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A Quick Look at ACC Basketball

By Chris Hunt Created: February 10, 2013 Last Updated: February 10, 2013
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Miami and center Julian Gamble (L) are 10-0 in the ACC with blowout wins over North Carolina and Duke. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Miami and center Julian Gamble (L) are 10-0 in the ACC with blowout wins over North Carolina and Duke. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

When the average fan thinks about the ACC, there are two teams that seem to rule the division. Throughout the last 20 years, the ACC has been won by the Duke Blue Devils or the North Carolina Tar Heels 17 of the last 20 times. But college basketball has been struck by parity this season and the ACC standings have been shaken up a bit.

Miami is currently topping the ACC with a 19 – 3 record overall and is 10 – 0 in ACC play with impressive wins against Michigan State, Duke, and two over North Carolina. Their experience has played a major role in the team’s success this season. The Hurricanes have nine upper classmen on their roster, including 6 seniors.

Duke isn’t far behind Miami; they boast a 20 – 2 record with a 7 – 2 record in the ACC. The Blue Devils are ranked 4 in the nation and are a top contender for the National Championship if they can get senior Ryan Kelly back from injury in time for the tournament. Kelly is one of the team’s leading scorers and rebounders and helps space the floor with his excellent outside shot. When healthy, the combination of Kelly and Mason Plumlee gives Duke the best frontcourt in college basketball.

The Tar Heels have had a rather disappointing season thus far, North Carolina is 16 – 7 with a 6 – 4 ACC record putting them fourth in the division behind Virginia. The Tar Heels have been struggling after losing four players to the 2012 NBA draft, all of which were taken in the first round. This year’s team has been inconsistent and has a lot of development to do between now and March.

North Carolina State entered this season ranked sixth in the nation in the AP Poll and started out playing well. But the Wolfpack has lost their last three games and with an injury to their starting point guard, Lorenzo Brown, State must rely on C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell to help pull the team out of their current skid. State has a slew of conference games ahead of them and if they are able to gain momentum going into March, they could be a dangerous team in the tournament.

The ACC has been one of the most surprising conferences in college basketball this year. The dominance of Miami coupled with the mediocrity of UNC and NC State has provided fans with an entertaining season. One can only hope that the excitement continues into March.

Chris Hunt is a sports writer who resides in Charlotte, N.C.

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