ACC M5: 11.13.12 Edition
Posted by EMann on November 13th, 2012
- Not that there have been too many games to base these decisions on, but the first ACC player of the week for the season is Maryland forward Alex Len. The Ukrainian sophomore tallied a career high 23 points and 12 rebounds in Maryland’s close loss to Kentucky on Friday night in the Barclays Center. If Len can continue to play like that, he has a chance to move into the grouping of elite ACC big men that includes Mason Plumlee, James Michael McAdoo, and Reggie Johnson, among others. NC State guard Rodney Purvis took Rookie of the Week honors after leading his team in scoring against Miami (Ohio).
- Keeping it Heel: Roy Williams is obviously a great coach with two national titles to his credit. But with this year’s team not of his typical mold in Chapel Hill, he has had to change his philosophy somewhat. It has long been a North Carolina tradition not to start freshmen at the beginning of the season when more proven options are available, but Williams has gone with freshman Marcus Paige this season as the starting point guard. According to Horran Cameron, Williams has realized that the best players need to be on the court regardless of experience. It remains to be seen if Paige can blossom to the level of Williams’ national championship point guards Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson, but it is a good sign for the freshman that he has gotten this level of trust from Day One.
- Today is ESPN’s 24-hour basketball marathon and it is capped off by one of college basketball’s great traditional match-ups: Duke vs. Kentucky, this time, as part of the Champions Classic in Atlanta. It is the first time that Coach K and John Calipari have met since Calipari began coaching at Kentucky, and the first time the schools have met since December 2001. The featured matchup of this game will surely be Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee taking on Kentucky freshman sensation Nerlens Noel. While Kentucky may be athletically superior, they are a much younger team than Duke, and Coach K typically has Duke ready to play in these marquee early games. While this match-up will be excessively hyped throughout the day, treat it as an early season litmus test for two teams that have high expectations for this season.
- Tallahassee Democrat: Following Florida State’s disappointing opening game defeat to South Alabama, which dropped the team out of this week’s Top 25, Leonard Hamilton has called upon his upperclassmen to play an increased leadership role, especially senior guard Michael Snaer. With seven newcomers on the roster, Hamilton hopes that his upperclassmen can keep the team going while the younger players get acclimated to big-time college basketball. The likelihood of Snaer, Ian Miller, and Okoro White all having subpar games at the same time is pretty slim — although it did happen against South Alabama — so it is clear that these players will need to be on top of their games to avoid more embarrassing losses. There’s a lot of basketball left to be played, so it is good to see Hamilton trying to light a fire under his team after a lackluster opener, and it appeared to pay off considering Florida State’s resounding bounceback victory against Buffalo.
- The Virginia Cavaliers have not gotten off to the best of starts, particularly with expectations fairly high following the program’s NCAA berth last year. Following a defeat in their opener against George Mason, the Cavaliers struggled to put away Fairfield in their NIT Season Tip-Off first round game in the only close game involving ACC teams last night. However, with both starting point guard Jontel Evans and backup Malcolm Brogdon out with injuries, Tony Bennett was forced to turn to junior Joe Harris to run the point in crunch time. While they don’t play the same position, it looks as though Harris is going to be relied upon nearly as much as Mike Scott was last year to produce when the Cavaliers need help. While the experiment worked yesterday, Bennett surely hopes that Harris can move back off the ball to his more natural wing position and that his true point guards can return from injury as the competition in this tournament gets tougher (Michigan, Kansas State, and Pittsburgh are the other major conference teams in the event).
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