ACC M5: 10.29.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on October 29th, 2013

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  1. Run the Floor: Michael Rogner released his ACC preview and it’s worth a look. It can be biting (poor Paul Jesperson), but it’s a good read to catch up on all the teams around the conference in one place. The most interesting question raised in the preview is about Florida State’s defense. One argument for why the Seminoles suffered last season is that their front line was very young. This year the seven-footers are all a year older, but it’s unclear if one is ready to take charge of the paint. It may be another bizarro year in Tallahassee for Leonard Hamilton‘s team where his offense is better than his defense — especially if Ian Miller stays healthy.
  2. AP (via Fox Sports): Brian Gregory is a little noncommittal about Georgia Tech’s potential success this season. He sounds optimistic but quickly points out that the Yellow Jackets have a ways to go. One thing that you should know about his team is that they are talented. Not stacked like some teams in the league, but better and more experienced than you might think. Unfortunately, that was also true of Gregory’s Dayton teams that always seemed to have an offensive ceiling. Georgia Tech is definitely moving in the right direction as a program, but if it’s not significantly better offensively this year, there will be cause for concern.
  3. CBSSports.com: Yesterday morning, it was unclear when we’ll know about PJ Hairston‘s suspension. According to Roy Williams the decision should be made before the season opener in two weeks. He also offered this gem of a Williams-ism when asked about Hairston’s status:

    “Well crap, the NCAA made a decision on (Texas A&M quarterback) Johnny Manziel in frickin’ two days… It’s not all my choice kind of thing. I really don’t believe I’ll suspend him for half a game either.”

  4. AP: Brad Brownell is finding his silver lining in that next season the Tigers will return all their best players. That’s because he doesn’t have any seniors. Brownell is right, though — this is the turning point where Clemson becomes his program. But he’s also in a tough spot this season because the team relied so heavily on Devin Booker and Milton Jennings last year. KJ McDaniels is a very good player, but Booker was criminally underrated on both ends of the floor. Continuity may end up being great, but Brownell needs standouts for Clemson to get to the next level in the ACC.
  5. Duke Report: Non-Duke fans may want to avoid this interview with Christian Laettner (don’t worry, the video below is still awesome), who now has a basketball academy where he goes around doing coaching clinics for teams across the country (the best part that fits his personality perfectly: He offers a discount to teams in Kentucky and Connecticut because of the pain his buzzer beaters caused). Laettner offers advice to the incoming freshmen and talks noncommittally about moving up to coaching. He also douses Mike Krzyzewski in praise throughout the interview. It’s a good but a little over the top read.

EXTRA: Uncle Drew is back and still awesome.

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ACC M5: 10.18.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on October 18th, 2013

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  1. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Jamie Dixon doesn’t sound too worried about the new rule changes that are designed to open up the floor a little for offensive players: when asked about the new rules, Dixon retorted, “We will see if they are going to call it.” Pittsburgh‘s defense under Dixon is known for being some of the most physical in the country, although the Panthers don’t rely on hand checks nearly as much as Louisville. But Dixon hit on the most important part of the supposedly drastic changes: They don’t matter unless they’re enforced. These aren’t new rules like the unpopular elbow rule; they’re changes in emphasis. Duke’s Tyler Thornton, for one, isn’t thrilled with the stricter definition of charges.
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Brian Gregory got some big news yesterday, as Tennessee transfer Trae Golden received a hardship waiver that will allow him to suit up this season for the Yellow Jackets. Golden will give the team much-needed experience at the point guard position, where sophomore Solomon Poole struggled mightily last year. Poole had an unthinkable turnover rate of 44.5 percent — meaning he turned it over on nearly half the possessions he was involved in. Golden won’t make Georgia Tech a contender, but he should make them much tougher to beat.
  3. Boston Globe: Boston College felt much more respected this year at media day. The Eagles were picked eighth, a far cry from their last place pick a year ago. Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson are the real deal. Don’t be surprised if both end up on all-ACC teams when all is said and done. Dennis Clifford – sidelined much of last year with a nagging knee injury — may prove the difference between being a dangerous team and a team that makes then NCAA Tournament, though you don’t want to be too optimistic about a guy rehabbing two knee surgeries. Regardless, Steve Donahue’s squad should be fun to watch.
  4. Washington Post: Akil Mitchell leapt onto the ACC scene last year as an athletic double-double machine who made watching Virginia much more enjoyable. This wasn’t the first time Mitchell surprised people on the basketball court: In middle school he was cut twice (thanks to being the damning “stout and slow” according to his father), in high school he couldn’t dunk as a 6’5″ sophomore (to teammate and rare dunker Seth Curry’s chagrin), and he had his offer revoked by George Washington. It will be interesting to see how Mitchell deals with moving from the upstart underdog to a much better-known star role this year.
  5. Notre Dame: Mike Brey’s team will be without sophomore forward Zach Auguste for the next four to six weeks according to a school release. Auguste broke his hand in practice last week. This deals a blow to the team’s frontcourt, which needs to find a way to replace star Jack Cooley. While he likely won’t miss “important” games, Auguste will miss valuable time getting used to his expanded role.

EXTRA: Make sure to catch part two of Walker Carey’s chat with Len Elmore, Mike Gminski, and Bret Strelow.

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ACC M10: 02.27-28.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 28th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Ken Sugiura spent a day with Brian Gregory, taking in the coach’s in-season routine. These stories are always worth a read just because all coaches are so different in their approaches (though at the highest level, nearly all are tireless in their pursuit of winning). The things that stick out at first glance are the emphasis Gregory places on religion and family. Hardly two paragraphs go by without a mention of his faith, and the one thing part of his schedule unrelated to basketball is his family. 
  2. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: After Miami’s loss to Wake Forest, Jim Larranaga took measures to fix the team’s focus issue. That meant trading interviews for film and getting back to basketball. One thing it’s easy to overlook is the amount of time off the court players spend promoting their or their schools’ brands. Not promoting in the usual way, but through media interviews or events on campus. Nearly every article you read that’s published a day removed from game day included an interview. That time adds up–especially if your team is successful. The attention can also be distracting if it alters how you prepare or execute (look at Jeff Bzdelik’s road record if you want to see the reverse situation).
  3. Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician: John Castillo looks at the alternate universe where Virginia Tech isn’t added to the ACC over Syracuse (with some help from WhatIfSports.com). But the game simulations aren’t the most interesting thing by a mile. Virginia Tech turned out to be a slam-dunk grab by the ACC because of its success in football (Miami on the other hand…). If the ACC chooses another basketball-first school over Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State would rightfully be upset about the conference’s football brand. Also, Virginia’s statehouse would be upset too. Now bring in conference realignment and suddenly the ACC is much less stable than currently.
  4. Baltimore Sun: Seth Allen suffered a pretty grisly bicycle accident when he was 12. He shattered his elbow and was told he might never play basketball again. Luckily, after a long rehab he is able to play and is one of the more exciting players in the league. Allen still lacks control, but Maryland doesn’t have anyone who’s comfortable running the point and in control. Mark Turgeon likens Allen to a less polished Shane Larkin, but that comparison doesn’t do Larkin justice. Both are exciting point guards with the ability to score, but Larkin’s speed is on another level. Allen’s scoring is probably better than Larkin’s though.
  5. CBSSports.com: After Florida‘s loss to Tennessee, the conversation about one-seeds is getting a little tighter. What does the Gators’ loss mean for the ACC? Most importantly, it means that Miami and Duke could both get one seeds. A few things need to happen: Duke needs to take care of Miami at home, both teams need to win their remaining games and at least make the semifinals of the ACC Tournament (finals would be better), and Duke needs to look more like its early season self once Ryan Kelly returns. Even then, they’ll probably need some help from the Big Ten and the Big East. Read the rest of this entry »
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Night Line: More ACC Road Woes For Maryland: Are the Terps Down and Out?

