourney run in 2008-09.

In the championship game, Carolina won it in about 7 minutes of play. From the 15 minute mark to the 8 minute mark of the second half, the Heels turned a 1-point lead into 13, scoring 22 points in 13 possessions, during which Clemson recorded precisely zero defensive rebounds (UNC had 10 scoring possessions and 3 turnovers, and picked offensive boards on all 4 of their missed shots). Although Clemson made a valiant run to get back in it, the 13 point deficit was just too much to overcome. KC Rivers played one heck of a game, and Booker was fierce down low on defense, but it wasn't enough for the Tigers.

Now it's on to the tournament. Only 4 teams in the ACC got in, and while we can all bitch and moan about the top RPI conference getting the fewest teams of any major conference (tied with the Big 10), the only team that really had possible cause for complaint was Virginia Tech, and when you lose games to Penn State and Richmond, you can't complain too loudly. Early returns on the brackets are that UNC got a rough road (Tennessee, Louisville, Indiana, even Notre Dame), Clemson has a chance to make some noise, Miami got a reasonably good matchup with St. Mary's, and Duke has a decent shot of matching up with UCLA in the Elite 8. Check back in during the week for more in depth pod previews, and a look at those teams continuing their post-season play in non-NCAA environments.

1 comment:

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I wouldn't take the ACC tournament results quite so seriously.

Who won the tournament in 2005? Who won the NCAA tourney that year?

Who won the tournament in 2002? Who won the NCAA tourney that year?

So maybe this is Duke's year to do better in the NCAA tournament after flaming out in the ACC tourney.