ESPN – Grantland: Keep an eye on Grantland this week as the site will be putting out a series of college basketball articles focusing on five teams who could win the national title (North Carolina, Duke, Ohio State, Syracuse and Kentucky). Today they started the series focusing on the top-ranked Tar Heels with a special emphasis on Kendall Marshall. I may be alone here, but I’m not totally sold on Marshall being a savior. I think quick perimeter defenders can minimize his impact (evidence: the ACC Tournament championship game last year where Duke held him to four assists and five turnovers). I may be over-emphasizing a single game, but I think Marshall has an Achilles heel in the Roy Williams offensive scheme: he’s not that quick. It’s a good article, and it’s a sign that college basketball is upon us when national all-sports sites start producing content. [Author’s note: it may seem like I rag on Marshall a lot, but I think he’s a tremendous player. It’s just that I think he’s still a year or two away from the second or third-team All-American status a lot of people are currently projecting for this season.]
Ramblin’ Wreck: The official site of Georgia Tech athletics announced yesterday that the ACC will be extending its “ACC Network” coverage beyond live games to include regularly scheduled programming and analysis. The network is currently only on a digital platform meant to be streamed from smart phones and laptops, and is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. ACC viewers will be glad (or irked) to know the network is being created in conjunction with longtime partner Raycom Sports, so you can expect all of your favorite personalities from Mike Hogewood to Dan Bonner. It’s tough to tell what sort of revenue a network like this will have for the conference, but just venturing into a full-time entity (even online) should help with the ACC’s upcoming media contract negotiations.
The Patriot-News: Wake Forest basketball got a verbal commitment from 2012 power forward Devin Thomas this week. Thomas committed immediately after his official visit to Winston-Salem, choosing the Demon Deacons over Penn State and Temple. Thomas’ sister Alyssa currently plays basketball for Maryland. Last year he averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds for his high school team, Central Dauphin (PA).
CBSSports.com – Jeff Goodman: Goodman got a chance to watch Duke practice last week and his biggest takeaway is that Miles Plumlee may be the backbone of the Blue Devils this season. After Seth Curry received much of the hype over the summer, it sounds like the eldest Plumlee may have finally gained the confidence to go with his raw size and athleticism. If this turns out to be true, Duke is definitely a Top 10 team. Could Plumlee become Brian Zoubek 2.0?
ESPN – Grantland and The Chronicle: We gave a recap of Midnight Madness around the ACC yesterday, but here are two closer looks at Duke’s Countdown to Craziness. The Chronicle highlights the whole team, while Tobacco Road Blues editor and Grantland blogger Shane Ryan looks at the drama exposed by a serious scrimmage headlined by Seth Curry and Austin Rivers. Rivers’ attitude will certainly be something to watch this season, as it will drive him to his personal limits when working in his favor and probably lead to some 18-points-on-25-shots days when working against him. Like any good Duke fan, Ryan also took the time to poke fun at “Late Night with Roy” and its choreographed dances (see video below; h/t to the Daily Tar Heel).