Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Louisville women's basketball -- So, How Does The ACC look so far? -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple
SOME EXPECTED RESULTS AND SOME SURPRISES IN ACC WBB SO FAR
Although we haven't seen any head-to-head ACC games yet...the ACC seems to be having a great pre-conference season for the most part. Through Monday, the ACC WBB teams were a combined 104-24 overall. In the recent ACC vs.Big 10 match-up, played last Weds. and Thursday...the ACC won the 14 game match-up 9-5.
Three teams in the ACC are still undefeated. Notre Dame, Clemson and Virginia Tech are all 8-0. Only Boston College (2-6) is under .500. In national rankings, the AP Poll has seven ACC schools listed...#2 Notre Dame #7 FSU #8 Louisville #14 Miami #20 Syracuse #21 Duke and #25 Virginia Tech. The USA Today poll differs only slightly...Notre Dame is #1 there...Miami #13 Syracuse #19 and Virginia Tech not ranked.
Notre Dame has been seriously tested just once...in a 71-67 win at home over Green Bay...but will host 1/2 Connecticut in Purcell Pavilion tonight. Clemson hasn't seen any real top-flight competition yet...but did win the San Juan Shootout. They'll get Oregon Monday and South Carolina next Thursday. Virginia Tech is a major surprise...with wins over Georgetown, UCF, Tennessee and Nebraska.
Do I think Clemson and Virginia Tech will be powerhouses this year in conference play. No. Do I think Notre Dame will? Yes, I do.
A group is massed with just one loss. Duke, FSU, Miami, Georgia Tech and UNC. Coach JoAnne P McCauley's Blue Devils took down South Carolina...and that is impressive. Florida State lost to Connecticut by just two and has wins over Michigan, Minnesota and Gonzaga. Miami lost their opener to UK, but has set aside Charlotte, St. John, Texas Tech and Ohio State. Georgia Tech was thumped pretty well by Michigan but came out on top against Georgia, Dayton and Missouri. UNC was demolished by South Florida but did get by Wisconsin and Minnesota. They also had trouble...but beat Elon by only five. That raises a eyebrow.
Duke, FSU and Miami are to be feared. I'm not so sure about UNC yet...I need to see them against some good teams and Georgia Tech will eventually settle in the middle of conference standings by this time in mid-January.
We've discussed the Cards plenty here at the site. They'll fare well in conference play. I do expect a lot of close game, though...and any of the schools I've mentioned above are perfectly capable of adding a third loss to the Cards record.
Also with two losses are Pitt, NC State, Virginia and Wake Forest. NC State is a good team with a win over Indiana. Losses to Kansas State and LSU show me that they're not ready for prime time yet, though. Pitt, Wake and Virginia will settle into the lower regions of the conference in time.
Syracuse with three losses can't be ignored. A wealth of talent returns for Coach Q...Losing to Ohio State is understandable. The shellacking at the hands of DePaul a bit surprising...as is the loss to Drexel. Q will get them back together, though.
And then, there is Boston College. A lot of work to be done there.
TEN TO WATCH
Here's ten players that are lighting in up so far that don't play for the Cards...
Lindsay Allen -- Notre Dame
Brianna Turner -- Notre Dame
Jackie Young -- Notre Dame
Alexis Peterson -- Syracuse
Rebecca Greenwell -- Duke
Lexie Brown -- Duke
Leticia Romero -- Florida State
Shakayla Thomas -- Florida State
Paris Kea -- North Carolina
Stephanie Watts -- North Carolina
So, with seven teams in the top 25 and a 80% win average so far in the 2016-17 season, the ACC has shown, once again, that it is the toughest conference in Division I women's college basketball. Conference play is less than a month away and the Cards begin with two tough tests when they host Syracuse and visit Duke. There is, of course, plenty of basketball to be played before the ACC tips off. The Cards have five games before they face Syracuse on Thursday, Dec 29th. Four at home...and an easy-to-travel-to road game against Vanderbilt.
Who will surprise? Who will rise to the top and who will prove to be just a flash in the pan?
It's all ahead. The ACC is a road full of challenges and obstacles. Who has the vehicle to safely navigate the trip ahead and reach the finish line first?