Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let's Get it Started!

Let's Kickoff the Holiday Season

With ACC basketball finally set to arrive (even here for a couple teams) I can finally sit back, get comfortable and begin dreaming of Duke's eighth Championship banner in the last nine seasons. Obviously, there are a few obstacles in the way – Virginia has an experienced and athletic back court, BC has Jared Dudley, Georgia Tech has three talented freshmen who seem to do everything, and Maryland seems to have found what some might call "chemistry" to go with legitimate talent – but aside from that the path still looks pretty clear.
What with the return of Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus and the early season emergence of DeMarcus Nelson as one of the best swing guards in the country, not to mention Jon Scheyer's potentially deadly shooting, Brian Zoubek's upside just because of his size, and Gerald Henderson's athletic abilities at the wing, it's hard not to like Duke come February and March once again.
Yeah, I know, it feels like a broken record to simply proclaim Duke the favorites yet again, but history is often a fine historian when it comes to seizing a pattern and refusing to let it go – therefore, I say for 2007, make mine Duke.
What's that?
North Carolina?
Are you serious?
Sure Roy Williams won his 500th game and yeah some people argue that his 06 recruiting is one of the top two in the nation and of course they have that guy, the pre-season All-American whatzisname, on the low blocks, with several other weapons at their disposal and scoring out the wazoo but really, aside from that what else is there to like about this overachieving team?
Alright, let's say for the sake of argument that Williams is able to get each of these prima donnas to agree to play together and defer to whatzisname as the "go-to" guy down low. That being the case here is my pre-season pick for the upcoming regular season.
1.Duke (15–1)
2.BC (14-2)
3.Maryland (12-4)
4.UNC (11-5; twice to Duke)
5.Virginia (10-6)
6.Georgia Tech (10-6)
7.Florida State(10-6)
8.Virginia Tech (9-7)
9.Clemson (8-8)
10.Wake Forest (6-10)
11.Miami (5-11)
12.NC State (4-12)

And unfortunately, I expect continued pressure to include more "mid majors" and "independents" in the NCAA Tournament this year, which I predict (with admitted facetiousness and bias) will translate into only two at-large ACC teams getting invited to the Dance in March in the wake of Duke's automatic bid (naturally).
In the end chalk it up to another disappointing season for UNC but at least they won't have to suffer the embarrassment of not even being the most unlikely victim of the most surprising run to the Final Four in tournament history...again.
Happy Holidays!

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