Thursday, January 21, 2016
ACC Women's Basketball -- Conference race still wide open...THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
SIX TEAMS WITHIN ONE GAME OF FIRST PLACE
A look at the most recent ACC women's basketball standings show five teams with either no or just one loss in conference play. Some of them you would expect to be up in that rarified air...a couple are surprising.
Louisville and Notre Dame are atop the standings...the Cards at 6-0 and Notre Dame 5-0. The Irish are no surprise...but will have a tough test tonight against Syracuse...who invades South Bend for a 7 p.m. tip. After the Cards slow start to begin the season, there may be a few eyebrows raised by the casual observer that they are unblemished in ACC play...but the current Cardinal team has withstood the rigors of tough road contests and is hard to beat in The KFC YUM! Center.
Miami, Florida State and Syracuse have one loss each in league play...the 'Canes will host the Noles Sunday and Florida State brings in dangerous two-conference loss Virginia Thursday night.
Beside Virginia, NC State and Virginia Tech have lost twice in conference play. Either the Hokies or Wolfpack will drop to three conference losses tonight...they'll match up in Blacksburg for a 7 p.m. contest.
Duke and North Carolina have three ACC losses, surprising to some undoubtedly. Duke heads to Clemson tonight and North Carolina will hop on I-40 to visit Wake Forest. If either Duke or UNC lose these match-ups...it may be time to call in the crisis intervention folks.
Georgia Tech has one conference win and in the cellar of the standings are Boston College, Clemson, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh.
I'll go with Miami...followed closely by Louisville. The Canes have been beating up on the lower echelons of the ACC with wins over Wake Forest, Clemson and Pitt...but they did down NC State and North Carolina...so it's not like they haven't been tested so far. Louisville started the conference with a bang with a convincing win over FSU and romped Duke. The comeback win over NC State was impressive also.
Duke. A team full of incredible talent and dominating height...the Blue Devils were hammered by Louisville and Syracuse, beat by NC State in Cameron and got wins over Boston College and Wake Forest. Turnovers will keep any coach up at night and JoAnne P. McCauley's squad has been baking up some beauties so far.
WHERE WE EXPECTED
We didn't let the pre-conference successes of Boston College or Pittsburgh fool us...both have major work to do in recruiting and it's showing so far in conference play. Clemson hasn't been relevant in ACC women's basketball in quite some time and Wake Forest is in that same boat.
TEAM TO BEAT?
For now...Notre Dame...but we'll know a bit more on how strong Muffet McGraw's team is after their battle with Syracuse. They'll also have to travel to Louisville this season and bring in Miami on Valentine's Day. A trip to Florida State on George Washington's birthday should be a tough test as well.
The Irish have lost to just Connecticut on the season and handled Tennessee with relative ease earlier this week. They remain the team to topple for claims on the ACC regular season championship.
There is, of course, plenty of ACC women's basketball yet to be played before the conference tournament. We're sure there will be the upsets and shockers we'll discuss down the road. For now, though...the two teams atop the ACC are nowhere near the Atlantic Coast...just the Great Lakes and Ohio River