So UNC cut down the nets last spring, lost 68 percent of their scoring, lost the nation's top point guard and the nation's blandest spokesman for AT&T, yet their still top dogs in the ACC. Sometimes, college basketball stinks. The Tar Heels return Ed Davis and one of the top recruiting classes in the country. It used to be that Duke would capitalize on such an opportunity, and once again be king of the ACC Castle. Not so fast. The biggest threat to the Heels this season is probably a balanced Georgia Tech team who may have the best center in the country in Derrick Favors. Maryland wants to mix it up too, with Greivis Vazquez and two frontcourt freshman in James Padgett and Jordan Williams.
From there the conference gets mediocre fairly quick. Clemson seems to get high praise, but when you look at their last six games from the previous two seasons, the Tigers were 4-8.
Our breakdown is after the jump
Tourney teams (in order of conference finish)
- North Carolina
- Georgia Tech
- Wake Forest
All Conference Team
- Greivis Vazquez, Maryland
- Kyle Singler, Duke
- Ed Davis, North Carolina
- Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
- Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Most overrated - Duke's mystique. Paul Hewitt on the hot seat.
Notable non-conference match-ups:
- 11/19 - 11/22 - Georgia Tech vs. Dayton and likely Villanova (in Puerto Rico)
- 12/2 - Illinois @ Clemson
- 12/5 - UNC @ Kentucky (as good as it gets)
- 12/6 - Maryland vs. Villanova (in D.C.)
- 12/19 - Duke vs. Gonzaga (@MSG)
Five story lines to keep tabs on:
- Clemson. Can they have a complete season?
- UNC. Do they become less irritating to all the cool people now that Tyler Hansbrough has moved on?
- Michael Snaer. next Toney Douglas?
- Blue Devil backcourt. Will Duke fans be subjected to Olek Czyz if a member of their backcourt suffers an injury?
- Maryland fans. They are some of the most brutal in the nation (and we like that). Will they have reason to gloat while they hurl profanities at opponents visiting the Comcast Arena.