2009-2010 ACC Hoops Preview: Part 1 of 5

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By: David Kay

Big East… check.  Pac-10… check.  SEC… check.  Three major conferences down, three to go in The Sports Bank’s on-going in-depth college basketball preview.  This week it is all about the ACC.

Ready for a shocker?  North Carolina and Duke are going to be good… again.  After that, the conference is really wide open with as many as ten teams having a legitimate chance of making the tournament.

Part one of our five part ACC season preview focuses on the bottom three teams in the league.  The Tony Bennett-led Virginia Cavaliers and N.C. State are in re-building mode while Virginia Tech has two very talented players returning, but likely lacks the overall talent to be true players in the conference race.

delaney

10. Virginia Tech (7th in ACC, 7-9 in ACC, 19-15 overall, NIT)

2009-2010 Outlook:
A.D. Vassallo, Malcolm Delaney, and Jeff Allen combined to account for 70% of the Hokies’ scoring last season.  Vassallo has graduated, but Delaney and Allen return to form a nice one-two punch.  Until Va Tech finds another player or two to help Delaney and Allen, they will be stuck in the lower tier of the conference.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Jeff Allen (Jr)/Gene Swindle (Fr)/Cadarian Raines (Fr)
F: Victor Davila (So)/ Lewis Witcher (Sr)
F: J.T. Thompson (Jr)/Manny Atkins (Fr)
SG: Dorenzo Hudson (Jr)/Terrell Bell (Jr)/Ben Boggs (Fr)
PG: Malcolm Delaney (Jr)/Erick Green (Fr)

Gone: G/F-A.D. Vassallo, C-Cheick Diakite, G-Hank Thorns (transfer-TCU)

Player to Watch: Thompson- The Hokie junior will likely take Vassallo’s spot in the starting line-up.  He won’t replace Vassallo’s scoring ability or range from deep, but if he can double his points per game from 6.5 last season, Virginia Tech could be a sleeper of the conference.

11. Virginia (11th, 4-12, 10-18)

bennett2009-2010 Outlook:
Tony Bennett comes to UVA to hopefully lead a much-needed re-building process.  The transition won’t be an easy one, but having young talent like Sylven Landesburg and Tristan Spurlock should help.  Bennett’s teams at Washington State were known for their defensive abilities, and while that trait should carry over to Virginia, expect the Cavaliers to get more up and down than Bennett’s Cougars did in Pullman.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Assane Sene (So)/Jerome Meyinsse (Sr)
PF: Mike Scott (Jr)/Will Sherrill (Jr)
SF: Tristan Spurlock (Fr)/Jamil Tucker (Sr)/Solomon Tat (Sr)
SG: Sylven Landesburg (So)/Mustapha Farrakhan (Jr)/Jeff Jones (Jr)
PG: Calvin Baker (Sr)/Sammy Zeglinski (So)/Jontel Evans (Fr)

Gone: C-Tunji Soroye, G/F-Mamadi Diane, C-John Brandenburg (transfer-Colgate)

Player to Watch: Scott- His 26 point, 18 rebound performance in VA’s season opener last season opened some eyes.  He posted eight double-doubles including a 17 rebound game against Liberty.  Scott is the Cavs’ only legitimate scoring threat inside and will have to effective to open some things on the perimeter.

sidney-lowe12. N.C. State (10th, 6-10, 16-14)

2009-2010 Outlook:
It was a strange off-season for the Wolfpack as Brandon Costner decided to skip his senior season for a chance to go pro while Trevor Ferguson chose not to return to school.  Add in the loss of senior starters Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley and in-coming freshman shooting guard Lorenzo Brown who didn’t qualify academically, and it will be another long year for Sidney Lowe’s bunch.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Tracy Smith (Jr)/Jordan Vandenberg (Fr)
F: Dennis Horner (Sr)/Deshawn Painter (Fr)/Richard Howell (Fr)
F: C.J. Williams (So)/Josh Davis (Fr)/Johnny Thomas (So)
SG: Julius Mays (So)/Scott Wood (Fr)
PG: Javier Gonzalez (Jr)/Farnald Degand (Sr)

Gone: PF-Brandon Costner, G/F-Courtney Fells, F/C-Ben McCauley, G-Trevor Ferguson, F-Simon Harris

Player to Watch: Smith- His ten points and 4.5 boards per game are the top of each category for returning players.  He often deferred last season to Costner, but will have to take on a more prominent role for the inexperienced Wolfpack this season.

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