Posted by BHayes on February 28th, 2013

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Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

The chaotic final weeks before the NCAA Tournament have everyone clamoring for clarity, and as simple and as fun as it would be to announce that yes, you did hear a giant “POP” coming from Atlanta this evening, the reality is that Maryland’s at-large hopes haven’t completely vanished. Yet. With games growing few and their ACC record worsening, a 78-68 loss to Georgia Tech tonight has slid the Terps one step closer to the bubble chopping block. Three regular season games remain for Mark Turgeon’s bunch, with two road dates involved (at Wake Forest and Virginia) and a home finale against North Carolina. If Maryland wants to hear its name called on Selection Sunday, they would be well served to snag all three — no easy feat, but when you consider that accomplishing it would triple Maryland’s ACC road win total, a hard road starts to feel nearly impossible.

Mark Turgeon Was At A Loss For Words After Another Maryland Road Loss

Mark Turgeon Was At A Loss For Words After Another Maryland Road Loss

February 7, Blacksburg, Virginia – Maryland won a game on a basketball court not inside the Comcast Center, an accomplishment that had not occurred since November, and has not happened since. A difficult fact to process considering the Terps were likely on the right side of the bubble after the seismic Duke victory on February 16, but it’s hard to make a case for your NCAA Tournament inclusion when you can’t win more than a single road game.

Give Georgia Tech credit tonight, as the Jackets made a lot of plays they don’t normally make. Brian Gregory said it was the best 40 minutes his team has played all season, and Turgeon was effusive with praise for the home team. “Tech was good tonight, they were really good” he admitted, but he couldn’t quite seem to put his finger on what ailed his team — both tonight and on the road all season. Sure, there were criticisms – poor point guard play, a lack of toughness in the paint, too much 1-on-1 offensively – but you could tell that even Turgeon felt at a loss for answers. “I did think we tried hard,” he concluded, but with a resignation in his voice that suggested a full awareness that effort alone will not get his team to the Dance.

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The New Look Tar Heels Are Slowly Finding Their Way

Posted by BHayes on February 20th, 2013

Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. He filed this report from Tuesday’s game in Atlanta between Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

While we are not looking at our daddy’s Miami Hurricanes this season, it was only 10 days ago that a 26-point UNC loss in Coral Gables seemed to indicate that we also weren’t seeing a very familiar UNC team this year. It was not the first time that these Heels found themselves on the wrong side of a lopsided scoreboard (far from it, really), and with a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium lurking next, head coach Roy Williams decided that something needed to change. Williams inserted wing PJ Hairston into the starting lineup at the four, giving the starting five a smaller, more explosive look. Immediate results were good, as Hairston went for 23 points in a close loss in Durham before erupting for a career-high 29 in a weekend victory over Virginia. Tuesday night’s match-up with Georgia Tech featured little in the way of Hairston fireworks, but another UNC victory serves as more proof that Roy may be on to something with his new, smaller approach.

P.J. Hairston, North Carolina

PJ Hairston’s Insertion Into The Starting Lineup Makes For A More Explosive Carolina Team (Getty Images)

Hairston may be the player most dramatically affected by the revamped lineup – and his post defense did little to dismiss this notion – but James Michael McAdoo has also been forced to play slightly out of position at the five. There will be nights down the road where McAdoo will be more tested in his own paint, but on this evening he was a terror everywhere else on the defensive end, jumping into passing lanes and fueling a relentless UNC transition attack. The Tar Heels collected 14 steals (McAdoo leading the way with four) and forced a young Tech team into 19 turnovers, a total that ended up far too high for Brian Gregory’s team to have any chance of keeping close to Carolina.

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Night Line: Clemson and Georgia Tech Crystallize Offensive Woes in CBB

Posted by BHayes on February 15th, 2013

Bennet Hayes is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from Thursday’s game in Atlanta between Georgia Tech and Clemson.

