When N.C. State knocked off Duke on Saturday, the ACC appeared to be theirs to lose. Tied with Miami at day’s beginning, an Alex Len buzzer beater brought State back to the pack while a missed free throw kept the Hurricanes unbeaten and on top of the league.
With the two “top” teams both looking iffy on Wednesday, it became increasingly clear that the ACC is probably more up for grabs than anyone could have predicted. Between Duke, State, Miami and Maryland (on a good day), it would be foolish to predict who will take the top seed in the conference tournament by season’s end.
Looking past those four, Florida State could get hot in conference play and Boston College is somewhere between one and three inches from being 3-1 instead of 1-3. North Carolina is still a ways from being a factor, but their talent makes them a threat regardless of their current form.
That’s seven teams that will give anyone run. The Big East and B1G might be the best leagues, but by season’s end the ACC may be the most hotly contested.
Will anyone outside of State actually give Duke a run when push to comes to shove and games need to be won? By next weekend we will have a clearer picture of this after games against Miami and Maryland prove not only how good those teams are, but what type of team Duke is without the injured Ryan Kelly.
What we know now is that any ACC game — especially on the road — will not simply be conceded to the team with more talent or a higher ranking.
And that is the way college basketball should be.