ACC M5: 11.14.12 EditionPosted by EMann on November 14th, 2012
- In the much-hyped Champions Classic -between Duke and Kentucky, their first game against each other since December 2001 for the blue-blood rivals, Duke pulled out the victory, 75-68. Duke’s three seniors, Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly all excelled in the game against the Wildcats. Curry had perhaps his best game in a Duke uniform, with 23 points and acting clearly as Duke’s go-to player in the second half. Plumlee had 18 points despite second half foul trouble, only missing one shot (including making 4-4 free throws), keeping Duke in the game early when their shots were not going down, and Kelly played excellent defense on Kentucky’s Kyle Wiltjer. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon also had a solid game despite a woeful shooting performance in the first half, burying three clutch second half treys while also leading Duke in rebounds (six) and assists (five). This was a huge confidence builder for a Duke team that had perhaps been a little overlooked this season, and although Kentucky in November is likely nowhere near the ceiling it will eventually reach this season, Duke will be happy to have this feather in their cap come Selection Sunday.
- If not for Duke’s victory tonight, the ACC’s anemic performance in Tuesday’s other games would have gotten a lot more attention, as it was not such a banner night for the rest of the conference. Miami, who struggled to beat Stetson in its opener and lost to St. Leo in the exhibition season, lost to Florida Gulf Coast, 63-51, and shot only 29% from the field. Virginia, meanwhile, dropped its second game out of three, failing to advance in the NIT Season Tip-Off by losing at home to Delaware in yet another punchless offensive effort (Virginia has yet to reach 60 points this season). For two teams expected to contend for NCAA Tournament berths this season, these are extremely clear signs that something will have to change for each of these programs to reach their potential.
- Tallahassee Democrat: Leonard Hamilton definitely has a much different Florida State team this year. It is a team with the potential to be much more explosive offensively, but it also seems to lack the defensive chops of years past. After allowing South Alabama to shoot over 60% from three in FSU’s opening game defeat, their next opponent, Buffalo, shot 50% from the field. The difference was that Florida State was much better offensively against Buffalo, as the team hit nearly 60% from the field on its end of the court. Hamilton is definitely excited about the potential for offensive fireworks, but cautions that there will be some growing pains as this young team continues to meld and that they need to bring the energy that they showed against Buffalo.
- Scout: NC State had a convincing win against Miami (Ohio) in their opener, but the ACC preseason favorites still can get a lot better, according to coach Mark Gottfried. Gottfried insinuated that his team still needs to learn their individual roles, particularly on defense. At the same time, he lauded the play of forwards CJ Leslie and Richard Howell, especially in how the two communicate with each other on the court. Gottfried believes that his team has great defensive potential, especially from freshman Rodney Purvis, but he realizes that it will definitely take some time for everyone to get on the same page. At the very least, Gottfried sees the upcoming Puerto Rico Tipoff as a great opportunity for his team, and it is refreshing to see the coach having an upbeat attitude with the pressure of heightened expectations this season.
- In exciting news for fans in ACC country, the NCAA announced that the PNC Arena in Raleigh would host second and third round NCAA Tournament games in 2014 and that Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte would do the same in 2015. The NCAA Tournament was most recently played in Raleigh in 2008, where North Carolina started its Final Four run that year and Stephen Curry keyed Davidson’s Elite Eight Cinderella story. Charlotte hosted second and third round games in 2011, where both Duke and North Carolina advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and also the regionals in 2008, when North Carolina advanced to the Final Four. With the continuing popularity of college basketball on Tobacco Road, it is not surprising that the NCAA continues to select sites in the Tar Heel State for tournament play.