Clemson picked up its first ACC road victory of the season in Atlanta on Thursday night, holding off a late Georgia Tech rally to hang on, 56-53. And while Brad Brownell was pleased to get that monkey off his team’s back, it was a clunker of a first half that seemed to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds after the game. The first 20 minutes saw the two teams combine for 35 points and 45 missed shots, a certifiably ugly half of basketball by any measure, but sadly, an affront to the eyes that is becoming all too commonplace in today’s college basketball. The offense picked up in the second half, with each team shooting over 50% from the field. But the first half was still the hot topic for both coaches after the game, and each discussed the larger implication – why offense on the college level seems to be grinding to a halt.

Brian Gregory Was Not The Only One Struggling To Enjoy The First Half Of Basketball At McCamish Pavilion

Brian Gregory Was Not The Only One Struggling To Enjoy The First Half Of Basketball At McCamish Pavilion

One contributing factor that both coaches could agree upon is the physicality of today’s college game. The kids are bigger and stronger, and without any sort of freedom of movement initiative (like the one the NBA installed to help restore offensive flow), the rules allow players to be overly physical, both on and off the ball. Gregory wondered if a similar initiative might be installed soon, while Brownell mentioned that there is a fine line between “calling all the fouls and there actually being some playing out there.” It’s an issue that Jay Bilas has addressed on his College GameDay spot on Saturdays – further proof of a growing consensus that the rules need changed so that skill regains its appropriate value in college basketball.

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ACC M5: 01.04.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 4th, 2013

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  1. CSNChicago.com: Duke commitment Jabari Parker reached out to a couple of pros for advice on his budding career. On recruiting, he talked to fellow Chicago Simeon HS graduate Derrick Rose, who pointed Parker toward the coach who would most push him instead of coddling him. For injury advice, he sought out Duke alumnus Grant Hill, who stressed the importance of patience. Their advice certainly isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s cool to see someone use those connections to make these kinds of life decisions. It also probably didn’t hurt Duke to have a guy like Hill indirectly (and unofficially of course) representing the school.
  2. Run The Floor: In case Ken Pomeroy’s numbers didn’t give you a full clue into how much better Duke has been than the rest of the ACC, Michael Rogner made up an ACC “Power Rankings” based on efficiency margins. Visually, it’s stunning just how much more impressive Duke has been in the early goings and explains why Pomeroy’s simulations have Duke winning nearly 90% of the time. Duke has the best offense and the best defense in the league by fairly significant margins. And the other schools with an elite offense (really only NC State) or defense (Georgia Tech and Virginia) are very one-dimensional.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Speaking of the Yellow Jackets, Georgia Tech is off to an impressive 10-2 start this season. But while their record should come with a grain of salt, it’s not like Brian Gregory played a schedule of world-beaters in non-conference play last season when his team started 7-7. Georgia Tech’s improvement is mostly on the defensive end, where they’re shutting opponents down and doing a solid job covering the defensive glass. Last year the Yellow Jackets needed a miracle game out of Glen Rice, Jr., to have a chance. This year they might be able to surprise a few teams along the way.
  4. CBSSports.com: Florida State‘s recent “disappoint in the non-conference but force the Selection Committee’s hand with a couple of great conference wins” MO may fall somewhat short this season. In large part, the Seminoles can blame the second item on this list, as there just aren’t that many great wins within the ACC to get this season. Sure, beating Duke in Tallahassee would go a long way, but apart from their one shot at the Blue Devils the Seminoles don’t have any real margin for error. The team just hasn’t gelled defensively, and it shows.
  5. Washington Post: Jontel Evans is out of his boot and may return against North Carolina on Sunday. Assuming Evans fits back into the team seamlessly (and there’s no reason to assume he won’t), Virginia may very well be the second best team in the ACC. Their loss to Old Dominion notwithstanding, the Cavaliers play very tough defense that will only get better when Evans returns to the lineup. Don’t expect too many minutes against the Tar Heels though, as the Cavaliers don’t want to re-aggravate Evans’ foot injury.

