I can’t decide what I feel about the ACC. There are several teams I think are pretty good, but I’m not sure of any of them. The winner could very easily come from the ACC, but they could also be shut out of the Final Four. The conference isn’t as dominant as they looked like they would be before the season, but they are still very dangerous.
Best Team – North Carolina. This is a no-brainer, but it’s not nearly as clear as it should have been. UNC is very good, and they are right back in number one where they started, but they certainly don’t have that invincible air about them that they did before the year. They could win it all and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised, but they could also be upset and I wouldn’t be shocked.
Worst Tournament Team – Boston College. This team is very hard to figure out. They can beat Duke and look very good doing it, but they can also lose to Harvard and look ridiculous. They could pull off a surprise, and they clearly can rise to an occasion, but they are way too inconsistent to really trust.
True Contenders – UNC and Duke are obviously contenders to go all the way, and Wake Forest is at least Elite Eight caliber if they play as well as they can.
Team That Bugs Me – Duke because, well, they are Duke.
Potential To Rise Up – Maryland. The Terrapins have a lot of work to do to even make the tournament – they would have to upset Wake Forest in the conference tournament (this game has happened by the time you read this, but not when I am writing it). If they do make it, though, then they could be tough. I watched three complete Maryland games this year, and the Terps won all three – Michigan, Michigan State and UNC – and they were impressive in each of them. They are fundamentally lazy when the games don’t matter, but tough and feisty when things are tough.
Likely to Disappoint – Clemson. They will go into the tournament as a ranked team, but they just aren’t consistent enough or deep enough to stand up to the pressure.
Best Player – This should be Tyler Hansbrough, but he just hasn’t played consistently enough to warrant it. He’s a poster child for why you should go out on top. Instead, I would have to pick Hansbrough’s teammate Ty Lawson. He’s improved this year, and he seems to rise up when his team needs a big shot or big play.
Player to Watch – I don’t really like Florida State, but that’s despite how much I like senior guard Toney Douglas. He had a heck of a freshman year, but it took him until this year to take a step forward from that. He’s versatile, fast, and devastatingly efficient. The one stat that defines how he plays – his best scoring game of the year came against North Carolina. He’s the kind of guy that could erupt for serious points in the tournament.
Overrated Player – Jon Scheyer, Duke. A lot of people out there like Scheyer more than I do. He fills his role well, but I don’t see a lot that he does that a whole lot of players couldn’t do given his minutes on this team.