ACC Morning Five: 01.19.12 EditionPosted by mpatton on January 19th, 2012
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel: This is a great story from Steve Gorten on Malcolm Grant‘s relationship with Jim Larranaga. Grant’s brother died at the end of December from a heart attack, which has put a lot of pressure on him this season. Since his brother’s death, Grant’s basketball game has struggled. But his relationship with his coach seems to be getting stronger, and, oh yeah, Grant led the team in scoring with 16 points in its win over Clemson.
- Washington Times: Alex Len jumped out to a torrid start after finally getting his eligibility, but ACC play has seen his production drop off sharply. First, he’s playing better teams that are bigger and more physical. Secon, he’s probably struggling with the pace. The good news is that Florida State is probably Len’s worst possible matchup. The Seminoles are long, strong and athletic. You saw them body up North Carolina’s frontcourt, so it’s no surprise that the freshman center struggled. But Maryland needs Len to produce more, both offensively and defensively, for the Terrapins to fulfill the role of “spoilers” this year.
- Fox Sports South: Florida State’s recent offensive explosion is just the most recent conference event to overshadow the two-loss Virginia Cavaliers. But don’t forget about Tony Bennett’s squad, which still has the third-best resume in the conference. Like his team, Joe Harris has gone under the radar for the Cavaliers this season. He’s not flashy, but the 6’6″ shooter is averaging over 12 points a game for a very slow team. His three-point percentages are slightly down from last season, but he’s significantly improved his game inside the arc, knocking down more shots and not turning the ball over. Mike Scott deservedly draws most of the attention, but don’t overlook his supporting cast.
- Durham Herald-Sun: The last two years he’s been at Duke, Andre Dawkins has started fast and faded in January. This year, the slump struck early. However, coming off of strong games against Virginia and Clemson, Dawkins may be surging at the right time this season. The one question I have is about Dawkins’ defense. There’s no doubt he can jump (he doesn’t dunk much, but his jams are highlight-reel worthy) and his size makes him an asset on the perimeter. But Dawkins has been a suspect defender from the get-go at Duke. I’m not sure if it’s lateral quickness or slow acceleration, but he always feels a step behind the play. If he can bolster his defense, there’s no doubt his minutes will improve as well.
- Carolina March: I’m not sure anyone looked at North Carolina‘s game at Virginia Tech as anything more than a potential road test before the season started. Now? There are major questions about both teams: One is reeling after losing its first three conference games against one of the weakest schedules; the other is coming off a 33-point woodshedding. The bottom line is that both teams are desperate for the win. Normally, I’d say “North Carolina is more talented and will be coming out swinging after reading about its ‘mental toughness’ and ‘intensity’ the last couple of days,” but the Hokies may be even more desperate for the win. This should actually be a very good gauge of North Carolina’s toughness, as I expect Greenberg’s squad to really battle the Tar Heels.
EXTRA: This is the first I’ve ever heard of it, but there’s apparently a national championship for student sections. The weird thing is, I don’t see any real reasoning behind the schools vying for the title. In the ACC, Duke, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia and Wake Forest are the representatives. I’m not sure if you’ve taken the time to watch Miami play this year, but the Hurricanes are lucky to put 200 students in the stands. Georgia Tech is also struggling with attendance in large part because of the team’s expectations and not having a stadium in which to play. Clemson is notoriously loud, but how did Maryland and NC State not make the conference cut? Consider me baffled.