Deep 3 with T.O.: Advanced outlook for ACC teams and the NCAA Tournament
|Monday, February 3, 2020, 1:55 PM-|
With nine league games and the ACC Tournament remaining, it isn't too early to take a look at the NCAA Tournament chances for teams in the ACC.
Former Clemson wing Terrence Oglesby, who has been doing a great job with our outlooks and recaps, takes a look at where things stand today.
Locks: Duke, Florida State, Louisville
The ACC has three teams that have completely set themselves apart from the rest of the conference from a wins/losses perspective. All three look to have the ability to be Elite Eight level with Duke and Louisville having legitimate shots at a Final Four. Duke’s size and athleticism gives them a shot against anyone as they tend to overwhelm non-conference opponents with their size and length while Louisville is coming off a 17-point trouncing at Boston College. Nwora gives them that go-to player as was evidenced by the 37 points he casually handed BC.
Florida State is an interesting team this year for a multitude of reasons. They only have two players with any significant playing time prior to this year and are the best shooting team I believe that Leonard Hamilton has ever had. The Seminoles are shooting a whopping 39.9 percent from 3 in conference play. What that tells you is that team is getting more comfortable the longer the season goes, and they have the young legs to be dangerous come post-season play. Add in veteran point guard Trent Forrest to all the young shooters around the perimeter and you have a recipe for postseason success.
Need more work: NC State, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech
The surest bet in the group is Virginia, but their inability to score this year has presented a problem. There is no Kyle Guy or Ty Jerome to bail them out in tight spots this year. Tony Bennett was hoping that Casey Morsell would be able to provide some scoring punch from behind the arc, but the freshman is shooting only 14.3 percent from 3. The Cavaliers don’t have a guy that they can run sets for to hit an open shot and that makes them vulnerable with their style of play. When you are playing slow, your margin of victory isn’t going to be big.
NC State lives on the bubble, and their schedule moving forward isn’t doing them any favors. Playing Duke twice and Florida State once’s after a game today vs. Louisville and you are looking at a group with opportunity. The bottom line is they need to beat someone to get that resume win and the games are there to be had.
Syracuse has been playing well as of late, but losing two in a row to Duke and Clemson slowed their momentum quite a bit. Cuse isn’t especially deep and that was evident vs. Clemson but don’t usually get in foul trouble because of the zone. If they do make the tournament they have a nice set up for a 2nd-weekend tournament run. Out of conference teams struggle with their length in the 2-3, and they shoot the ball well enough to win two games in late March.
Virginia Tech going to be in contention, but two bad losses in a row to Miami and Boston College definitely hurt. The Hokies do have the marquee non-conference victory over Michigan State but outside of that, they don’t really have that big-time resume win in conference play.
Long Shots but still possible: Clemson and Pitt
Clemson has won five out of their last eight, but the loss against Wake Forest didn’t do the Tigers any favors. Clemson is going to have to go on an ACC run of historic proportions, but it’s possible. If the Tigers are able to get 12 ACC wins, it could erase the pre-conference that struggled to gather wins (all of which are due mostly in part to injury). The Tigers are playing at a high level right now outside of their performance at Wake and are really coming together in what could be an epic run to the tourney.
Pitt needs time. Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson are going through their 2nd year as full-time starters, and there’s a lot to be excited out in Pittsburgh. They are probably a year away, but the job that Jeff Capel has done taking a team that went winless in the conference just two years ago needs to be commended.
Out of contention: Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Wake Forest
There was initial optimism in Boston coming into the season, but the Eagles have been saddled with injuries as well. The loss of their second best player in Nik Popovic has hurt and BC has struggled to get going.
Miami - Chris Lykes is exciting, but they just don’t have the firepower.
UNC is no shock after the injury to Cole Antony, but what has been shocking has been Roy Williams's reaction to their lack of success. The “least gifted team” he’s had only has 2 McDonalds All-Americans. Feel bad for him.
Notre Dame looked good to start the year and are talented. John Mooney is the best player in the country that doesn’t get enough credit and Prentiss Hubb has shown to be a bucket getter in spurts. But consistency hasn’t been there after all the hype the Irish were getting at the beginning of the year.
Wake Forest: They don’t guard anyone enough to give them a chance every night to contend.
Doesn’t Matter anyway: Georgia Tech
I say this because the Yellow Jackets are ineligible for postseason play. I do like their pieces, however. James Banks is one of the premier shot blockers in the country and excellent on the defensive end, but Josh Pastner’s offense doesn’t fit for him. It’s a strange situation because Jose Alvarado and Michael DeVoe were looked at as pick and roll players coming out of high school. Now Banks is playing the Princeton at the elbow and not rolling to the basket which is his strength. Both DeVoe and Alvarado are better with the ball in their hands. Sort of a square peg in a round hole situation for the Yellow Jackets.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @CoachTO22 as I’ll be live-tweeting Clemson games.
Also, take a listen to my new podcast “Let It Fly with Terrence Oglesby” to get further post-game analysis and get takes about the ACC heading into February and through March Madness!