Around the ACC: December 17, 2012

Because of exams going on at many ACC schools, the basketball action was slow over the last week.

Weekly Rankings

There weren’t many ACC games this past week, but several things happened to slightly alter our weekly rankings.

1. Duke (9-0): The Blue Devils were off this week, and retain their top spot in the ACC.

2.  NC State (7-2): The Wolfpack easily beat Norfolk State 82-64 this week.

3. Miami (6-1): Just based on how they have played recently, I’m moving Miami up to #3.  The Canes have beaten Michigan State, and they took apart previously unbeaten Charlotte on Friday night.

4. UNC (8-2): The Tar Heels didn’t look good in their losses to Butler and Indiana, and they had a less-than-impressive 93-87 win over East Carolina on Saturday.

5. Maryland (9-1): The Terps have won nine in a row since a narrow loss to Kentucky to start the season.

6. Virginia (8-2): The Hoos have a solid road win at Wisconsin to hang their hat on, and they’ve played well since losing early season games to George Mason and Delaware.

7. Virginia Tech (8-2): The Hokies fall after not playing good basketball this week.  They didn’t look sharp in Monday’s win over Mississippi Valley State, and were then upset by Georgia Southern at home on Saturday.

8. Georgia Tech (6-2): The Yellow Jackets didn’t play this week, and they remain #8 in the rankings.

9. Clemson (6-3): The Tigers had an easy win over Florida A&M.

10. Florida State (5-4): The disappointing Noles did not play this week.

11. Boston College (5-5): BC managed to win a game this week, narrowly knocking off New Hampshire.

12. Wake Forest (4-5): The Demon Deacons are at the bottom this week.  They are the only ACC team with a losing record.

There are fewer basketball games played around the time of exams.  The action will pick up this week, and continue after Christmas.

Ron Wellman Should be Working on his Short List

I didn’t think Dino Gaudio was that great of a coach.  I thought he did less with more, considering the talent that was in the Wake Forest program at the time.  I always thought Wake Forest could do better than Gaudio, and I thought his firing had the potential to help the basketball program.

That’s when athletic director Ron Wellman decided to screw everything up and hire Jeff Bzdelik away from Colorado.  At the time it seemed like a mistake, and with further hindsight it looks like an even bigger mistake.

Bzdelik had two good years at Air Force, in 2005-06 and 2006-07.  He was then hired by Colorado, where he had three consecutive losing seasons in a row.  With a 36-58 record at Colorado, including a 10-38 record in Big 12 play and two last place finishes, it seemed pretty clear that Bzdelik wasn’t the man to lead a basketball program in a major conference.

That didn’t matter to Wellman, who quickly snapped up Bzdelik after he canned Gaudio.  The results have been disastrous.  Wake has gone 25-47, including a 5-27 in ACC play.  The Demon Deacons have never finished out of the cellar of the ACC, and they are currently the only team in the league with a losing record.

Regardless of their prior relationship, Wellman needs to cut bait and can Bzdelik in the offseason.  The Wake Forest program is likely never going to be any good with him at the helm.  In 5+ years of coaching two different BCS conference programs, Bzdelik is 61-105 overall and 15-65 in conference play.  He has four last place finishes in five complete seasons, with another potentially coming up this season.

What is Wake Forest to the ACC without a good basketball program?  Despite the best efforts of Jim Grobe, who is a solid football coach, the Demon Deacons are capped in that sport.  That school needs to be good in basketball, or they aren’t much use to the ACC.  Ron Wellman needs to do what’s best for the school – and for the league – and find a new basketball coach following this season.

Upsets Continue to Happen

The latest upset of an ACC team occurred in Blackburg on Saturday when Virginia Tech fell to Georgia Southern 78-73.  The Hokies certainly aren’t the first ACC team to get knocked off by a program from an inferior conference this season.

Boston College: College of Charleston, Bryant, Harvard

Wake Forest: Iona, Richmond

Virginia Tech: Georgia Southern

Virginia: George Mason, Delaware

Florida State: South Alabama, Mercer

Miami: Florida Gulf Coast

That’s half the league, and I didn’t count UNC’s loss to Butler or Clemson’s loss to Gonzaga, because those two programs are good year in and year out.  Upsets are going to happen everywhere in college basketball, and at all levels.  However, it seems like the ACC has taken more than its fair share recently, and many more than a league of its prestige and tradition should take.

Game of the Week: Stanford at NC State, Tuesday, December 19, 9pm, ESPN2

NC State has a chance to pick up a solid non-conference win for themselves and the ACC on Tuesday night.  Former Duke star and assistant coach Johnny Dawkins brings his Cardinal team to Raleigh in the biggest non-conference matchup of the week.

North Carolina also travels to Texas this week.  However, the Longhorns have already lost four games, including one contest to Division II Chaminade.

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