Commentary

Breaking down the major conferences

Originally Published: January 7, 2010
By Doug Gottlieb | ESPN.com
League play is fully underway, so it's time to take a look at where we stand in each of the six major conferences. Here's my breakdown of what we know, what we think we know and what we still wonder about.

What we know: Duke is the clear favorite to win the ACC. I made this statement in November, but now it has more credibility. Unlike North Carolina, the Blue Devils' fundamental flaws do not appear to be the type that are continually put on display. Also, unlike Carolina, they have experience across the board. Jon Scheyer is making an interesting case for national player of the year, Kyle Singler is about as tough a cover as there is, and this massive team is smartly not extending the defense and thus it is rebounding better and allowing less penetration. In a league in which many teams are still finding themselves, Duke knows it is highly skilled, fairly deep inside and diverse offensively. Although the Blue Devils have some athletic weak spots, they are not as exposed as they have been in recent seasons.

What we think: The league is a complete tossup after Duke. Georgia Tech has a ton of talent, but it is incredibly inconsistent. North Carolina will be very tough at home, and for teams that run, but UNC's zone offense and guard play are sketchy. Maryland has regressed to its midseason form of last year. Virginia Tech is off to its best start under Seth Greenberg, but the lack of a third scorer and its transition defense leave the Hokies to wonder how good they really are. BC has some bad losses again. Miami and Florida State have talent but no point guard, and the Hurricanes lack the home-court advantage of the rest of the league. Wake is a bit of an enigma. The Demon Deacons are talented, but how good can they be?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider