As we head into the final weekend of regular season action and into the conference tournament, I thought it would be a good idea to get a round table going from some bloggers around the ACC.
Each blogger will post these questions with their answers on their site and put a link to the post in the comments section. Sometime next week we'll make a compilation of some of the answers.
1. The national perception is that the ACC is down this year. Duke has been in the top 10 all year, but no one else has come close. Does the conference deserve this reputation? Why or Why not?
I do not think the conference deserves this reputation, but I understand why people outside the ACC feel this way.
Most people when judging a conferences’ strength tend to look at the top of the conference and this year the ACC only has one elite team. Certainly Maryland is in that next category, but they just now have gotten into the top 25 because of some early season stumbles.
Also, it does not help the perception of the conference when Carolina is having as bad of a year as it is.
The ACC needs its bell cow program (Duke, UNC, Maryland, Wake, NC State) to be good because that is who most outside the league identify with and two of those teams are way down this year.
2. Does Duke have what it takes to make a run to a National Championship? Why or Why not?
I do not think Duke has the athletic ability on defense to make a run. They are better suited than the previous two years because they do not have a huge weakness inside like they have had; Brian Zoubek has come a long way defending and rebounding in the post.
They have the offense to do it, but if they get into a game with multiple guards who can break down a defense with some outside shooters I think they are in real trouble.
I see Duke getting as far as the Elite 8.
3. We know Duke and Maryland are in, but who else gets in from the ACC? Will we see any surprises on Selection Sunday?
I see the ACC getting in 7 teams with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech being the final two. The winner of their game Saturday is in and I think if the loser wins a first round ACC tourney game they are in.
I think Georgia Tech is in the more precarious position because they are playing for .500 in the league and could have a very tough day one matchup with an improving North Carolina team.
I think the seeding of these teams could be biggest surprise because teams like Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest, and the aforementioned Tech schools have a lot of opportunity to move up still with a strong showing in the conference tournament.
4. What is the biggest surprise of the season (good or bad)?
The biggest surprise has to be how North Carolina fell apart. They beat Michigan State and Ohio State and narrowly lost to Kentucky. Then Christmas break hit and the Tar Heels never came back.
I think many of us expected UNC to have a similar season as Hansbrough’s freshman year where a young team got better as the season went along and was solidly in the top 25.
5. A couple of teams have had disappointing seasons. Whose seat is the hottest?
The hottest seat in the league belongs to Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech. Last year was a major disappointment going 2-14 and this year has to be considered a disappointment without a run in the NCAA Tournament or an ACC Tournament title.
The fact that Georgia Tech has not locked up a bid by March and might finish below .500 in a relatively weak ACC is puzzling considering the talent they have with three McDonalds All-Americans.
But with such a large buyout, I think Hewitt stays around if Ga. Tech gets into the NCAA Tournament.
Guys like Sidney Lowe and Frank Haith also have to be feeling some heat.
6. Who is your player and coach of the year? Why?
My player of the year is Greivis Vasquez and he may have locked it up last night with Maryland’s win over Duke. He is the engine that makes Maryland go and without him I do not know where they would be. Jon Scheyer is a close second, but I think he has more talent around him than Vaquez.
My coach of the year is Gary Williams. He was able to right the ship after a bumpy start to the season and has Maryland competing for a regular season title.
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