ACC Rundown: North Carolina

The 2009-2010 basketball season is slowly drawing closer. Every Tuesday and Thursday this fall, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order of conference standings – from the bottom up.

Today, we’ll take a look at the North Carolina Tar Heels.

kylehansbitch

We're glad one of these guys is still around. Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com

2008-2009 Record: 34-4 (13-3 in ACC)

Postseason Record: 1-1 in ACC tournament, 6-0 in NCAA tournament (defeated Michigan St. for the National Championship)

Projected Starting Lineup: Larry Drew II (So.), Marcus Ginyard (RS Sr.), John Henson (Fr.), Deon Thompson (Sr.), Ed Davis (So.)

Returning:

[TABLE=35]

Departing:

[TABLE=36]

Incoming:

[TABLE=37]

The Good: Carolina will boast its deepest frontcourt in years. Leading the charge will be sophomore and ACC Player of the Year candidate Ed Davis and senior Deon Thompson, who seems like he’s been in college forever. Henson, the highly touted freshman, will play on the wing but will also see his fair share of time on the blocks. Seven-foot tree Tyler Zeller will look to rebound from last year, when he was forced to miss 23 games with an injured wrist.

The Bad: Losing Hansbrough, Green, and Ellington hurts, but Roy Williams’ biggest challenge lies in replacing Ty Lawson at the helm of the offense. Roy Williams’ primary option at the point is Larry Drew II, who was far from impressive in relief work last season(Quentin Thomas?). Williams could be forced to turn to Leslie McDonald or Dexter Strickland—both freshmen—if Drew II can’t fill in satisfactorily.

The Crazie: We all have heard of salary albatrosses, but is “scholarship albatross” an uncoined term? You heard it here first—Roy Williams will regret signing David and Travis Wear, two lumbering, unimpressive twin forwards from California. There were rumors that the UNC staff was encouraging them to de-commit, but the Wears didn’t bite. That’s two lost cause scholarships for four years. Cheers!

We Love To Hate…Marcus Ginyard, who apparently doesn’t like Duke’s style of play. What, does he expect an apology? Sad, Ginyard appeared to be respectable at some point.

The Bottom Line: We’d be foolish to say that UNC will fall from grace after their dominant run to the 2009 title—the 2006 team taught us that much. UNC will probably struggle early due to youthfulness, but Roy will find a way to pick up the pieces for a solid run in March. If the guard play is serviceable, Ed Davis and Co. will provide the firepower to win a lot of games. We expect another tussle at the top of the ACC between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels.

* * *

Crazie Talk’s ACC Rundowns:

Georgia Tech | Virginia | NC State | Virginia Tech | Miami (FL) | Maryland
Boston College | Clemson | Florida State | Wake Forest | North Carolina | Duke

ACC Rundown: Wake Forest

The 2009-2010 basketball season is slowly drawing closer. Every Tuesday and Thursday this fall, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order of conference standings – from the bottom up.

Today, we’ll take a look at the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

The Blue Devils will not return to Winston Salem until 2011

The Blue Devils will not return to Winston Salem until 2011.

2008-2009 Record: 24-7 (11-5 in ACC)

Postseason Record: 1-1 in ACC tournament, 0-1 in NCAA tournament (lost to Cleveland State in First Round)

Projected Starting Lineup: Ishmael Smith (Sr.), L.D. Williams (Sr.),  Al-Farouq Aminu (So.), Tony Woods (So.), Chas McFarland (Sr.)

Returning:

[TABLE=32]

Departing:

[TABLE=33]

Incoming:

[TABLE=34]

The Good: The Demon Deacons return preseason All-American and ACC player of the year candidate Al-Farouq Aminu, who, after averaging 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in a solid freshman campaign, will be the offense’s #1 option in his second year. Aminu will have a supporting cast comprised of a trio of serviceable seniors: point guard Ishmael Smith, shooting guard L.D. Williams and center Chas McFarland. These three will surely provide leadership on the court for coach Dino Gaudio. In addition, four-star recruit Ari Stewart will look to contribute right away with his athleticism on the wing. Wake Forest is a team that has a balance of youth and experience.

The Bad: The Demon Deacons’ two best players and two leading scorers from last season now reside in the NBA. First-round draft picks Jeff Teague and James Johnson, who combined for 33.8 points per game last season, would be juniors now if they had stayed at Wake Forest. Even though the team has solid seniors, the Demon Deacons will be hard-pressed to replace the talent they lost to the NBA.

The Crazie: Once the #1-ranked team last year after upsetting North Carolina, the Demon Deacons lost to unranked Virginia Tech at home, quickly losing place atop the NCAA. Then they were silenced by Maryland in the first round of the ACC tournament, where they were seeded #2. Finally, the Demon Deacons bowed out quietly to an upset-minded 13th seed in Cleveland State. Even with two NBA first-rounders on their team (and a third in Aminu), Wake Forest never played up to their talent level after defeating UNC, mercifully ending what had been a promising season.

We Love to Hate… Ishmael Smith, who averaged 6.0 assists per game but also 3.6 turnovers as a freshman playing for a horrendous team two seasons ago. Quick as a cat but sometimes out of control, Smith will be the full-time point for the Demon Deacons. Playing behind Teague the last two years allowed him to pick his spots. He might have been able to do this, but he still turned the ball over way too much for a point guard. Forget the play of the potential All-American in Aminu, because Wake Forest will need Smith to be much more efficient, especially with the loss of so much talent to the NBA.

Bottom Line: Even with the loss of Teague and Johnson, this team should remain in the top half of ACC. I guess that simply tells you how good the Demon Deacons could have been last season. The senior leadership is there along with the young, talented big men in Aminu and Tony Woods. No one on this team will remind anyone of the Chris Paul or Tim Duncan days, but Dino Gaudio should lead this team back to the NCAA tournament. And this time, they should get out of the first round.

* * *

Crazie Talk’s ACC Rundowns:

Georgia Tech | Virginia | NC State | Virginia Tech | Miami (FL) | Maryland
Boston College | Clemson | Florida State | Wake Forest | North Carolina | Duke

Crazie Talk's Preseason Top 25

With the release of the first Associated Press rankings of the season last week,  we here at Crazie Talk have put together four sets of rankings from our writers and compiled them into the Official Crazie Talk Preseason Top 25.

mase

The #1 team in each poll receives 25 points while the #25 team receives 1 point. The sum of the totals is displayed below.

[TABLE=39]

Others receiving votes: Minnesota (3), Notre Dame (3), Syracuse (3), Illinois (2), Siena (1).