2011 ACC Tournament: Kyle Singler and 5 MVP Candidates to Watch
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams will flock to Greensboro, N.C. this weekend to participate in the ACC Tournament. The ACC is weaker than it has been in years, yet there are still a number of players looking to make a difference.
March is the month where draft dreams can be realized. Others have their NBA dreams deferred. There will be heroes. There will be goats.
The players that step up and take their teams on their backs through the ACC Tournament will position themselves for higher NCAA tournament seeding and more exposure come draft day.
These players are the most likely to make headlines this weekend.
Duke Blue Devils: Kyle Singler
The 6'8" senior for Duke might not be their best player (Nolan Smith). He is, however, the leader of the Blue Devils and the player opponents love to hate.
After only scoring eight points in a loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday, Kyle Singler will come back with a vengeance in the ACC Tournament.
When Singler is making it rain with his sweet mid-range jumpers, opponents have little chance of beating the Blue Devils. If he is feeling it in the ACC Tournament, Duke will win it all.
Virginia Tech Hokies: Malcolm Delaney
Malcolm Delaney is another senior who has made significant contributions to his team for the past four years.
As an ACC Player of the Year candidate last season, he came into this year high on each team's radar. Teams created defenses for Delaney, and he still averaged nearly 19 points per game in addition to four assists.
Virginia Tech is one team that needs to make a run in the ACC Tournament in order to make the NCAA Tournament field. Delaney knows it and wants to end his career in the spotlight. His motivation and senior leadership will have to lead the Hokies through the ACC Tournament and into the NCAAs.
North Carolina Tar Heels: Tyler Zeller
The junior seven-footer might be the most improved player in the ACC this season. Tyler Zeller led the Tar Heels to win the ACC regular season championship this year and will have to continue improving to get his team through the ACC Tournament.
Jumping from nine points and four rebounds per game last season, Zeller is now scoring almost 15 per, in addition to bringing down seven rebounds.
He's not a pretty basketball player, but his long-armed defense and timely offense have allowed North Carolina to make significant strides throughout the season.
If North Carolina is to build upon its regular season championship, Zeller will have to take another step forward in the ACC Tournament.
Maryland Terrapins: Jordan Williams
No ACC team has disappointed as much down the stretch as the Maryland Terrapins, currently mired in a three-game losing streak.
Jordan Williams, however, is one of the best players in the conference and is certainly its best big man. Williams is averaging a double-double this season with about 16 points and 11 rebounds, but at this point the Terps' NCAA hopes are only optimistic if they win the ACC Tournament.
Although this scenario is unlikely, Williams has the ability to take the Terps on his back for a stretch of games (as he proved earlier in the season).
Also, with freshmen like Terrell Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard improving by the game and seniors Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie and Dino Gregory staring down the end of their careers, don't count out a miracle run by Maryland in the tournament.
Boston College Eagles: Reggie Jackson
Boston College is another ACC team that needs a couple of wins in the ACC Tournament to solidify its NCAA Tournament berth. Reggie Jackson will try to see to it that the Eagles get their wins.
Jackson has been outstanding all season. The junior guard has scored 25-plus points eight times throughout the season and averages 4.5 assists per game.
Jackson is the ACC player most likely to score in bunches, and his capability to do so could cause problems for other ACC teams throughout the tournament.
Boston College enters the ACC Tournament on a bit of a hot streak, winning three straight.