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Conference Spotlight: ACC

Atlantic Coast Conference, COME ON DOWN!!! You're the next conference in our Conference Spotlight.

Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Conference Spotlight: ACC

Current League Standings:

Syracuse 4-0 1-0 Siena, Cornell, Army, Virginia 1
North Carolina 5-0 0-0 Furman, High Point, Massachusetts, Johns Hopkins, Denver 2
Notre Dame 3-0 0-0 Georgetown, Michigan, Dartmouth 3
Duke 5-1 0-0 High Point, Air Force, Mercer, Harvard, Providence Denver 5
Virginia 3-1 0-1 Loyola, Drexel, Rutgers Syracuse 7

All rankings based off of 3/2 Media Poll

Before we begin, please stand and remove your hats for the ACC national anthem.

Thank you.  Please be seated.

Wha' Happened?:

  • North Carolina: If you're taking on Carolina this year, you better be strapped up and have all your bodyguards with you. "Huh? Anyone can beat Furman, High Point, and Massachusetts by a combined score of 54-21" says the internet straw man I just made up. Sure, none of those games by themselves scream "CAROLINA BACK!!" But in case you had any doubts, you can go talk to The People's Champ Hopkins, and former #1, Denver, for further clarification. Carolina might not be number one in the polls, but they are certainly number one in #TheStreets (well at least on my block).
  • Syracuse: For D.C. related shows, I'm more of a Veep fan myself, but as Frank Underwood would say "Hunt or be hunted." Well, Syracuse put the women and children to bed and are out looking for supper. While the Orange have yet to leave the cozy confines of the Carrier Dome, they've sent all their visiting Upstate New York neighbors (Siena, Cornell, and Army) home with a Ls.  Oh yeah, the Orange also did this to UVA:

    Fear the Orange.
  • Notre Dame: Notre Dame has quietly started out the season 3-0. After squeaking by Georgetown, the Irish thoroughly dismantled Michigan and Dartmouth. Considering their conference mates Syracuse and North Carolina are presently set on God Mode, the Irish haven't really gotten much attention.  However, after three Final Fours since 2010, and two losses in the title game during the same time span, I have a feeling the only headline Coach Corrigan wants to read this year is "Notre Dame wins the National Title" the day after Memorial Day. 
Upcoming Games of Earth-Shattering Importance:
  • Notre Dame at Denver (March 7), Notre Dame at Virginia (March 14), Syracuse at Notre Dame (March 28), Notre Dame at Duke (April 4): After a relatively light February, the Irish kick it up a notch over the next 30-odd days with four games against teams in the top seven. Per usual, the ACC is an absolute monster. However, if the Irish can take care of business against Virginia, Syracuse, and Duke, they will at worst be the two-seed in the ACC four team exhibition Tournament in Philadelphia Chester, Pennsylvania in late April.
  • The People's Champ Johns Hopkins at Syracuse (March 14), Duke at Syracuse (March 22), Syracuse at Notre Dame (March 28), and Syracuse at North Carolina (April 14): Honestly, I don't even think Hopkins deserves to be on this list as I am sure the Orange will destroy the Blue Jays on March 14th.# The Orange gave their fans so many feels after Syracuse blasted Virginia. If Syracuse can do the same to Duke and Notre Dame, everyone should set their their phasers to stuntin' (R.I.P. Mr. Spock) because that April 11th game between Syracuse and North Carolina will be, as the kids say, fiyah!
  • Harvard at North Carolina (March 17), North Carolina vs. Maryland (March 21, neutral site), Duke at North Carolina (March 29), Syracuse at North Carolina (April 11): Starting March 29th, every week is Shark Week for Carolina the Heels begin their conference schedule. While the ACC portion of Heels' schedule will get the lion's share of the lax world's attention, no one should sleep on Carolina's March 21st game against Maryland. North Carolina travels all the way to Laguna Beach Santa Ana, California to take on the Terps. As most of you know, Maryland left the ACC for a younger woman the Big Ten. I am sure all is forgiven. Hahaha, just kidding, Carolina will probably try to bury the hatchet in Maryland's face. After that, the healing can truly begin.
"That Guy" Watch:
  • Ben Williams (Syracuse): Syracuse with an excellent faceoff man is like putting Lamborghini doors on an Escalade: Sure, you don't need it, but it's still a pretty dope addition. On a team full of stars, it is the sophomore transfer from Holy Cross that has the Syracuse faithful already thinking about Memorial Day. Having a guy win 72% (62/86) of his draws will do that to people. With a potent lineup and a defense that has yet to give up more than nine goals, Williams might be the X-factor that helps to bring title number 12 11* to Syracuse. Williams gave everyone a scare after he left the Virginia game early in the fourth quarter, but the BOSS isn't worried and we'll probably see him play this week.
  • Myles Jones (Duke): Myles Jones, or as we fondly call him, lacrosse's Bill Brasky, leads the Blue Devils in assists (15) and points (32). He's also second in tallies with 17 goals on the season. With the size and speed of a starting NFL linebacker, Myles' mere presence demands attention and double teams. But it is his lacrosse IQ that really sets him apart, as he is able to see three to four steps ahead of the defense to find the open man or bury the ball in the back of the net himself. You know what Myles is going to do his last season and a half of eligibility? Bad things man, bad things.
  • Jimmy Bitter (North Carolina): People wondered what the three time All-American had in store for his senior season. Given the fact that the senior captain's default setting is DOMINATE, we shouldn't be surprised that Jimmy leads the Heels in goals and assists. Bitter once again was a nightmare against the Blue Jays, scoring four goals, as he led North Carolina to its fourth straight victory over Hopkins.  Jimmy's five points against Denver helped the Tar Heels knock off the former number one when the Pios visited Chapel Hill.  The Vermont native is on a mission this year and he might score enough points to drag North Carolina to its first Final Four appearance since 1993.
NCAA Tournament Prognosis:
  • League:
    I know I used this joke last time with the Ivy League spotlight, but it really applies to the ACC. While there is still a lot of lacrosse left to play, with EVERYONE(!!!) in the conference sitting in the top seven, it is going to take a lot for one of these teams to not make the playoffs. The conference has ONE loss to anyone outside of the ACC (Denver over Duke), and even that blemish was wiped away when North Carolina took down Denver last week. People call the ACC the SEC football of lacrosse, but even that doesn't do the conference justice since there isn't a lower tier in ACC lacrosse as there is in the SEC. Until some conference steps up (Eri_Barrister GLARES at the B1G), it's the ACC's world right now and everyone else is fighting for scraps. 

#Reverse Jinx