February 11, 2010
I think this year's ACC race is one of the most interesting in years. The conference is weaker this year than in most, with few (if any) in national prominence. UNC's struggles, while not wholly unexpected for experienced observers, is weaker than anyone expected. That was shown last night when Duke took them to task. Carolina played about as well as they could play and were still short by a significant margin. Wake has played better than most people expected, with Ish Smith taking the lead role, and a good but not great supporting cast. What the Deacs really do well is play defense, and live off of Smith's direction of the offense. If he's struggling to penetrate, the Deacons are struggling. Virginia has played much better than expected too, but they have some real talented players who are getting it done. As usual, NCSU has talent, but can't seem to get on the same page together. Georgia Tech is very good this year and could win the tournament. Duke is the best team in the league bar none, and should take the regular season championship. They are beatable, however, and half the teams in the league could take them on a given night. So they have to stay sharp to win it. These last few weeks of the season are going to be really fun. Defense around the league is very good and very physical. Most games are kind of ragged as a result, but teams will have to win some ugly if they are going to get into the NCAA playoffs.