Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One ACC Blue Ribbon ballot unveiled

For the second year in a row, we are honored to be on the ACC's Blue Ribbon Panel of local and national media that weighed in on the ACC preseason selections. And at Tuesday's conference media day, we learned that at this stage, most of the 40 panelists are of like minds. The ballot we turned in was almost identical to the consensus the league released:

ACC preseason rankings

LadySwish: 1. Miami; 2. Duke; 3. Maryland; 4. Florida State; 5. Georgia Tech; 6. North Carolina; 7. N.C. State; 8. Virginia; 9. Wake Forest; 10. Boston College; 11. Clemson; 12. Virginia Tech

Blue Ribbon: 1. Miami; 2. Duke; 3. Maryland; 4. Florida State; 5. Georgia Tech; 6. North Carolina; 7. N.C. State; 8. Virginia; 9. Wake Forest; 10. Boston College; 11. Clemson; 12. Virginia Tech

Flip-flop Wake and BC at 9-10 and you have the exact same ballot. We're not surprised, though. For while any team can do better - or worse - than expected, we think any objective ranking of these teams heading into the 2011-12 season should look something like this.

Preseason Player of the Year

LadySwish: Shenise Johnson, Miami

Blue Ribbon: Johnson

Bingo. But we're not exactly taking bows for this choice, either. I mean, how much credit is due someone for choosing the reigning Player of the Year at the start of the next season?  

Preseason All-ACC

LadySwish: Cierra Bravard, Florida State; Shenise Johnson, Miami; Alyssa Thomas, Maryland; Lynetta Kizer, Maryland; Riquna Williams, Miami

Blue Ribbon: Bravard, Johnson, Thomas, Kizer, Williams

Five-for-five, with again all fairly obvious choice. We only wish there were six spots so we could have included N.C. State's Bonae Holston. After finishing among the top four in the ACC in scoring and rebounding, Holston deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the first five. 

Newcomer watch list

LadySwish: Pepper Wilson, Miami; Elizabeth Williams, Duke; Amber Henson, Duke; Alyssa Fressle, Boston College; Natiece Ford, Clemson

Blue Ribbon: Williams, Henson, Ford, Brittany Rountree, North Carolina; Sydney Wallace, Georgia Tech

The one area where our ballot didn't line up. The ACC defines newcomers as "freshmen (true and redshirt) and transfers expected to make an immediate impact." The 6-6 Wilson made the Big East All-Rookie team at Pitt, and Fressle was all-rookie in the Big 12. They've already proven they can be impact players. So we'll see. No question this is the hardest category to get one's arms around.

A breakdown of our preseason team choices:

1. Miami - 28-5 team returns two All-ACC first-teamers and a great third fiddle in Stroman. The only thing missing was size, and now they add an experienced center in the 6-6 Wilson.

2. Duke - Huge losses with the departures of Jasmine Thomas, Karima Christmas and Krystal Thomas. Huge gains with the arrival of ESPN's No. 3 recruiting class headlined by Williams. Obviously we think Miami deserves the preseason nod. But we wouldn't argue too much with anyone that believes this will wind up being the league's best team.

3. Maryland - Impressive talent as usual, although recently the Terrapins have tended to wind up less than the sum of their parts.

4. Florida State - If Natasha Howard does indeed take that next step, look out. 

5. Georgia Tech - Alex Montgomery will be tough to replace, but just about everyone else returns.

6. North Carolina - DeGraffenreid, Lucas and Breland are all gone, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt will miss a lot of time after shoulder surgery and the Tar Heels didn't get their usual haul of marquee recruits. We see a lot of goodness here. We don't see greatness. 

7. N.C. State - Led by Holston, Wolfpack have to be better than last year...right?

8. Virginia - New coach and new mindset but essentially the same cast of characters that finished seventh a year ago. 

9. Wake Forest - Finished tied for seventh last year with Virginia and Boston College, so we could certainly see these guys improving on this by a notch or two. But it's awfully tough to crack the Top 6 in this league.

10. Boston College - No more Swords and Murphy, although we do think the cast Sylvia Crawley has on hand is actually better suited to play the uptempo style she prefers.

11. Clemson - Watch out for these guys next year, though, as the Tigers' 2012 recruiting class is the bomb.

12. Virginia Tech - They may be better than this, and as proponents of hoops in the Commonwealth, we certainly hope they are. We're just not sure how anyone can look at their nine-player roster - minus last season's leading scorer and rebounder - and new coaching staff and EXPECT them to be better than this.

1 comment:

  1. I had too much vodka tonight -- it is 3:30 AM in the morning. But ... Miami is No. 1? Sorry, I had to laugh out loud. I'm Deaf and I'm sure whenever I laugh, hearing people freak out on that. No guards will win the ACC Championships! You have to have several good post players to back you up. Miami will finish 2nd or 3rd, mark my words -- when i'm drunk as of now ... !