ACC Recap: Tar Heels are team to beat in ACC



Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS

Kirby Mcmullen

This week the ACC saw North Carolina rise all the way up to No. 2 nationally in the AP poll.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20 they defeated Wake Forest in the Dean Dome 83-68 and will travel to Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday to take on the Hokies of Virginia Tech.

The Tar Heels should be able to win both of these with ease as we look for both Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson to start solidifying their campaigns for All-ACC first team selections.

North Carolina looks to wrap up the stretch run before March by taking care of business in conference play as they are the current frontrunners to take home the ACC regular season title.

Louisville is currently third in the ACC conference standings with a record of 3-1 in conference play and an overall record of 14-3. The Cardinals are coming off of an impressive win over Pittsburgh, however, we’ll learn a lot about this team in the coming weeks as they take on Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia in a two week stretch.

Look for graduate transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis to make plays and put the Cardinals in a position to make an outside run as a dark horse in both the ACC conference tournament and the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Virginia is currently sitting nicely at No. 13 in the AP poll, posting a conference record of 3-3 and an overall record of 14-4.

Virginia has arguably one of the most impressive resumes with quality wins over West Virginia, Villanova and Miami — all teams that sit inside the top-15 of the AP poll.

Virginia has two notable games coming up against Pittsburgh and Louisville, but if this season has shown us anything, it’s that the always consistent Cavaliers should be able to take care of business.

Tony Bennett’s style of coaching, combined with Virginia’s balanced offensive attack and suffocating defense, look for Malcolm Brogdon and London Perentes to carry the Cavaliers deep into March.

Duke is currently experiencing something it hasn’t been through in many, many years: three straight losses under Coach K.

The Blue Devils have dropped their last three games on the road at Clemson and at home against Notre Dame and Syracuse.

While the Blue Devils have a wealth of talent, they must figure out their defense without Amile Jefferson as they prepare for three straight road games coming up against N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Miami.

I still expect the Blue Devils and Coach K to straighten things out come March, as a team led by Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingrams has the potential of being extremely dangerous, capable of beating any team at any time.