EXTRA: Former North Carolina governor Jim Martin wrote a letter to the editor of the Raleigh News & Observer to comment on the criticisms of his recent report about the UNC academic scandal. Long story short, he did everything that was in his power to illuminate the scandal and reported his findings. Unfortunately, without subpoena power at his disposal, though, he couldn’t force anyone to cooperate on the record, a major limitation.

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ACC M5: 12.10.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 10th, 2012

  1. Boston Globe: Steve Donahue is trying to figure out how to best rebuild Boston College, but after losing to Harvard for the fifth straight year (and in non-competitive fashion), he called off practice. He assessed what the team is good at and what it isn’t, and, long story short: shooting and defense, respectively. With that in mind Donahue changed the look of the Eagles. He went out against St. Francis looking to score 75 or 80 points, and focused the defense on aggressiveness instead of implementing complex schemes. When the first half wasn’t going well, Donahue benched his star player Ryan Anderson for most of the second half. If the Eagles start looking better, we might look back and see coaching genius. If they don’t, we’ll see desperation.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Richard Howell may be the most important player on NC State’s roster this season. He’s definitely not the most talented, but the senior consistently outworks everyone on the floor. Most people expected Lorenzo Brown or CJ Leslie to take the helm of this Wolfpack team, but Howell has been the guy who refuses to quit — he’s the guy that sparks the team and steps up in the big moments. This isn’t to say Howell is perfect, as he still attracts fouls at an alarming rate and lacks the polish to really be an offensive centerpiece. But he’s the type of guy who could bring the talented freshmen into the fold and build on the success Mark Gottfried’s team had to end last season.
  3. Charlottesville Daily Progress: Justin Anderson is going to be a special player for Tony Bennett if he stays all four years. Right now, he’s an incredibly athletic wing who adds a little flash to the slowest team in college basketball. But his greatness still comes in spurts. He’s taking too many threes, especially considering his skill set. Anderson is a guy who is going to give some very good teams fits during his career. Combine him with Bennett’s muck-it-up pack-line defense that keeps things close, and it certainly looks like a recipe for success.
  4. Washington Post: Mark Turgeon is still figuring out his rotation. Mostly Turgeon is trying to find his most effective combinations. Right now the Terrapins are playing a caliber of opponent that allows Turgeon to tinker a lot with very little risk. Even though he wasn’t on the team last year Dez Wells had a quote that certainly harkened back to a certain elite Terrapin from last season:

    “Nobody cares about who scores the points, nobody cares about the Terp of the Week, that stuff. That’s good for the team, and that’s good for the school, because they’re really behind us, but as a team we’re not worried about the accolades, we just want to win. Whether somebody scores 50 points or somebody doesn’t score at all, we’ll continue to pick that person up.”

  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Duke isn’t the only ACC team struggling to crash the boards this season. Georgia Tech has struggled with rebounding margin as well. Somewhat surprisingly, the Yellow Jackets’ advanced splits from Ken Pomeroy don’t back up Brian Gregory’s concerns. It’s true Gregory’s team is in the second half of the country in rebounding its own misses, but the team is actually a solid defensive rebounding team. But stats never give the whole picture, and it’s clear Gregory wants the team to box out more aggressively.

EXTRA: Brian Zoubek is still living the dream as a deluxe cream puff chef based in New Jersey. He planned on giving Duke a sampling of his craft after its trip to the Izod Center to play Temple.

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Georgia Tech Takes Control of Peach State Rivalry

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2012

Bennet Hayes (@hoopstraveler) is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Tuesday night’s Georgia-Georgia Tech game in Atlanta.

When the college basketball season tipped off a month ago, Georgia and Georgia Tech found themselves facing similar expectations. Neither program appeared to be sporting a team capable of making the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but there was hope that both might be improved enough to escape the SEC and ACC cellars, respectively. While the 2-5 Dawgs had slogged their way through the season’s first month (with only wins over Jacksonville and East Tennessee State to brag about), early returns had been slightly more promising for the 5-2 Yellow Jackets, and Tuesday night’s rivalry game in Atlanta only served to further differentiate the Peach State’s two pre-eminent basketball programs.

