The Atlantic Coast Conference Ultimate Championships will take place this coming Saturday on University of North Carolina’s campus in Chapel Hill, NC. It’s an early season opportunity for ACC schools to size each other up and meet in an NCAA conference tournament. The schools missing from the fray are UVA, FSU who will be attending T-Town Throwdown in Tuscaloosa, AL and Miami.
For seedings and pools…
Virginia Tech (1)
Virginia Tech might want to change their name from Burn to Air Alert due to the lightning fast aerial attack that takes teams out of games early. Tall handlers, quick deep cutters, and a towering zone are a tough match up for most teams. I had the luxury of observing Burn at the UOA ACCs, because it was the easiest work I had all weekend. The games were often over halfway through the round, giving my legs some rest. They had a great fall season, culminating at UOA nationals with a 15-7 victory over UVA and a huge 16-15 upset of Pitt in the pool play round. The big question for Burn is whether they can make the big jump to nationals this year, and it will start by beating UNC and Georgia Tech at ACCs.
Georgia Tech (2)
The Tribe had a solid CCC, losing to UVA in the pre-quarters of CCC. This will be my first time seeing GT, but based on results they will surely be in the semifinals and most likely the finals. For more information on the Tribe, I suggest you check out this Skyd Magazine preview from their Inside Breaks blog.
The Joint Chiefs showed upside and downside of young athletic players. I watched Clemson win on their defense the entire tournament, giving their offense multiple chances to score nearly every point. On the other side of the coin, the offense showed little flow. During a game against College of Charleston, Clemson switched to an L stack to open up flow. This really didn’t pay dividends as Clemson went back to a Ho for much of the game. Their defense will keep them in the majority of the games this weekend, but experience is not on their side. If I were them, simplifying the offense would be my number one priority, and doing offensive drills until those sophomores can run the cuts backwards. With Ben Slade coaching and cool headed James Cox Captaining, the Joint Chiefs still have 3 months to find their offensive groove. Expect Clemson to do well in pool play, dropping one game to Virginia Tech. They probably will be challenged in the quarterfinals, but I expect them to get ousted in the semis.
University of North Carolina (3)
I observed a chippy game between UNC and NCSU during the UOA ACC’s. UNC was without Noah Saul and that apparently made all the difference. Darkside did not have a good showing, but made up for it at CCC’s hanging close with Michigan State and beating Clemson. Without Noah, the team looked out of sync on offense but showed some young athleticism. This should be a great tournament to figure out what areas UNC improved on from the fall and what they need to do from here on out. Should the seeds hold, I expect to see Dark Side in the semis.
North Carolina State University (6)
The Wolfpack were another team that had a lack luster fall season. It was clear that they had lost strength from the last two years and may have entered a rebuilding mode. I’ll have more details on the makeup of NCSU during the weekend, but I don’t remember too many specifics from the two games I observed. We’ll see if they are able to start the spring season out right and if they put the work in during the winter months.
Wake Forest (5)
Wake Forest has been unable to show that they can do more than give tougher opponents a good game. After going winless at UOA ACC’s they showed better results at Joint Summit Classic. The big bright spot is Corey Casarella, #4 Mcdonalds all American jersey. With his solid cutting, and big hucks, Wake Forest can keep it close against the Clemsons and tougher opponents. If his teammates keep it simple and don’t turn the disc over, they’ll have an opportunity in quarters.
I don’t expect Virginia Tech to have a close game on Saturday. Clemson’s defense can certainly force turnovers, but I’ve gotta give a big edge to Burn’s ability to convert on flat forehand hucks. I will have my eyes on the Georgia Tech-UNC game because both had comparable CCCs losing to Michigan State close. If UNC-Darkside comes full strength, I expect this game to be close. With these early season tournaments it’s tough to predict when teams could be rusty.
Sunday is going to be where things get interesting on the lower ends. Wake, Duke, NCSU, Clemson and UNC could all be jumbled up. However, I like Clemson’s defense and UNC’s results enough to think they have shots at the semis and beyond depending on the match-ups. It’s going to depend on the squad each team brings. I will be shocked if Virginia Tech doesn’t make finals. Georgia Tech could be upset, but has the best shot of making it. I have Virginia Tech Burn getting the win by 4 against the Georgia Tech Tribe for the ACC title.
Expect specific game insights, pictures, and twitter updates throughout the weekend. Special showcase game of UNC vs. Duke at 8:30 Saturday. If anyone else has information for this tournament, feel free to post or email me at Alyantis@gmail.com.
T-Town-Throwdown thoughts to come.