Oh, right, there is an ACC Tournament to be played here.
1. Who has the edge going in?
UNC, Maryland, and Georgia Tech. The latter two have been playing extremely well heading into the tournament and while momentum often has to be recaptured starting off a tournament, these two looked to be playing up to their potential. Maryland is getting great senior leadership and the right mix of new talent. Georgia Tech is simply living up to the expectation that they would extremely dangerous in March. As for UNC, it is still too early to know if the Duke game was a sign that had cured some of their issues from the previous seven games. If it is then I expect a great tournament from them. UNC also must only win three games which alongside their depth gives them an edge. I also think they draw a much easier Friday game than the other seeds out there. That is not saying either FSU or Clemson will not come up and bite them, but I like their matchup on Friday.
2. Can someone win four games in four days?
Syracuse did it in the Big East last season. Roy said a couple of Big 12 schools did it when he was at Kansas. In short it is possible but difficult. In fact I am ready to say right now that it will be nearly impossible for Duke to do it given their lack of depth. Maryland and Georgia Tech are the best candidates to pull it off because they have decent depth. There is also a bit of a pitfall for the top four teams who play a team on Friday who already has a game under their belt. Granted they might be worn to some extent but they also may be looser in general. Of course the four games in four days is really not an issue until they get to the title game since anything before that is normal. Title games are “anything can happen” affairs and only in the case of a Duke or NC State where there is little depth would a team have an issue of keeping up with a deeper school who may have played fewer games.
3. Which player will simply go off?
In 1993 it was GT’s James Forrest. In 1995 it was Wake’s Randolph Childress. The question is whether or not there is a 2007 version of either one of those guys. In Forrest’s case, he was snubbed as a third team All-ACC selection and played with a chip on his shoulder. Childress was a senior leader who played flat out insane for 125 minutes of basketball. Here are the possible candidates:
Zabian Dowdell, Virginia Tech
D.J. Strawberry, Maryland
Jared Dudley, Boston College
Either one of the Virginia guards
Tyler Hansbrough or Ty Lawson, UNC
Thaddeus Young or Javaris Critteton, GT
4. Can the winner of the 8/9 game make the NCAA Tournament?
Clemson and Florida State are both 7-9 in the ACC and both are on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament. I think Clemson is on the outside more so than FSU despite the fact they have a better record and higher RPI. The higher RPI for Clemson makes little sense to me since FSU clearly had a better strength of schedule and also had a wins over Florida and Duke. The problem for both of them is they need to win this game and then beat UNC which is a tough road to hoe. That being said, if they happen to do just that, they might get in. They also need a serious absence undue upsets in conference tournaments elsewhere. If we get a rash of three to four teams who would not normally get in find their way in via the automatic bid then it will not matter what either of these teams do short of winning the whole weekend.
5. How much productivity will be lost to North Carolina employers on Friday?
Yeah, it is not a basketball question. My guess is a whole heckuva a lot. I love ACC Tournament Friday. I am convinced it really should be a state holiday in North Carolina. Of course they have added Thursday games now which in my opinion just increases the fun and cuts down on the productivity all the more. At any rate it will be a wide open and wild weekend of basketball.