Friday, March 21 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-03-21 11:28:45 GMT
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(RNN) - The drama. The intensity. The athletic display. The struggle to achieve greatness. The fresh-sliced roast beef. That's right, the ACC Player Power Poll has returned.
For those unfamiliar with it, PPP is a highly subjective ranking of the Top-10 (or so) performances each week (or so). The minds behind it combine a passion for the game with a love of the all-you-can-eat variety of cuisine. We host our get-togethers at buffets across the Atlantic Coast, which apparently includes Indiana now. Welcome, Notre Dame!
For the 2013-14 kickoff meeting, we decided to list the players we're most excited about seeing. But first, we had to deal with an "incident" from last season. We can't say much for legal reasons … only that it involved a chocolate fountain, and our gang isn't allowed to eat there anymore.
Lucky for us, the NCAA has invoked some new rules on player contact in the hope of improving the overall quality of play.
The PPPollsters liked the rules so much, we decided to adopt them to prevent further fouls while dining out. Here they are, slightly tweaked for cafeteria etiquette. Changes are in parentheses.
DEFENDING THE PLAYER (CUSTOMER) WITH THE BALL (PLATE)
Four types of illegal tactics were cited:
Placing and keeping a hand/forearm on (person reaching for the salad tongs).
Putting two hands on (dessert seeker).
Continually jabbing by placing hand or forearm on (kid waiting for macaroni and cheese).
Using an arm bar to impede the progress of the dribbler (actually, didn't need to fix that one. Thank goodness for sneeze guards).
Please note that simply touching the (customer) is not an automatic (removal from line).
So, let's have a great, less-police-involved season everybody!
Preseason Player Power Poll:
1. Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils
Few things in sports are more enticing than The Next Great Player. Parker, a Top-2 recruit out of high school, has the hype machine spitting out words it's not accustomed to, like "maturity," "passing" and "four years of college ball."
What little footage there is available from YouTube and exhibition games is impressive, and he looks like a guy teammates love to play with. Despite a lanky 6'8" frame that would suggest some clumsiness, he has quick moves and a smooth jumper.
The PPPollsters don't know if he will really buck the one-and-done trend and put the NBA on hold for a few years, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.
2. Joe Harris/Akil Mitchell, Virginia Cavaliers
These guys share the same space on the rankings because they are equally essential to their team's success.
"Shooter Joe" will handle much of the scoring with his 3-point sniping, while Akil will clean up underneath the glass and have some wicked dunks on fast breaks. Both these guys had breakout campaigns a season ago.
With improved depth, (BOLD PREDICTION IN 3 … 2… 1 …) we expect the Wahoos to outright win the ACC.
3. Devin Thomas, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Devin won PPP over in his freshman year with his raw energy-fueled 25-point, 14-rebound performance in the win against NC State.
The guy clearly feeds off the home crowd, but we hope he can take those types of games on the road with him this season. With the sophomore leading the way, Wake is our dark horse candidate to make a big jump in the conference.
4. Dez Wells, Maryleave Terraquits
We're a little rantankerous the Maryland Terrapins are leaving the ACC after this season for the Big Ten, a conference that can't even count its own teams. But that's an administration thing, and we'll try not to allow that to spill into our feelings for the team.
As for Dez, he found a new level at the end of the season and became the unquestioned Alpha Dog of the team. For his second season with the Terps, expect him to have more superstar efforts like his 30-point game against Duke in March.
5. Trae Golden, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Jackets already have the defense; their problem was they couldn't muster much when they had the ball.
The point guard should provide stability at the team's weakest area last year. If he focuses on getting the ball to super sophs Robert Carter Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt first and scoring second, the Ramblin' Wreck could be a contender.
6. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Orange
He's not a player. But we can't wait till the first reporter asks him about retiring. It's awesome.
7. Roddy Peters, Mary-farewell-to-ya Terrapins
(We're still trying.)
Half our interest with the incoming freshman comes from his ability as a dynamic playmaker, and he should get an increase in minutes early on with starting point guard Seth Allen injured.
The other half is the PPPollsters all agree "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was the most awesome pro wrestler of all time, and those names are way too close to not have a little fun with. Fair warning: the references to kilts, coconuts and being "all out of bubble gum" are coming.
8. T.J. Warren, NC State Wolfpack
Fast-paced offense + No second scorer + Defense? What's that?? = Scoring title for Warren.
9. Eric Atkins/Jerian Grant, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
This backcourt duo will once again be handed the keys to the Irish offense.
Both seniors with a lot of minutes logged on the court already, Eric and Jerian should keep the pace fast and score plenty of points. Of the three teams coming in, Notre Dame should be the best in terms of sheer watchability.
10. Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse Orange
Expect several highlight film-worthy plays followed by some terrible (even by our standards) TV color commentary.
Rakeem makes a one-handed, alley-oop dunk: "Christmas sends it down the chimney!"
A Rakeem jumper give his team the late lead: "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the Orange!"
It's gonna get ugly.
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