Because of BC’s newbie status within the ACC, I am sure the following will be viewed as sour grapes and envy. It’s not. Location and conference affiliation led me to see plenty of ACC basketball this year…and I just wasn’t that impressed. Think of me as the Anti-Billy Packer. I think the conference is solid but filled with flawed teams, including those at the top. So keep the following in mind as you fill out your brackets.
Overview: The No. 1 overall seed. The Tar Heels are loaded with talent, capable of big runs and led by an experienced, National Championship winning coach. Many people will pick them to win it all.
Why the BC games changed my perspective on them: In both BC games, Roy Williams pulled all five starters because of their lack of effort. Coaches uses those little mental game tricks all the time. Sending a message to your starters in February is smart. However, even in the ACC tournament I saw the same lapses from the Heels. Yes, they won the ACC Tourney, but the games were much closer than any of them needed to be. If the Heels keep letting less talented teams hang around, eventually they will get burned. The other source of doubt about the Heels comes from Tyrese Rice’s 46-point outburst against UNC. If Rice were surrounded by just a little more talent, BC would have won. Come the second or third round, the Heels will come across another Rice-type (Chris Lofton, perhaps?). Only this time them won’t advance.
Pick: I have UNC in the Elite Eight. Their talent should get them that far. They won’t make the Final Four.
Overview: After a down year, the Dukies are back. They shoot well. As much as I hate to say it, Coach K is probably the best coach at in-game adjustments this time of year. They also have a very, very favorable bracket.
Why the BC game changed my perspective on them: Like UNC, the ease at which Rice scored and kept BC in the game at Cameron has me doubting the Blue Devils. The other thing – rebounding. BC is not a good rebounding team, yet we out hustled and out muscled the Blue Devils in a loss. The Blue Devils will face a more defensive minded, better rebounding team eventually
Pick: The Blue Devils have a very favorable bracket, but I could see them losing to West Virginia in the second round. I think they will definitely lose in the Sweet 16.
Overview: The best Tiger team in a decade comes in very hot and with a lot of confidence. The are physical, athletic and play great D. Their pressing style will drive teams nuts in the tournament.
Why the BC games changed my perspective on them: Clemson just beat BC 84-48 last Friday. They dominated every aspect of the game. I should be high on them right? I’m not. The whole vibe of the blowout – especially continuing to press late in the game – had a vibe of a team and a coaching staff not pacing themselves. This weekend Bobby Knight was talking about how when any game was in hand he would immediately start prepping for the next game. Knight has many faults, but he knows how to win tournament games. I think Oliver Purnell had his team peak a week too soon.
Pick: Clemson’s bracket is brutal. Villanova will be able to handle the press. Vanderbilt, a potential second round opponent, is also experienced breaking the press. I see Clemson getting knocked out the first weekend.
Overview: A good shooting team that comes into the tourney winner of seven of their last 10. Their RPI is strong and they have wins over Duke and Clemson.
Why the BC games changed my perspective on them: BC split their series with Miami this year. The second game -– which Miami won -- is what gives me concern about the ‘Canes tournament prospects. BC was floundering coming into the game and Miami let them hang around. This team that shoots well got cold against a bad team and only won because BC missed too many foul shots.
Pick: Pretty simple...they are not getting by Texas.