Favorite: Duke Blue Devils
I'm not expecting too much of an argument on that one. Not only is Duke the No. 1 team in the country right now -- even without Kyrie Irving -- but the rest of the ACC has been just pitiful. People are legitimately discussing whether or not Duke has a chance to go undefeated this season, and I guarantee that there are more people that think Duke won't lose a game than think the Blue Devils won't win the ACC.
Player of the Year: Reggie Jackson, Boston College
There are a number of legitimate Player of the Year options in the ACC at this point in the season, but I'm going with Jackson. He's second in the conference in both scoring (19.2) and assists (5.0) while grabbing 4.4 rpg and shooting an obscene 50.9% from three. He's also been the catalyst in BC's resurgence under Steve Donahue, carrying the team to a 10-2 mark here early in the season, which includes a win on the road against Maryland in their ACC opener. As crazy as it may sound, BC might just be the second best team in the ACC. And Reggie Jackson is the reason why.
Biggest Surprise: Virginia Tech Hokies
Boston College has probably been the only team in the conference that has been a surprise in a positive way. Since I don't want to talk about the Eagles, I'll go the other direction. This was supposed to be Virginia Tech's year to breakthrough. With senior Malcolm Delaney leading this way, the Hokie's were going to have the supporting cast around the ACC Player of the Year as they gave Duke a run for their money atop the conference. That was the plan, anyway. Then Allan Chaney had a heart condition discovered, JT Thompson tore his acl, and Virginia Tech struggled through the non-conference portion of their schedule before finding out that Dorenzo Hudson, last year's leading scorer, would miss the rest of the season due to injury. Without a quality win, and with very few quality wins available in the ACC this year, it looks as if the Hokies will once again miss the NCAA Tournament.
Biggest Disappointment: Harrison Barnes
Since I'm not going to simply answer "the conference as a whole" (because that would be too
correct accurate easy), I'll go with Barnes. Barnes has been far from bad this season. He is the Tar Heel's second leading scorer at 12.3 ppg, which, as an incoming freshman, is commendable. The problem is that with the hype bestowed upon this young man this season, "commendable" is not good enough. Barnes was named CBSSports.com preseason national Player of the Year and became the first freshman to ever be named an AP Preseason All-American. Its not his fault that he had this much hype coming in, but he certainly hasn't lived up to those expectations. Its not an issue of talent, it seems more to be an issue of confidence. Barnes is not playing as aggressive as many expected him to, and he certainly isn't shooting the ball all that well. There is still time for him to turn things around. Personally, I'm hoping he will; Barnes seems like a genuinely good kid.
Teams to keep an eye on:
Teams to forget about:
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Favorite: Duke Blue Devils