N.C. State, Butler and early Final 4 picks
by Nicole Auerbach and Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to the weekly college hoops mailbag. It’s been a great week of holiday tournament games, and there’s really nothing better than basketball being on TV at all hours of the day, right?
Our college basketball reporters Nicole Auerbach and Eric Prisbell are here to answer your questions each week. Here’s a reminder to send in questions for next week’s mailbag to email@example.com.
@jameezy9: Does everyone still think NC State is the best team in the ACC?
Prisbell: I still do. My partner in crime does not. Listen, it’s going to be a great three-way race atop the ACC standings, and do not count out Maryland either. So NC State lost to a talented Oklahoma State team poised to challenge for the top three spots in the Big 12? No shame in that loss. I’m here in Dallas, and certainly no one in Big 12 country is sleeping on the Cowboys this season. The Wolfpack will be fine. There is too much returning talent, too much incoming talent and too sound of a coaching staff for this team to not at least be a strong ACC contender. The preseason hype was credible.
Auerbach: I do agree with Eric that it’s going to be a great three-way race atop the ACC, and that Maryland might have enough talent to challenge those teams as well. I just think after seeing Duke beat Kentucky (yes, the November version, but still) the Blue Devils are the team to beat in the ACC. NC State needs to prove it can play with the big boys on the big stage, and it hasn’t done that yet. I’m not saying I don’t think the Wolfpack has talent — I just want to see a great win before I put them ahead of a team like Duke.
LaMont Peterson: Which teams surprised/disappointed you?
Prisbell: It is a long season and we’re very early and I try not to overreact to one loss or one victory (like Xavier over Butler). But I have been a little disappointed with Florida State (losing to South Alabama) and Miami (losing to Florida Gulf Coast). I had … [For more on Mailbag: N.C. State, Butler and early Final Four picks, click here.]