Here we go! Whether we like it or not, we're full-on in basketball mode. And that means us ACC bloggers get together to complain about how bad our teams are (well the nice ones anyway). This week, we're lucky that James Curle of Reddick and Reynolds, a good N.C. State blog, decided to volunteer his services.
Check out some predictions and discussion on the ACC as a whole after the jump...
Every football season, we bloggers and pundits preach the importance of the league to perform well out of conference to improve the league's image. Basketball certainly has a much better reputation historically, but do you think the ACC has some work to do before league play starts to get back to being viewed as the NCAA's standard-bearer for the sport? Could a dominant or lackluster performance in November and December significantly help or hurt the ACC's reputation or are most folks' opinions about ACC basketball pretty set?
Short answer? Yes, it could hurt. There will be one or two surprise teams that will play well or make a run (look to Clemson, Miami, FSU, etc.), but if teams like State, Maryland and VT struggle, or UNC chokes, the ACC will be a mess. Duke and a bunch of underachievers.
And yes, November and December matter. Because what will happen is the Big Ten will win their easy games in November and December while the ACC sputters, and the Big Ten will do their typical "beat up on each other but get like 7 or 8 teams in the tournament," Michigan State will be awesome, a couple other teams will make runs outside of Ohio State and the ACC will look embarrassing by comparison, even if Duke wins it all.
We've all seen our teams at least once now. Have you seen anything in the limited action thus far that is cause for concern or cause for greater optimism that where your opinion stood just a couple of weeks ago?
We have no ball handlers. We don't box out on defense. We're extremely young. We make a ton of mistakes. So, no, that's pretty much what I thought was going to happen-I just didn't think we'd lose to Stetson.
Give me your preseason votes for: POY, COY, ROY. Explain.
POY: Duke's Kyle Singler, easy, whether he earns it or not (but he probably will deserve it).
COY: Going out on a limb a little bit here and saying Brad Brownell. Dunno. Have a feeling he's going to do a great job over there at Clemson.
ROY: Why not, I'm going to the only place where I think Wake will win this award-it's a tossup in my mind, but I'm taking Travis McKie. While JT Terrell may have more points by year's end, I think McKie will have the better overall season. If not him, then one of those vaunted Burger Boys like Harrison Barnes or something.
Which stands the greater probability of reoccurring this season: Duke winning the national title or Carolina returning to the NIT?
Duke winning the title. They're a really really good basketball team this year, and even though Ohio State looks decent so far, they'll choke. They're Ohio State.
I can't speak to the attendance figures for most of the other schools in the league, but State's opening matchup against Tennessee Tech was nowhere near a sellout. There were quite a few empty seats in the Dean Dome for the game against Lipscomb as well. As television and internet technology continue to advance, consumers are starting to get better entertainment value for the dollar staying home rather than paying for tickets to attend the game themselves. In the coming years, how will ADs - struggling to balance very tight budgets - continue to move tickets and put butts in the seats without slashing ticket prices drastically?
ADs will put butts in the seats by making the ticket a commodity. And a commodity is a team that wins games. You may have to come up with 4 for $40 deals, or group discounts, or promotions or whatever for some of those early season games, but if you have a winning team-the people will want to come.
Unfortunately, if it is the other way around, it doesn't matter if your ticket is $5; a person in Winston-Salem is not going to want to watch Wake Forest get waxed by Stetson or beat Hampton by 7.
Which team will be the big surprise this season, either exceeding expectations or greatly falling well short of them?
Going with Clemson again here based on Brad Brownell. The dude won a TON of games at UNCW and Wright State and always exceeded expectations. He's young; he relates to players and he makes adjustments to his personnel. Outside of the top 3-4 spots, the ACC is really open this year, and I wouldn't be shocked to see them right up there. I'm not talking 12 wins, but 9 or 10 and a 5th-7th place finish are a definite possibility.