ACC M5: 12.27.12 EditionPosted by EMann on December 27th, 2012
- Fox Sports Carolinas: NC State forward CJ Leslie has long been thought of as the Wolfpack’s most talented player, but his immaturity has overshadowed his innate talent for most of his first two years in Raleigh. However, his recent performance against St. Bonaventure, where Leslie totaled 33 points and eight rebounds, is the latest culmination of a season-long maturation process, according to Fox Sports’ Andrew Jones. Leslie, whom Mark Gottfried has coached very differently from other players, calling him by his first name “Calvin,” has finally started to show the potential that made him eigh’s most touted recruit in a long time. If Leslie can continue to improve, NC State has a fantastic chance to advance past last year’s Sweet Sixteen appearance.
- Yahoo! Sports: Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports, like many other prognosticators, is backing off of his original choice of NC State to win the conference. Eisenberg differed from most, however, in also selecting North Carolina to finish ahead of Duke as well (NC State-Duke-UNC was the most popular projection). He is now definitely backing off the Tar Heels as well, whose poor play has dropped them out of the Top 25; and while he favors Duke to win the conference now, he warns us not to give up on NC State. Eisenberg also calls attention to league disappointments (Florida State and UNC) and the burgeoning conference player of the year competition between Virginia Tech’s Erick Green (America’s leading scorer) and Duke’s Mason Plumlee.
- Washington Post: Maryland has sailed under the radar this year. After dropping an extremely close opener to then #3 Kentucky, the Terrapins have not lost another game. Still, the Terps only received seven votes in the latest Top 25 poll. This low profile is emblematic of the team’s coach, Mark Turgeon, who has had to replace one of the game’s iconic head coaches in Gary Williams. As detailed in Rick Maese’s article,Turgeon’s disciplined, calculating approach has been nurtured through various experiences in his career, dating back to middle school basketball. But while remaining fiercely competitive, he also has struggled to balance family with basketball. Regardless, after reading this piece it seems like Turgeon is the right man to lead the Terrapins forward as they transition from the ACC to the Big Ten.
- Salisbury Post: A big part of Duke’s rise to #1 this year can be credited to an improvement in the team’s defense. Last year, Duke’s defense was the worst (#70) that it has been since Ken Pomeroy began his ratings in 2003. Duke’s defense has improved in nearly every facet this year and now ranks ninth in the Pomeroy rankings. Another notable accomplishment for this Duke team includes the fact that all five of its starters are averaging in double figures, which has not happened in Durham since 2003-04. However, Mike Krzyzewski knows that his team is not perfect, saying, “This season will not be a perfect one.” Still, with their performance against one of the toughest opening stretches in recent memory and an improved defense, it is hard not to be bullish about Duke’s long-term chances this year.
- Florida Today: Flying under the radar during Christmas season was Miami‘s struggles in the Diamond Head Classic. Playing without senior forward Reggie Johnson, the Hurricanes ended up finishing fourth in the tournament, including a costly overtime loss to Indiana State in the third place game where Miami squandered a late seven-point lead. However, assuming Johnson can return from his injury, Miami should end up being alright. Miami has yet to lose a game where it has been at full strength (Durand Scott was suspended in the loss to Florida Gulf Coast) and Johnson missed the ISU game as well as the previous night’s defeat to San Diego State. Look for Miami to continue to fly under the radar in conference play, but they will need to be a bit more careful in the ACC because these two losses will give them a slightly smaller margin for error in their quest to make the NCAA Tournament.