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Feb
05
2018

Tony Bennett will be the ACC Coach of the Year, but don’t forget Brad Brownell and Kevin Keatts.

If you are a Virginia fan, don’t worry here. I’m not trying to make argument that anyone other Tony Bennett should be the ACC Coach of the Year. His record this season speaks for itself. The Hoos were the pre-season pick to finish 6th in the ACC, and were a fringe top 25 team at best, and twitter agrees.

All Tony Bennett and Virginia have done is start the year 22-1. They are currently 11-0 in the ACC, and ranked #2 in the country. Along with Villanova and Purdue, Virginia has separated themselves from the rest of the country as the 3 best teams in the country. Barring a complete collapse in the next month Virginia will be a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Bennett has done such an amazing coaching job that it may overshadow a couple of other great ACC coaching jobs in 2018.

Let’s start with Kevin Keatts at NC State.

The Wolfpack were picked to finish 12th in the ACC, and a good goal was to make the NIT. They were picked behind every other North Carolina school. Early in the year NC State knocked off Arizona, but most figured that was a sign of things to come in a couple of years or so. Keatts has made the future now. The Wolfpack are off to a 16-7 (6-4) start, and if the NCAA tournament were today NC State would be in.

Keatts has endeared himself quickly to NC State fans by not just winning, but by beating the Wolfpack’s biggest rivals. He already owns wins over Duke, North Carolina, and Wake Forest. How many coaches can say they beat Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams the first time they played them as an ACC head coach? In his first year at NC State Keatts has wins over Duke, UNC, Arizona, and Clemson. That’s 4 top 20 RPI wins. There aren’t many teams with that kind of resume.

Now we turn to Brad Brownell at Clemson.

The Tigers were picked to end up 13th in the ACC’s pre-season poll. Brownell entered 2018 under tremendous pressure. The Tigers hadn’t gone to the NCAA tournament since the 2010-2011 season, and even at a school more known for football that’s not acceptable. Clemson has been one of the country’s biggest surprises. At 19-4 (8-3), they not only are virtual lock for the NCAAs, they still could be a 2 or 3 seed. They own wins over UNC, Ohio State, Florida, and Louisville. Even after the injury to star Donte Grantham, the Tigers have still gone 3-1 to continue their march towards toward the NCAA tournament.

There won’t be any hotseat talk for Brownell after this season. Clemson may be headed to their best season in over 20 years.

Tony Bennett is going to be ACC COY, but let’s not forget the efforts of Kevin Keatts and Brad Brownell at NC State and Clemson.

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