Bennett Ball Preview: Part III

UVA BasketballAnd finally, we have Part III of the Bennett Ball Preview. Today we take a look at the ACC schedule and what we have to look forward to. I don't actually think I drank too much of the Orange Kool-Aid prior to writing this portion, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

I think it’s somewhat safe to say that the ACC is almost back, as it sent seven teams to the big dance last year and is poised to send 6 or 7 more this year. Great for the ACC. Not good for Virginia. The ACC this year has two teams in the top 10, four teams in the top 25, and four others receiving votes, one of which is in the #26 position. Yikes! Sure, a lot of people are saying there's no national championship-caliber team, but I disagree. Carolina's young, but they've got a ton of talent and a lot of depth. In any event, let’s get right down to it. I’m going to preface all of this, though, with saying that I think we will finish well above the ACC-media-predicted 11th place.

@ Boston College

The Eagles lost Tyrese Rice, and I can’t emphasize how big of a loss this is. But this is their only loss. BC has the potential to finish in the upper half of the conference and make the tournament, or they have the potential to be like Virginia was in 2008-09. Either way, this loss on the road is going to be one that stings for a while.

@ Clemson

Clemson was picked to finish third in the ACC. Led by Trevor Booker, who received the second number of votes for All ACC, Clemson looks poised to finish near the top of the ACC. They welcome McDonald’s All-American Milton Jennings, who is a legit inside/outside threat. I hate their purple jerseys, but I’ll give this to them nonetheless.

Duke

Just hearing the names Singler and Scheyer gets me annoyed. Unfortunately, with the two of them running the offense, Duke looks to give Carolina a run for their money. I don’t think we’ll be playing any part in that.

Florida State

Toney Douglas averages 21.5 per game. Actually, past tense. FSU is going to feel this loss badly. But even without him, who got 19 points in the last meeting of the two teams, we still have to face Solomon Alabi (who got 13 points against us ) and Uche Echefu (who got 17 points and whose name is just a lot of fun to say). The bottom line is that their bench is deep, their recruits have potential, and their backcourt is straight up good. Sorry, Virginia.

Georgia Tech

It annoys me that I can’t pronounce half their team’s names (Iman Shumpert, Mfon Udofia and Gani Lawal), but that’s probably more a reflection of me than it is of their playing ability. Despite having a 2-14 record last season, Georgia Tech is jumping right up to the top of the ACC, as they are preseason ranked 20 in the country. Still though, I’m making this my marquis upset in the John Paul Jones Arena this year.

Maryland (2)

Maryland is the #26 team in the country which means that they’re good, but not that good. Greivis Vasquez, who is as ugly as he is obnoxious, loud as he is, unfortunately, good, was second for the preseason ACC player of the year and the top vote-getter for preseason all-ACC. That spells trouble for UVA. They only lost one starter, and again, this is not good for UVA. It’s a coinflip, but unfortunately it’s probably dirty Gary Williams flipping the coin, so it lands for Maryland both times.

Miami (2)

Nice. We play Miami twice this year huh? This is great news, because without Jack McClinton, Miami’s really got nothing this year. They’ve got a great recruit coming in with Durand Scott, but it’s not enough to fill a gaping hole. Two wins here.

NC State (2)

Bonus! Playing NC State twice means two automatic (ha. I know. Nothing is automatic for Virginia anymore) wins for us. NC State was picked to finish last in the ACC, and for good reason, losing their top three shooters and having only one man return who averaged double digits in points. Head Coach Sidney Lowe is on the hot seat this year (it’s so nice to say this about a coach other than Virginia, right?) and I think it’s just warm enough to kick him out.

@ North Carolina

I just don’t think we’ll top the Tar Heels this year. They lost a lot, but they had a lot, and with another monster recruiting class, I don’t think they’ll skip a beat here.

Virginia Tech (2)

Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen are both back this year (thankfully, A.D. Vassallo is not – Hey Vassallo, no one liked you.). Virginia Tech is headed to the post-season this year. Perhaps not the big dance, but they’ll be in the NITs. But not before they split the series with UVA.

Wake Forest (2)

Fine. So they finished second in the ACC last year. I don’t care. They lost Jeff Teague (18.8 points per game) and James Johnson (15.0 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game). Good freaking luck trying to do that again. The ACC media sees them finishing 6th in the conference. I’ve got us splitting the series.

So there you have it. My breakdown of the ACC from B to W. For those of you keeping track at home, I am predicting an 8-8 finish for the Hoos, which will be enough to get Tony Bennett an NCAA berth in his first year in the ACC. Not too shabby. Couple this with my 11-2 out-of-conference prediction of yesterday, and we’re looking at a very impressive 19-10 regular season for Virginia. Yeah I’ve been hitting the Orange Kool-Aid, what of it? Just remember, you heard it here first.

As usual, I would love to hear your comments on this.
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