If you are a fan of the Atlantic Coast Conference, or love college basketball as a whole, the past twenty-four hours might just have been the best thing that this new and bigger conference could have given you. First, one of the bottom programs of the ACC, Boston College, going into the Carrier Dome and handing the top team in the nation, Syracuse, their first loss. Then, a day later, in what many believe to be the best rivalry in college basketball (if not all sports), North Carolina took down Duke. These two games have made it so that now either SU or Duke will have a two game losing streak.
But there is more, much much more.
Syracuse, due to its first loss of the year, is now in second place in the conference, half a game behind Virginia. The two teams will meet up at the beginning of next month on UVa’s home court. Losing a second game in a row will put the Orange in a bad place for the stretch run and if head coach Jim Boeheim’s team was to lose Saturday and then to Virginia as well could the Orange go from the overall number one seed in the NCAA Tournament to a number two seed? Something no one would have thought when this week began. But many will have to think about if SU comes home from Durham with a loss.
On the other hand, with their loss the Blue Devils only have a 1/2 game edge on the Tar Heels, and if you look at the end run for both teams it could easily go down to the last game of the season, when the two programs play each other again, to see which squad does not play until Friday in the ACC post season tournament. However a loss this Saturday to Syracuse in the much awaited rematch, and coach K’s squad could be behind UNC and that would be a huge blow to a team most of the media voted as the one winning the conference.
In the end, with most teams having less than a half dozen games left it is all going to be up to each of them to take care of their match ups. The one that does it best will take the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season. But most importantly, this race is going to come down to the wire, making the season all worth while. With Syracuse at Virginia being on March 1st and UNC at Duke played as the last game for both programs a week later ACC and college basketball fans should be circling these two dates.
There is less than a month before Selection Sunday, get your seat belt on, this is going to be a heck of a finish for an ACC that is now new and bigger, and might just be improved as well!