Dec. 8, 3:35 p.m.: Let’s take a look at the state of the ACC after about a month into the season. Maryland, Virginia Tech and Virginia are all at different places. The Terrapins have little margin for error but are right where they need to be. Whether Coach Seth Greenberg wants to admit it or not, his Hokies have not beaten a quality team because of heart-wrenching losses and won’t get another opportunity to during non-conference play. They may need to win 10 ACC games. And Virginia … enough said. Let’s break down the league.
Best team: North Carolina has demonstrated that it might be better than advertised. The question is whether this team will trip up once in conference play. Probably, but it’s no sure thing.
Worst team: Virginia. The Cavaliers are the only team without a winning record in the league. A loss to Stephen Curry’s team would have been more respectable than a loss to Seth Curry’s Liberty team.
Biggest surprise: Gary Williams was on some Hot Seat lists before the season. This was expected to be his worst team in well over a decade. No one is proclaiming greatness for this team, but the Terps have put themselves in position to reach the NCAA tournament with eight or nine ACC wins. Few thought that would be possible.
Biggest disappointment: The Hokies have certainly not flopped, but they have squandered two opportunities to get quality wins. Hard to fault them for losing to Xavier on a half-court buzzer-beater. And another last-second shot cost them a chance to beat Wisconsin. Tech now needs to compensate by grabbing an impressive win or two in conference play. They could very well be tournament-worthy by March; they just need a quality win or two that they narrowly missed out on in non-conference play.
Best victory: There have been a handful of impressive wins by ACC teams, but Maryland’s, 80-62, victory over Michigan State was the most surprising and the most important for any team. It has established Maryland as an NCAA tournament contender until the Terps show us otherwise.
Conference rank: 2.
Tournament worthy: UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Miami, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech
December 8, 2008; 3:32 PM ET
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