It is kind of weird that just as college football is finding its groove, not even a third into the season, it’s already time to hear about pre-season rankings for college basketball. A few days ago The Sporting News released theirs, putting UNC Basketball in the Top 10.
Head coach Roy Williams’ squad is ninth in this pre-season poll. The third ACC team in the Top 10, following Tobacco Road arch rival Duke, which takes the fourth spot, and newly arrived ACC foe Syracuse, which is just ahead of the Tar Heels at number eight. Other squads from the conference that made it in the Top 25 are Notre Dame (21st) and Virginia (24th). Louisville, which will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference next year, is ranked third in this poll.While I do not put too much stock in polls and rankings, especially the pre-season ones, I would be fibbing if I said this one does not make me sit and wonder about the situation of the conference. Sure, it is nice to have five teams in the Top 25 for the upcoming season. But if not for merger mania that has swept the college landscape the Atlantic Coast Conference would only have a three of teams ranked, and not five. And of that trio, two would be in the Top 10 and one barely making it into the rankings, giving a feeling that the ACC is once again going to be top heavy with not much behind it.
On the other hand, as Dick Vitale always says, the great thing about college basketball is that you win it on the court. And, as many have said, in the ACC away games are never easy, and that is why they play the games.
As far as the ranking is concerned… while ninth is a great spot for this team, with their non conference schedule being a rough one look for them to drop some before the beginning of the ACC schedule. However, with most everyone returning, the exception being Reggie Bullock who is now with the Los Angeles Clippers, this squad is going to gel quickly during the season, and will be looking very good once conference play is underway.
The corner stones for a good season are there, how the squad does will be determined on how much progress the key returning players have made and how quickly the three newly arrived players are able to contribute. All in all look for this team to fly under the radar for a while and to surprise many first in the ACC and then in the NCAA’s.