The Mac Attack

The first month of the ACC season is just about over, as January is drawing close to an end, and the conference is once again turned upside down. North Carolina has emerged as the team to beat, holding a two-game over surprised Florida State, which has overcome an awful non-conference season, to compete at the league's top. The middle of the league is jam-packed with a handful of teams, including Duke who entered the season as the overwhelming favorite to win. Duke isn't the only team to underachieve in the first full month of conference play, so has Miami, coming off a trip to the Final Four, and Clemson, who who seemed poised to break out after barely missing the NCAA Tournament. 

We're inching closer to next week's NBA Draft, and with the Finals over, that is now the focal point in the basketball world. The Hornets have been preparing for the draft since January, after a brutal start to the season, had them out of playoff contention right off the bat. A disappointing 27-55 record, did payoff when Charlotte did earn the #2 pick in the draft, just barely missing out on generational talent, Victor Webmanyama. With Charlotte being in control of how the rest of the draft will unfold, they have to decide whether or not to draft Brandon Miller, or Scoot Henderson, both of whom would be potential #1 overall picks in every other draft. 

The Deshaun Watson saga continues to be the most dominant headline around the NFL as the league gets set to turn the calendar to a new league year tomorrow morning. Last Friday, the criminal cases against the current Houston Texans quarterback were dismissed and while there are still civil depositions that still need to be resolved, the trade market for him has hit its peak since before the allegations were initially brought to light.

All week, the focus around the final Saturday of the regular season was on Coach K's legacy ahead of the final home game of his legendary career as he and Duke welcomed the Tar Heels to Durham. As a result, Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels were given no chance in his first trip to Cameron Indoor. However, thanks to what may have been the team's most complete game of the season, the Tar Heels walked in and pulled one of the most unexpected upsets in college basketball this season, handing Coach K a loss in his final game at home on a night where they honored him afterward.

Saturday night, Duke's men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will take to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the final times as the team head basketball coach when they welcome the rival North Carolina Tar Heels. This is a game that many expect the Blue Devils to show out in with it being Krzyzewski's last game and with the way that this same team beat the Tar Heels earlier in the season in Chapel Hill.

The first match in the history of the expansion MLS franchise in Charlotte, the Charlotte FC, is now less than four days away, as the team travels to Washington DC to take on DC United in their opening match. Charlotte FC is coming off of a winless preseason down in Charleston, but there is a good feeling around the team following the final friendly against Inter Miami over the weekend, where the team got its first goal in 2-1 loss where Miguel Angel Ramirez said that he felt the team played much better than the score showed.

It is no secret that it has been a down year in ACC basketball this season, but there have been some teams that have had nice seasons, outperforming their preseason expectations with the help of their head coaches. Mike Brey and Notre Dame were picked preseason eighth in the conference and currently sit at 19-8 (12-4) and might be the biggest threat to Duke right now in the conference's regular-season race. Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes were tabbed to finish 12th in the conference in the preseason and currently sit in third in the conference with a 20-8 (12-5 record and have a win on the road at Duke in their favor. However, the favorite of the group should be Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes, whose team was picked to finish 13th in the preseason polls and is now staring down a tournament appearance sitting at 21-7 (11-6).

Sunday was the 64th running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, from Daytona International Speedway, as rookie Austin Cindric took home his career win at the Cup Series level in his first full-time start in the series. This was also the regular-season debut of NASCAR's new NextGen car, a car that some are hoping will bring more parody to the sport than the previous car.

When it comes to the 2022 NFL Draft and the Carolina Panthers, it feels like the majority of the buzz right now surrounds the fact that the team looks like the most likely spot for the first quarterback to be selected. The success of Malik Willis has some wondering if the Panthers could be looking in that direction with the glaring need at the position and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has reported that people inside of the Panthers building are also really excited by what they see from Kenny Pickett.

The Panthers completed what will hopefully be their final round of hires for Matt Rhule's rebuilt staff this offseason earlier this week with the hirings of Kevin M. Gilbride (tight ends coach), Joe Dailey (wide receivers coach) and Robert Kugler (assistant offensive line coach) to the offensive staff on Monday. This completed a nearly complete revamp of the team's offensive staff, which saw four members of this past year's group either parted ways with or moved on from on their own, headlined by the in-season departure of offensive coordinator Joe Brady who was replaced earlier this offseason by former Giants head coach and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.