What About Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State?
Teams can’t be judged on the records that they’ve compiled because the 2013-2014 NCAA Basketball real season hits when all of the ACC teams collide in inter-conference play; that’s when we’ll decipher the contenders from the pretenders.
One team that’s out of the mix are the Miami Hurricanes. It was great while it lasted for the Canes, but with no Shane Larkin and many other talents, this team was a “one hit wonder”.
Due to heavy recruiting, the ACC’s “Big 3” is comprised of Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. Part of the reason why these teams already have a couple of losses attached to their resumes is the strength in their schedules. While some universities choose to play “cupcakes”, these teams do not. With the integration of Syracuse and Pitt into the mix, this is going to be one of the most competitive ACC seasons in recent history.
In all, there are 15 teams in the ACC Conference with winning records. Most conferences don’t even have that many teams.
Mark that date on your calendar as head coach, Jim Boeheim, C.J. Fair, and the 2nd ranked Syracuse Orange square off against the #8 Villanova Wildcats. Syracuse is at home and will be a moderate favorite. As Cuse’s schedule gets more difficult, we’ll get a barometer of “the best from the rest”.
Duke has dominated in recruiting as they’ve acquired freshman sensation, Jabari Parker and transfer Rodney Hood. There isn’t a better 1-2 punch in the conference and Duke will certainly give the Orange a run for their money. When you also add in one of the best coaches in college basketball history in head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke is even that much more powerful.
A Krzyzewski vs. Boeheim battle would be a must watch and must bet. At this point, my money would be on Duke due to their star power, but Boeheim has taken teams of lesser talents very far over his illustrious career.
Bottom line is if a team is going to win the ACC Title, they’re going to have to go through Duke and Parker to get it. Duke is coming off of an easy 80-63 victory over UCLA and the combination of Parker and Hood has combined for almost 40 points, 13 rebounds, and some spectacular shooting. Add point guard Quinn Cook into the mix and that makes Duke deadly.
The Carolina Factor
Folks, I’m talking about North Carolina because where there’s Duke, UNC isn’t far behind. Thus far, the Tarheels have been great but inconsistent. They’ve beaten top rated teams such as Michigan State and then have lost to teams of lesser talent.
James Michael McAdoo certainly hasn’t played up to his potential, but when UNC faces Duke, look for them to turn it up a gear. You put Pittsburgh and Syracuse in the mix, and the Tarheels will have to rise to the occasion many nights.
What To Look For?
This conference, excluding last year, always comes down to Duke and North Carolina. Now, you have to add Syracuse into the mix. My money is on Duke and Parker, but never underestimate an experienced Syracuse squad with Jim Boeheim as their head coach. We’re in for a dandy of a season in the ACC!