Friday, March 21 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-03-21 11:28:45 GMT
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(RNN) - The ACC Tournament. It's a place for dreams.
Dreams ... that was the cue for the dramatic music video.
We were supposed to go on "dreams." That's the theme. Anything can happen in the next five days. A team can redeem itself from a disappointing season by winning the tournament and getting an NCAA berth. It's a dream to play for a national championship, get it?
Super job, folks. Anyway, the tourney starts at 1 p.m. Wednesday on ACC Network. With the new format, additional teams and a string of upsets in the last few weeks, there could be some interesting developments.
Before we get to the non-stop ACC action, there's the matter of our own champion to name: The ACC Player Power Poll Player of the Year.
Here's a rundown of the three-step scientific method used to determine the winner:
1. We work really hard to put out a list every week (or so) of the season.
2. We work even harder to count how many times a player appeared in the rankings. We're not great with numbers.
4. We get mad, say "to %$#@ with it!" and pick who we want.
That video was way late, and it was dramatic chipmunk. We wanted dramatic dreams montage. This is the last time we throw some business to our old high school A/V club.
Player Power Poll: Final
1. K.J. McDaniels, Clemson Tigers
One win, six appearances
The 6'6" junior set himself apart from other contenders by being the best on-ball and help defender in the conference. He was named an All-ACC first-teamer and ACC Defensive Player of the Year when honors were announced Tuesday. He also led his team in scoring (17.2 per game), rebounding (7.1) and free throw percentage (85 percent).
Clemson was widely picked to finish next to last in the preseason. Yet it was one bad inbounds play away against Pitt from ending in fifth place, as well as gaining strong consideration for an at-large NCAA bid.
The argument that anyone other than K.J. had a bigger impact on their team is laughable - no one did more with less around them. Plus, his super heroics don't stop at leaping tall power forwards in a single bound. The guy also rescues puppies. We love puppies. That's the ballgame for us.
2. Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils
Three wins, 10 appearances
Jabari - a freshman - played like a man among boys this season. If there was any worthwhile reason to fake being a first-year guy, we'd call for a full-scale investigation. He has been named to multiple All-American teams and was the lone unanimous first-team All-ACC selection.
What impressed us most about the 6'8" phenomenon was the way he changed his style of play midway through the season. There are a lot of pros without the drive or ability to go from outside sharpshooter to low-post powerhouse in the course of their career; Jabari did it over a weekend.
We'd be thrilled if he came back for another season at Duke, but in all honesty he shouldn't. His stock won't get any higher (a guaranteed top-three pick), and he's the most pro-ready player in the league.
3. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse Orange
Four wins, four appearances
Tyler, also an All-ACC selection, was the league's preeminent closer. He came through so many times in the final minutes that it's easy to imagine he could have led his team in scoring. Instead, he led the ACC in assists and quarterbacked a balanced offensive attack, only becoming the go-to guy when needed.
He also averaged more steals (2.1 per game) than turnovers (1.7). He's a freshman, too, by the way. These kids grow up so fast.
4. Marcus Paige, North Carolina Tar Heels
Three wins, five appearances
Marcus will walk away with a slew of honors this season, already named a second-team All-American, first-team All-ACC and the conference's most improved player. The leap he made from primarily a ball distributor last season to the No. 1 scoring option for UNC has been no small feat.
He quickly earned a reputation as a big-game player who only gets better as the situation gets bigger. He has been a second-half beast, most recently dropping 32 in the latter frame and overtime against NC State, including the game-winning shot.
5. C.J. Fair, Syracuse Orange
One win, seven appearances
C.J.'s shooting percentage tailed a bit at the end of the season, as he had to shoulder an increased amount of the scoring load. He played 40 minutes nearly every game due to injuries.
Despite that, he was the steadiest offensive player on a team that won its first 25 games - a program record - and held the No. 1 spot in the land for a time. The All-ACC first-teamer showed he could score from long range, pick teams apart with his interior moves and stifle defenders with his pull-up jumper.
6. T.J. Warren, NC State Wolfpack
One win, seven appearances
T.J. may be the best pure scorer the ACC had in the last several seasons. His 24.8 points per game average was bolstered by a pair of 40-plus outings in the Wolfpack's last two games, and he was named the ACC Player of the Year on Tuesday.
Teams had little luck stopping him, as he displayed a knack for finding driving lanes to the hoop and worked to secure open spacing without the ball. He also was an excellent offensive rebounder, which led to even more easy baskets.
7. Jerami Grant, Syracuse Orange
One win, seven appearances
He received less fanfare than his two previously listed teammates, but his value could be seen as he led the Orange to an overtime win against Duke on Feb. 1. It was again displayed as a back injury limited his playing time, which occurred during Syracuse's late-season slide (lost four of five).
Always hustling on both ends of the floor, the hyper-athletic sophomore was a regular on the highlight reels. Jerami could swing the momentum of a game with one drive to the basket, one putback slam or one defensive play in the low post.
8. Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia Cavaliers
Zero wins, seven appearances
If awards were based strictly on conference play, Malcolm may have needed a rental truck to haul away all the hardware - he still didn't do too bad, being named an All-ACC first-teamer. The sophomore combo guard's emergence as the team's best playmaker was the key to the Wahoos turning around their "meh" early play and winning the ACC regular season title outright for the first time in 33 years.
9. Talib Zanna, Pitt Panthers
Zero wins, five appearances
The senior was the Panthers' anchor in the low post. He provided second chances for his team via offensive rebounds, played tough defense and scored around the rim with a soft touch not often seen from the average big man.
10. Lamar Patterson, Pitt Panthers
One win, three appearances
Lamar had a spectacular season, doing a little bit of everything (17.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.5 apg) to get a Pitt team that labored offensively at times to a 23-win season. Frankly, we're a little embarrassed we only got him on the list three times all season.
Need something to help you get through two weeks of March Madness? Try playing Basketball Cliche Bingo. Mark off the words or phrases that are overused during each game of the tourney.More >>
Don't like basketball? Need something to help you get through two weeks of March Madness? Try playing Basketball Cliche Bingo. Mark off the words or phrases that are overused during each game of the tournament.More >>