So the ACC is down, based on preseason expectations, and the ACC's coaches are doing what all coaches do: Defending their conference. Much of this defense took place at ACC Media Day, when coaches took a break from praising Duke just long enough to tell FanHouse's Viv Bernstein that everyone else is wrong. The ACC is going to be totally awesome this year!
"Duke pretty much ran through the NCAA tournament until the championship game," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. "Who played them tough? ACC tournament. They had a tough game against Miami. Who played 'em better than anyone down the stretch? The 12th place team in our league. The reality is this league, year in, year out, top to bottom, it's hard to play in."
That argument doesn't make much sense, of course, but you can't really blame them. Coaches have a collective interest in maintaining their conference's image. Every coach in every league does this. It's a little annoying, but it's relatively harmless.
Still, there are arguments like Greenberg's, which stretch credulity, and arguments like Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton's, which are just downright hilarious:
"When I was at Kentucky, back in my early stages of coaching, I looked at the preseason rankings for 50 years," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I looked at the end of the season rankings for 50 years. The same schools always got placed in the preseason and it didn't matter what happened at the end of the season. A lot of those teams at the end of the season weren't even ranked at the beginning of the season."
OK then, coach. Good to know.
Hamilton was an assistant at Kentucky from 1975-1986. That means he was looking at preseason rankings from the 1920s, I guess. Good data, sure, but it has literally nothing to do with the modern college hoops media landscape, where teams are constantly scrutinized and appraised and ranked and re-ranked, all for the sake of conversation and analysis. The reason people see the ACC as weak in 2010-11 is because the ACC looks weak in 2010-11. It's not an oversight or a grand polling conspiracy. Duke looks awesome, North Carolina looks young, Virginia Tech looks like a plus-bubble team, and everyone else falls somewhere from OK to mediocre to bad. Until the season proves otherwise, maybe ACC coaches can take it down a notch. But don't hold your breath.