ACC’s struggles continue vs. mid-majors
by Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY Sports
After the ACC’s embarrassing Friday, with then-No. 24 Florida State losing to South Alabama and Virginia falling to George Mason, things didn’t get much better Tuesday.
Miami was humbled in a 63-51 loss to Florida Gulf Coast and Virginia lost at home to Delaware, another CAA foe.
It seems that just five days into the season, any questions about the conference’s lack of depth behind Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State have already been answered. The preseason ACC Coaches Poll had Miami fourth, Florida State fifth and Virginia at No. 7 behind Maryland.
The only real bright spot from the “rest” of the ACC thus far was Maryland’s performance against Kentucky in Brooklyn on Friday. The Terps overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half to take a lead late in the game, but ultimately lost 72-69.
We know it’s only been two or three games, but what does this all say about the state of the ACC?
Maryland can separate from the middle of the pack: Mark Turgeon’s Terps can and will run 10 players deep, something that most teams in the conference (or nation) aren’t able to do. Center Alex Len’s impressive outing against Kentucky, scoring 23 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks, showed that the 7-1 Ukrainian has come a long way from last season, when he struggled at times due in large part to the fact that he was still learning English.
Maryland’s four-man frontcourt rotation is going to cause nightmares for opponents. Freshman Charles Mitchell grabbed 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes vs. Kentucky, and the Terps finished with an astounding 28 offensive boards.
Virginia’s freshmen need to step up: Mike Scott should have won ACC Player of the Year last season, and his departure was probably the most impactful loss in the conference. Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell can pick up some of the slack, but highly-touted freshmen Justin Anderson, Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey are going to need to contribute right away if the Cavaliers hope to compete.
The trio combined for just five points on 2 of 13 shooting in Tuesday’s loss, and … [For more on ACC's early-season struggles continue vs. mid-majors, click here.]