Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big East vs. ACC

Posted by Tysor Driesell Anderson | Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Category: , , |

Every year we seem to have the debate over which conference is the best in college basketball. This year the consensus has been that the Big East was the best conference in the country. Its a trap that is easy to fall into: mistaking the biggest conference for the best conference. With 16 teams the Big East is more like an association than a conference. It is a good league with some big name coaches and schools in some big market cities: New York, Philadelphia, Chicago. But the Big East lacks one major variable that a league must have to be the best....the best players.

I grew up in a basketball family with a legendary college coach for a granddad and he always says, "It don't matter how good a coach you are, you ain't going to win any games if you ain't got great players." Well the Big East hasn't won many games so far in this years NCAA tournament and that's in large part because they haven't got great players. As a former ACC player I know where the best players in the country are and that's in the ACC. I was not one of those players that makes the ACC great but I had to see them every night for 4 years and it is a different brand of basketball than anywhere else in the country.

The Big East set a record this year with 11 teams recieving bids to the NCAA tournament. The ACC got 4 bids while 2 teams, Virginia Tech and Boston College, sat anxiously on the bubble only to find out they were playing in the NIT. After 68 has been whittled down to 16, the Big East has 2 teams remaining from their original 11 (Connecticut and Marquette) and both of those teams beat other Big East teams to advance to the Sweet 16. The ACC has a 7-1 record so far in the tournament and has 3 remaining teams from their original 4 (Duke, UNC, Florida State). Now I realize that March is a crazy time and if the ball bounces a different way or the whistle blows at a different time then things could have been a bit different but the atroscious opening weekend for the Big East was capped off with a dominating performance by a beat up, middle of the ACC pack Florida State team over a premier Big East team, Notre Dame. The FSU vs. Notre Dame game embodied some major differences in the 2 conferences. FSU physically dominated the Irish from start to finish. They were swarming on defense, quicker on offense, and brutally pounded Notre Dame holding them to nearly 20 points below their season average.

Playing in the ACC I can tell you we were never once physically intimidated by a school outside our conference. That includes playing teams like Kansas, Connecticut, Ohio State, Memphis, Indiana, USC, Oklahoma State, UNLV etc. We weren't physically intimidated because we played against teams every night, in the ACC, that had better athletes, stronger defenders, and played a more physical style of basketball.

The evidence that the ACC is the best conference in America lies in 2 telling factors: the style of play teams build reputations for playing.....and NBA players.

The ACC is known for having physical defensive teams. Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forrest are all teams with defensive reputations. The Big East has 3 maybe 4 teams with that reputation (Louisville, Pitt, Cincinnati, and Villanova as the maybe). But neither of those teams has the calibar of athletes that the ACC has. Just look at the players in the NBA.

There are more ACC players in the NBA (56) than any other conference. I won't take the time to name them but go ahead and check out some NBA rosters and see where guys played in college. You'll see where the best league in the world gets most of their talent. As we know, "You ain't going to win without great players," and the ACC has those players.

Ty Anderson
Elite Hoops Basketball
"Release Your Potential"

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