Earlier this year, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim answered a question about how it felt to be a part of what might be the best basketball conference in history. To which he replied, “We already were.” Referring, of course, to the Big East in its former configuration.
Now this correspondent is an old-school ACC guy, so naturally I bristled a little. As did many of us.
And the thought crossed my mind, “wait until he gets into the conference schedule for real…”
Then he and his Orange ballers did exactly that, along with Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. And as of this writing, I can see nothing to refute his statement. The ACC is upside-down.
OK, we all expected Syracuse to compete. But 17-0? With a win over the Tar Heels already?
And let’s see, who else is 4-0 in the conference? Pitt, you say?
Notre Dame is struggling a bit at 1-2, so there is that, but nobody expected the Irish to vaunt to the top anyway.
What about the (former?) Big Two? Well, Duke is 2-2 with losses to the other newcomer, Notre Dame, and Clemson. UNC is beside themselves at 0-3. They did beat Kentucky non-conference, but that is about all they have to brag about at this point. And believe me, Tar Heel fans do like to brag.
My own favorite, the Wolfpack, is actually doing a bit better than last year. But one of their two losses was a thumping at the hands of the Pitt Panthers.
There is no doubt that the ACC has been a dominant basketball conference for many years. But were we as strong as we thought? Or is Boeheim right about the old Big East?
Of course, there is still time for this all to change. While it is pretty clear Syracuse can expect to win the regular season title, they may not breeze through undefeated. Duke and Carolina could rebound, even manage to beat the BEast refugees at some point. My Pack is not likely to contend, but finishing in the top half of the league would be a welcome change and could still happen.
And, hey, Pitt and Syracuse play Saturday. Somebody has to lose.