College Basketball by the Tweets: A B1G/ACC Tie, UNC Plays Jekyll and Hyde…Posted by David Harten on December 5th, 2013
So can anyone figure North Carolina out? Seriously, that’s a question. In the past four games, the Tar Heels have done what can only be deciphered as playing up (or down) to their competition, losing to Belmont at home before beating defending national champion Louisville, then losing to UAB before taking down the No. 1 team in the nation, Michigan State, on Wednesday night. So please, someone explain what makes this team act the way it acts. The Tar Heels’ tussle with the Spartans highlighted the two-day Big Ten/ACC Challenge, with the two conferences tying at 6-6 for the second consecutive year. When it was all over, the national focus was less on the tie and more on the fact that the Tar Heels have two wins over top five teams and two losses to unranked bubble teams.
Speaking of disappointing Michigan State performances, does anyone remember that Garrick Sherman spent the beginning of his career with the Spartans? Well, he’s at Notre Dame now, which everyone probably knows after the five-overtime thriller against Louisville last year, of which he didn’t play a minute of until the first overtime and still finished with 17 points. He’s proven a capable scorer as a fifth-year senior, putting up an event-high 29 points in a 98-93 Irish loss at Iowa.
The Tuesday night slate offered a few interesting games, specifically #10 Duke hosting #22 Michigan. The Blue Devils kept a steady lead over the Wolverines and finished with a 79-69 victory. Quinn Cook, who has had an up-and-down two seasons in Durham, had arguably his best game as a Blue Devil, scoring 24 points to go along with nine assists and four rebounds in the win. Michigan got 24 from Caris LaVert, but it wasn’t able to take full advantage of the same defense that allowed Vermont to hit around 60 percent from the field, shooting 44.6 percent. Although most of the headlines went to the player who didn’t get off the bench for Duke, guard Rasheed Suliamon.
And the biggest postgame storyline came from the loser’s locker room, with Michigan sophomore center Mitch McGary calling he and his teammates “soft.”
But possibly the biggest statement of the night came from #4 Syracuse‘s 69-52 public undressing of Indiana in the Carrier Dome. I think everyone expected the ‘Cuse to win this one, but the Hoosiers, who came into the game unranked to begin with, didn’t really threaten the Orange from the early moments of the second half. Trevor Cooney caught fire, scoring a game high 21 points, while Noah Vonleh led Indiana with 17. The stat sheet said it all, with Syracuse hitting 51.1 percent from the field and the Hoosiers hitting at a 36.6 percent clip and committing 16 turnovers.
But if there was one highlight for Indiana, it was that Troy Williams provided us all with a early Dunk of the Year candidate on a sick little putback slam.
Indiana really didn’t embarrass itself as much as Syracuse made a statement. The Orange convincingly took out a team convincingly despite running a freshman point guard, Tyler Ennis, who is progressing nicely in replacing Michael Carter-Williams, with a line of 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Also, this happened (somewhat NSFW on the link…)
Among all the other madness surrounding the event, Virginia and Wisconsin played in game that was basically the exact opposite of what people saw in East Lansing. Coaches Bo Ryan and Tony Bennett both like to slow it down and play in the halfcourt, and the final score resembled that, with the Badgers taking a 48-38 victory in Charlottesville. Now I’m the type of person who believes good ball is good ball, regardless of the score — and Wisky and UVA both like their ball slow and deliberate — but that’s not what you saw if you watched the game. Neither team shot better than 29 percent from the field and the two teams combined to go 6-of-34 from three-point range.
And of course, these next two tweets represent the two ways you can take the grind-it-out style that Ryan and Bennett preach.
No matter which way you take your offense, you can’t deny the Big Ten/ACC Challenge puts a bunch of quality teams in front of a national audience after Feast Week ends, and for that, we can all be happy.