- Roanoke Times: I entirely overvalue Cadarian Raines‘s performance. I can admit it. I’ve seen flashes of potential — usually glimpses of a remarkably well-developed post game. It appears Aaron McFarling is on the bandwagon with me, but James Johnson isn’t as he’s sat Raines for the last two games. The question is why? Johnson claims it’s the players “ahead” of Raines, and that could be true but I think it has to be Raines’ attitude. Johnson knows he’s not going to win 20 games this season, with or without Raines, but he also knows the culture he wants to build in Blacksburg. This just feels a lot like Coach K’s early season benching of Rasheed Sulaimon.
- Sporting News: Speaking of Rasheed Sulaimon, Mike DeCourcy does a great job in this profile of the Duke sophomore. Sulaimon pointed to becoming the third “break down the defense” option this year, instead of last year when he was arguably the first. It’s interesting that Mike Krzyzewski appears to be meeting Sulaimon somewhere in the middle. A side product of his recently instituted “line changes” are some odd lineups. One includes Marshall Plumlee and Tyler Thornton, which leaves Sulaimon as the go-to player in those situations.
- Winston-Salem Journal: Come for the brief profile of Arnaud William “Bill” Adala Moto; leave with an awesomely awkward Bzdelikian analogy.
“I kind of likened it the other day to a bunch of chicken eggs. Some of the eggs start cracking, and the little chick pokes its head out and looks. Some of these guys have completely gotten out of their shell. Some of them, the shell is cracking, and their head is poking out. Some of them are still in it, playing. But my point is, they’re all starting to hatch — at different times — and slowly breaking out of that shell.”
Clearly, Jeff Bzdelik has been working on his PR game. But seriously, Moto is a guy who plays like a great teammate. He just outworks opponents.
- Tar Heel Blog: Speaking of PR game, North Carolina needs to up its version in a serious way. The university hasn’t looked good at all in its dealing with Mary Willingham’s allegations, and the fine bloggers at Tar Heel Blog have done a tremendous job covering the story. The interesting possible spin going on right now is that North Carolina claims 97 percent of admitted athletes during the past two years were above the testing levels that CNN and Willingham cited. What’s interesting is that Willingham’s numbers covered 2004-12. Does that mean her numbers are right and North Carolina has fixed its problems, or was the most recent data the most accessible? Good move by the administration to question the media (which is likely at fault anyways) instead of Willingham here.
- Charlottesville Daily Progress: Virginia has played well but lost all (three) of its games against Top 25 opponents this season. But I’m not sure there’s much to be drawn from the Duke loss. Had the Cavaliers rolled over and lost by 15 instead of mounting a comeback in the last three minutes, I would be more concerned. By the end of the year Virginia will knock off at least one team in the national rankings assuming no one gets hurt.