Monday, November 2

ACC Basketball Teams as Car Companies: Teams 1-6

I am planning to buy a new, or at least newish, car in the near future. As I was starting to do some research, I began to think about cars, brands, and now that it is November, my mind obviously turned to Basketball. And sure this is probably lame, but its given me something to think about until the season starts this weekend. There is no methodology, just a sustained metaphor, which might even be weak at times.

In alphabetical order:

Boston College- Toyota.
BC is always solid and dependable, and rarely flashy. For as long as Al Skinner has been in Chestnut Hill, the Eagles have found a way to win. While they might not always field the strongest players, they usually have at least one or two who can get it done. This year it looks like that job will have to fall to either Rakim Sanders or Joe Trapani, both of whom return what might be one of the most veteran teams in the ACC this year.

Clemson- Hyundai.
As much as it pains me to say it, I think this is about where the Tigers are. Think back to the laughable, but efficient Hyundai Excel to now. A lot has changed for Hyundai, they are competing with the bigger, more established car manufacturers. The same can be said for the Tigers, while they had some success 10-15 years ago, that was a blip on the Clemson Basketball radar. Now with Oliver Purnell and this year's strong recruiting class, the Tigers, with preseason All-ACC selection Trevor Booker, are poised to topple some of the more traditional, established basketball powers of the ACC.

Duke- Mercedes.
Expensive, subtle, but not always dependable and long lasting. A Mercedes is, well, a Mercedes. Their price alone separates them from the other German car manufacturers. Historically, they have had unreliable vehicles, but things shifted a bit in the past. Now, with the exception of the ill-conceived SMARt Car, which of course, it is not, Mercedes is making a comeback in this area. Duke, much like Mercedes, is ready to do the same. Coach K is undoubtedly a good coach, whether you like him or not, but...he hasn't been able to break through recently. He has achieved more with his players than any other coach could have with the same team; however, he now has the added luxury of a strong recruiting class of athletes- which Duke has lacked. It could be a big year for Duke if everything runs well with the position adjustment of returning players Singler and Scheyer.

Georgia Tech- Ford.
The metaphor almost seems too easy- big successes early, recent poor performing vehicles, strong innovation, lack of execution, marketing, and follow through. Sounds about like a Paul Hewitt coached basketball team. This year, we will see what Coach Hewitt can do with his prized recruit, Derrick Favors. Now, Georgia Tech, Paul Hewitt, and all the Ramblin' Wrecks, which incidentally is a Ford Model A, are set to make a return to NCAA tournament after many lean years. Hewitt has the pieces this year to make things happen. And even though the Yellow Jackets were 2-14 in conference play last year, expectations are high- NCAA and beyond- following the Carmelo blueprint.

Florida State- Nissan.
Nissan has tried different branding (beginning with Datsun), sleek new designs, sexier and sportier ad campaigns, but just can't hit their stride. And while a Nissan is not a bad car, far from it, they are always seem poised to do something well, but it always seems to be lacking. Much the same can be said for Florida State. Last year the Seminoles cracked into the NCAA tournament after being left out the previous year. They were on the precipice of solid improvement and a larger win total. However, the key losses of Toney Douglas and Uche Echefu will hurt them. FSU has some reason to be happy, as they have a - if not the- most dominating center in the ACC in Solomon Alabi. With Alabi and a possible starting line up with no one under 6'7", the Seminoles could be formidable and imposing.

Maryland- Chevrolet.
Oh Chevrolet. You have tried everything except the most logical options. Rather than downsizing all of your employees at every turn, how about downsizing the redundant car/truck offerings. How many different names can a Chevy Silverado, s-10, GMC whatever have. Pick a brand and a model and stick to it. Stop sucking. You have potential, but it is limited by your lack of a cohesive identity. If you could do this, you could legitimately say you have the bestselling truck, but you can't. Oh Maryland! Oh Gary Williams! Maryland has a wildly passionate fan base, a la Chevy truck people, but they cannot seem to find the accidental greatness they had with Lonnie Baxter and Juan Dixon. Instead, Gary Williams supposedly refuses to play the recruiting games- good for him, possibly bad for Maryland, and their teams hopes are pinned to incendiary guard Grevis Vasquez. If these two hotheads can hold it together throughout the season, they should reach at least the round of 32, if not 16 in the NCAA tournament.

Teams 7-12 tomorrow.

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