RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, March 10

S14: Top 14 Returning Scorers To The ACC Tournament

The wonderful ACC tournament tips off today at noon, with my home team of UVA against Miami, and I am luckily stuck at home today and tomorrow, so can soak in the full-day smorgasbord of regional basketball action. Every game except tonight's 7 pm game between Maryland and N.C. State will be televised locally, so I can just kick back, and watch the teams get shaved down from 12 to 1. That's the great fun about these conference tournaments, is immersing yourself in it, you start with the whole group, and every game picks one more off. You win today, you play tomorrow, literally, until there's just one team left. It's do or die.
Unfortunately, the commonly best teams in the ACC are Duke and UNC, both of whom I do not like. And the tourney is played in Greensboro, which makes sense as it's near the geographic heart of the conference. But it's also within hitch-hiking distance of both Duke and UNC, meaning not only are they the best two teams in the tourney usually, but they also have a decided home court advantage, especially over out of state teams. So they usually end up whittling down towards the end, and if they are the only ones left, or playing against each other, I root for UNC. It's like American politics though - I hate both the Republicans and Democrats, and will always vote for a third party if one is present. But if they're not, I know which one of those two evil fucking empires is more chill to my kind. So fuck Duke.
Anyways, here are the top fourteen dudes still on the rosters of ACC teams who have scored the most points in ACC tournament play previously...
#1: KYLE SINGLER (Duke Senior forward, 126 previous tournament points) - It is truly amazing how Coach K somehow keeps on managing to find the most weasel-looking naturally smug asshole whiteboys to proliferate his team, year after year. And by all accounts from anyone who has dealt with him, that's true to Coach K's personality as well. He's a first class asshole, and collects together the nation's most whiteyest of white basketball players, to put together an Aryan's dream team of allegedly scrappy old school ball players who in all likelihood date rape black strippers who have been roofied at least once a month. Kyle Singler fits this roll call of devils better than ever, now that Jon Scheyer got out of the way to take some of the opposing anger. Singler's goofy expressions, mussed sweaty hair, and blank SS stare - it's annoying as fuck. I hope a giant tattooed black man elbows his eyeball out of his head before Sunday even gets close. Duke will open play on Friday night at 7 pm against the winner of Maryland/N.C. State. Here's to a Maryland/Duke game, and Jordan Williams going insane for one night only.
#2: MALCOLM DELANEY (Virginia Tech Senior guard, 71 previous tourney points) - So this was supposed to be the year Virginia Tech took themselves off the bubble, with a solid cast of Seniors coming back to their most stacked team ever under Seth Greenberg. And yet here they are, having played themselves out of a first round bye, and let Clemson surpass them not only as the #4 seed but as the more likely bubble team for the NCAA tournament. And even though they followed up their win over Duke a week-and-a-half ago with two losses to close out the regular season, they very simply have to get to Saturday at least. That means beating Georgia Tech in an agricultural showdown to close out tonight's opening round, and then following that up with a win over Florida State in the late game. Ideally, they need to make a run all the way to the championship, and with two of the southernmost teams in the league on the lines of the bracket to start, maybe they can manufacture a home court environment and make it to Saturday. But it seems like this team historically under Seth Greenberg always does just enough to claim they are better than they really show, and always does just enough to fuck themselves over.
#3: NOLAN SMITH (Duke Senior guard, 69 previous tourney points) - God I hate Nolan Smith. Stupidest most vanilla ass ACC Player of the Year in a long time.
#4: IMAN SHUMPERT (Georgia Tech Junior guard, 64 previous tourney points) - Easily the best player on a Georgia Tech team that finished next-to-last in the ACC. The real question with Shumpert is not how great a run the Yellowjackets will have in the tourney so much as how quickly after it's over will he announce he's going pro next year.
#5: MAURICE MILLER (Georgia Tech Senior guard, 63 previous tourney points) - Senior point guard probably is not happy to be closing out his collegiate career in such a lackluster manner. But you can never count out veteran point guards this time of year, and with him running things and Shumpert stalking the corners, Georgia Tech could at least upset Virginia Tech and bust their NCAA bubble, and have at least that to say for themselves at the end of the weekend.
#6: JEFF ALLEN (Virginia Tech Senior forward, 55 previous tourney points) - Allen and Delaney were supposed to be the ACC's best one-two punch this year - a pair of Seniors who were going to be good enough to overpower the super freshmen who would storm into Durham or Chapel Hill, and give the Hokies their best season in forever. Shit has not turned out that way. And Virginia Tech remains a football school because of that.
