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Mar
03
2014

ACC Basketball is Thriving at the Top, but is dreadful at the Bottom.

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With Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame joining the ACC this year, many basketball fans were ready to anoint the ACC the best basketball conference in America. That was pre-mature, and obviously made by folks that haven’t followed ACC Basketball in recent years. The bottom of the ACC is struggling and I mean really struggling, but who wants to start with bad news.

Monday’s AP and Coaches poll had 3 ACC Teams, Virginia, Duke, and Syracuse in the top 7. That’s some 1980s-1990s ACC basketball rankings. No other conference had more than 1. Throw in North Carolina ranked 14 in both polls, and the ACC has more than double the number of top 15 teams from any other conference.

That’s ACC basketball folks. For younger fans out there, it used to be like this every year in the ACC. Saturday at the ACC tournament could be tougher than the Final 4. That’s great for conference, and the ACC has more legitimate Final 4 threats than any conference in the country. For the ACC to truly regain it’s status as the nation’s best basketball conference you have to look at the bottom of the ACC.

You are always going to have bad teams at the rear of the conference standings, but the problem is the ACC doesn’t have just 1 or 2 bad teams, they have to be honest 4 truly awful teams.  We touched on this topic early last month, but let’s go into detail here.

We’ll looks at each ACC team that is making up this horrid bottom.

Wake Forest 

I can’t believe 6 weeks ago, I thought this team could make the NCAAs. Forget it… The Jeff Bzdelik experiment should end today. Who knows Bzdelik might be a great guy, but the fact is he doesn’t win basketball games. Going back to his days at Colorado, he’s had 7 straight seasons of losing conference season. He’s won 16 conference games in his tenure at Wake Forest.

Virginia won 16 this season. 4 years at Wake Forest, and this program is just dead. Time to move on.

Georgia Tech

Brian Gregory was a fairly consistent if not a huge winner when he was at Dayton. There were 4 straight 20 win season there, but at Georgia Tech Gregory has been unable to lift the Jacket program from the black hole Paul Hewitt left it in. Georgia Tech should be a place you can win at basketball. It is in the heart of Atlanta’s vibrant AAU circuit, ACC country, and a tradition of putting players into the NBA.

Georgia Tech due to the huge buyout of Paul Hewitt, couldn’t pay for a more accomplished coach, but their was hope the Tom Izzo disciple would grow into the position. It hasn’t happened. Gregory is not finished at Georgia Tech, but his time is running short. If the Yellow Jacket program doesn’t show progress in year 4 of his tenure, he’s probably done.

Boston College

I never thought Jeff Bzdelik was a good hire. Brian Gregory was meh… but I thought Steve Donahue could do good things at Boston College. He was a big winner at Cornell and even went to the Sweet 16 in 2010. This is also his 4th year at Boston College, and this year besides the epic upset at Syracuse has been a disaster. Donahue’s issue is he hasn’t recruited well. He doesn’t have a single top 25 class while at BC. His teams defensively simply aren’t athletic enough to effectively guard ACC caliber players on a consistent basis. I don’t know how patient Boston College can be with him, but if you aren’t moving forward in year 4 then it’s you should probably look elsewhere.

Virginia Tech

James Johnson is in year two at Virginia, so it’s probably a little to early to start thinking about ahiring another head coach. On our weekly ACC podcast @HokieSmash  had the pleasure on talking with former Virginia Tech student basketball manager @HereGoJayAgain Jerran Anderson to assess the state of the Hokie program.  I really can’t add more than what was said on that podcast, but I’ll add Virginia Tech is a difficult place to win at basketball at. It’s a football first school, and James Johnson has his work cut out for him. Talented freshman Devin Wilson is a solid player to build a foundation on.

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