The middle of the ACC season is upon us and I for one am surprised by the standings so far. Florida State has turned it on at the right time after a less than stellar non conference season. Virginia has faded and now finds themselves in a season defining week, they need to prove in Chapel Hill that they are one of the leagues best. Miami and Virginia Tech are two of the biggest surprises in the conference. Virginia Tech was billed as a team that could compete for a finish in the top-4 of the league, but now they are sitting in the bottom of the league. Miami was up and down throughout the non-conference, they were without Reggie Johnson and dropped a couple of tough road games. Their 0-2 start to the conference season seems like a long time ago as they have hit their stride and are playing great right now.
1) Florida St – They are riding a 7 game winning streak which includes wins against UVA, UNC, and @Duke. They are the most physical team and best defensive team in the conference and after a slow non-conference on offense, they have picked it up in conference.
2) North Carolina – Zeller, Henson, and Barnes have been lights out scoring and Kendall Marshall is one of the most exciting point guards to watch in the conference.
3) Duke – It is shocking to see Duke lose two home games conference and they still haven’t played the Tar Heels. They are still tough to call, I don’t think they have put together a truly great game in conference and they will need a great game from everyone if they want to get a win over their rival North Carolina.
4) Miami – The Hurricanes have turned it on at the right time. Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson are playing great down low, and Shane Larkin is emerging as a good point guard. He has been managing the games well and comes up with big plays on offense when it matters.
5) North Carolina State – If they get the win over Georgia Tech on Thursday then they make it out of the easier stretch of their schedule without a bad loss. It’s a tough stretch of the season to finish on for the Wolfpack, and there have to be concerns over how many minutes the starters have been playing lately.
6) Virginia – Nice come back win at home against Clemson, the defense had a tough time slowing down the Tigers in the first half, but the offense and defense clicked at the right time. They almost came back to beat Florida State on the road but came up short again against one of the league’s best.
7) Maryland – Both of their loses last week weren’t because of a lack of effort. They fought Miami and North Carolina to the very end but fell short in both. The Terps came back from being down 16 to force overtime in Miami, and they held the lead against North Carolina at the under 8 minute timeout.
8) Clemson – I gave the Terps the nod over them since the loss to Virginia Tech is worse then Maryland’s loss. They played Virginia close on Tuesday but just barley fell short. They should have gotten the win at Virginia Tech, and are now looking at a tough home game against Maryland.
9) Virginia Tech – Win over Clemson begins to cool Seth Greenberg’s seat a little. They have a tough game Thursday night, but then they get a chance at another win when Boston College comes to Blacksburg on Saturday.
10) Wake Forest – They are giving everyone their best effort despite being undermanned. Getting a win this week would be huge for them.
11) Georgia Tech – Got a win last week, even though it was over Boston College, a win is a win for the Yellow Jackets. They have a chance at another win when they travel to Wake Forest after playing North Carolina State.
12) Boston College – The Eagles have now dropped 6 in a row and with a visit from Florida State coming up this week, it looks like they will drop a seventh in a row.
Player Of The Year: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina. The man is tearing everyone up in the conference. He is one of the biggest match-up problems for opposing teams.
Coach Of The Year: Leonard Hamilton, Florida St. He has always had great defensive teams, but he has this years Seminoles playing great offense as well.
Freshman Of The Year: Austin Rivers, Duke. No other freshman is playing well enough to be considered. He is playing well, but I think he hurts his team a lot with his shot selection.