#7: TRACY SMITH (N.C. State Senior forward, 51 previous tourney points) - Smith is a Senior, and probably the Wolfpack's best player on the court, but still will most likely be overmatched against Jordan Williams tonight against Maryland. That game is only a #7/#10 match-up, but Maryland seems far better than N.C. State than a simple four seeds would suggest.
#8: DURAND SCOTT (Miami Sophomore guard, 44 previous tourney points) - Scott, last year as a freshman, was part of Miami's crazy ACC tourney run that saw them become the first #12 seed to make it to semifinal Saturday, having knocked off #5 seed Wake Forest and #4 seed Virginia Tech, before finally (but barely) losing to top-seeded Duke, 77 to 74. This year, they are not much higher in the brackets, sitting at #9, tipping off the tournament against UVA today at noon, with a match-up against top-seeded UNC tomorrow. But Miami has shown potential this year; it's just they tend to not live up to it, much like Virginia Tech. But who knows? Maybe the Canes have another run in them, to try and nail down an NIT bid.
#9: REGGIE JOHNSON (Miami Sophomore center, 41 previous tourney points) - Reggie Johnson is what you want from a big man in college - steady double doubles more games than not, and able to throw down some clutch points when the team gets too shaky at times, to steady the ship. He's also only a sophomore like Durand Scott, and was key to last year's flirt with a four-day run through the tournament.
#10: J.T. THOMPSON (Virginia Tech Senior forward, 41 previous tourney points) - Thompson was supposed to be part of that senior class that helped the Hokies to a potential title run this year, but he tore up his knee early on, and is done for the year. So he ain't doing nothing but watching from the bench this weekend. An interesting thing I learned though while looking over Tech's roster - there's a dude on their team from my road back home. Paul Debnam, who was a walk-on at Tech and is a fan favorite on the team because of his goofy ass smile and wild energy, played ball at Prince Edward County High School, and is the son of a couple on my road, the nephew of my old neighbor Bobby, a crazy ass black dude who gave me my first construction job back at age 15, and used to talk shit when we played one-on-one that "no white boy can beat a healthy black man at basketball." The day I beat him one-on-one in my back yard, it was sad. You could see his spirit broken, at least for a minute. He took it back out on me by wearing my ass out in horseshoe pits for the next three years until I went away to college though. So props to Paul Debnam. Do Meherrin proud, bro.
#11: JOSH SOUTHERN (Boston College Senior center, 38 previous tourney points) - Southern's been playing better than ever this year, and BC is settled in the #5 seed, which means they have to play opening round today at 2:30 or so. But they also get conference bottom feeder Wake Forest in that match-up, which should set them up doing battle with Clemson tomorrow afternoon in what amounts to an NCAA Bubble team battle royal.
#12: MIKE SCOTT (UVA Senior forward, 38 previous tourney points) - Scott was UVA's star and leading scorer when he went down to a season-ending injury earlier in the year. He is a permanent fixture at the end of the bench, and really, he's a pretty chill dude that it's hard not to like. I really really really want UVA to become relevant again, but shit just never breaks their way. Hopefully, Tony Bennett can stay in place long enough to make something happen though. And this will be the final ACC tourney for Mustapha Farrakhan, whose grandpa - the famous and honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan - was in attendance for senior night in Charlottesville last week. It never fails to amuse me that the grandson of the leader of the Nation of Islam goes to Thomas Jefferson's uptight white ass college.
#13: DEQUAN JONES (Miami Junior guard/forward, 37 previous tourney points) - If the freshmen mentioned before give Miami a solid young nucleus, DeQuan Jones is their beating heart. He missed a good portion of the season, but has come back in recent weeks, and gives them a spark that can throw down the monster jam or hit an exciting shot that might be the adrenaline shot they need to make another run. Shit man, whoever wins the UVA/Miami game, I'd love to see them knock out UNC tomorrow. I'd love to see both UNC and Duke gone before sunrise on Saturday morning. But that probably won't happen.
#14: COREY RAJI (Boston College Senior forward, 35 previous tourney points) - Younger brother of that fat fuck B.J. Raji who intercepted the Roethlisberger pass and stumbled it back for a TD in the Super Bowl. Corey's a pretty thick ass dude too, and you put him in the paint with Josh Southern, and BC's got one of the better front courts in the ACC. Thing is, this time of year, back courts tend to mean more. Still though. I am amped for too much basketball over the next few days, to get me primed for next week's NCAA overload.

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