Monday, March 12, 2007

ACC Notes with TRR

Our friends at Tobacco Road Report were kind enough to give us their final thoughts on the ACC season.

Any surprises on the All-ACC teams for you?
TRR: There weren't any real surprises for us given that after 16 games these awards shake out pretty well. However, we think that Josh McRoberts on the all-defense team is a mistake. Yes, he has some good steal and block numbers, but sometimes voters look at this too much. We think Brandon Wright is a better defender due to his length and leaping ability. We noticed that Carolina chose to guard Al Thornton with Wright and his length prevented Al from doing things he likes to do.

On the all-freshman team, we think Greivis Vasquez deserves a spot over Scheyer of Duke. Maryland's rise coincided with the elevation of Vasquez in the starting lineup. His play allowed Strawberry and Jones to play their natural positions and opened up the Terrapin offense substantially.
Otherwise, we can't gripe about much else. We chose Al Thornton as player of the year, but one can certainly make a compelling case for Jared Dudley.

Who is your Coach of the Year in the ACC and why?
TRR: We chose Virginia head coach Dave Leitao largely because he got the most out of the least talent. Virginia's backcourt is dynamite, no question there, but they're more scorers than pure shooters and the rest of the Virginia squad has some serious deficiencies. Nevertheless, Virginia won all its home games in conference and won some big games on the road. Maryland head coach Gary Williams finished a close second in this one, but Leitao got our vote.

Is Georgia Tech hitting its stride or is this just a temporary hot streak for a very inconsistent group?
TRR: We scratch our heads at times with Georgia Tech. We were very high on them in the preseason and were surprised that they had so much trouble in conference play. There are two Techs, the team that dominates at home and the team that struggles on the road. Crittenton is taking care of the ball better and Georgia Tech is relying more on its physical front court than in the past. They are better when they settle comfortably into a half court game where their bigs can wear down the opponent. They get into trouble when they try to do too much. Watch the turnovers in the NCAA Tournament. As the turnovers go, Georgia Tech goes.

Did you feel the final weekend upsets showed the strength of the ACC or was it a sign of mediocrity?
TRR: Frankly, we think some teams laid eggs. Maryland's loss qualifies in this category. NC State is for real and the return of Atsur really helped them out. Unfortunately it was too late to rescue a NCAA bid, but they will be tough to reckon with in the NIT. The ACC is the best conference in the country top to bottom, and the seven bids in the tournament are a reflection of this. The conference, however, doesn't have a top team outside of North Carolina.

Which team will go the farthest in the NCAA Tournament?
Originally, we would have said North Carolina, but the East Region is a complete bear. The reward for sharing the regular season title and winning the ACC Tournament gets you possible games with Marquette, Texas, and Georgetown? The Tournament Selection Committee dropped the ball on this one, though we're not surprised since they do this year in and year out. Look at Kansas's road in the West versus UNC in the East.
So we think it's wide open now in terms of which ACC team can go the furthest. Maryland and Virginia Tech have squads that could do well in the tournament, and we wouldn't count out Georgia Tech or Duke from making a run. Despite being down, Duke rarely beats itself.

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