Georgia Tech Appears to be Headed in the Right Direction (AP)

Mark Fox will surely write off Tuesday’s 62-54 loss as simply another missed opportunity for his team, but boy, this one seemed to resonate on levels far beyond tonight’s 40 minutes of hoops. Maybe that added significance stems from Brian Gregory running his record to 2-0 against Fox and Georgia in his short tenure in Atlanta. Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that, for the first time in 19 years, Tech has won back-to-back games against UGA. Or maybe, just maybe, this one matters more because Gregory seems to have the best Georgia high school basketball talent headed again to Georgia Tech — and far, far away from Athens. All those elements seemed to linger in the backdrop of this one, and the frenzied energy of the sellout crowd of 8,600 at the shiny, new (the three-game old kind of new) McCamish Pavilion drove home the largest message loud and clear — Gregory and Tech are seizing firm control of college basketball in Georgia.

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ACC M5: 11.22.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 22nd, 2012

  1. Sporting News: Reading this convinced me that Brian Gregory may be exactly what Georgia Tech needs. He’s a very good salesman, which is crucial both for future recruiting and getting alumni and fans involved. The two go hand in hand as good recruiting leads to better teams which leads to more alumni support; likewise good alumni support leads to better facilities and more hype around the program and better recruiting. Give Gregory a couple more years and he’ll have Georgia Tech back in the conversation.
  2. Washington Times: As more and more opinion pieces start to turn up regarding Maryland‘s move to the Big Ten, there are a couple of distinct themes: that the Terrapins made the no-brainer choice given the realignment climate, the athletic department spit in the face of tradition, or it was a necessary evil because of the department’s financial woes. This piece clearly falls on the side of the latter. More interesting are the demographics of groups on both sides: In general, current students and the athletic department seem to come down in the first camp, older alumni and fans of other ACC schools in the second camp, and a mixture of the two falling in the third camp. None of the other realignment moves have seemed nearly as polarizing amongst the fan base.
  3. Indy Week: NC State has received a lot of hype this season — even after the ugly loss to Oklahoma State — but a lot of people don’t remember how the program faded to obscurity in the first place (at least as far as national titles are concerned). Through the 1970s and 1980s the Wolfpack were a top program in the ACC and the country, but the school forced Jim Valvano out in 1990 and the program never really recovered to that level under any of Les Robinson, Herb Sendek or Sidney Lowe.
  4. Raleigh News & Observer: It should only be good news that Reggie Johnson is more motivated than ever, has lost weight, and is disciplined. But why are Miami and Johnson struggling to start the season? Johnson and frontcourt partner Kenny Kadji are off to very poor offensive starts. Kadji is turning the ball over far too much, and Johnson just can’t shoot with any accuracy. But in the long run both are proven commodities, and the Hurricanes should be much better than they’ve played so far.
  5. Baltimore Sun: Kevin Coherd’s column about the Terrapins is cautiously optimistic, echoing Mark Turgeon‘s sentiments about his young team. It’s true this team is not a national contender just yet, but it could really rock the boat in the ACC if it can find some consistent offense. Alex Len already deserves any ACC Most Improved Awards we can find for him. Coaches like to spin things down a little at the beginning of the season to keep their teams as clean as possible, but Turgeon has a lot to look forward to this season.

EXTRA: DAILY RUMOR

Could the Big Ten be poaching another ACC (Carolina) blue blood as its 15th or 16th member?

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ACC M5: 11.16.12 Edition

Posted by EMann on November 16th, 2012

  1. Scout:  Clemson freshman forward Jaron Blossomgame has decided to redshirt this season following a compound leg fracture he suffered in April. Blossomgame had worked very hard to recover from his injury, but since he did not want to return during the middle of the season when the rest of the team was already familiar with its preferred style of play, he and Brad Brownell came to this mutual agreement. While Blossomgame is disappointed he won’t get to start his Clemson career until the 2013-14 season, he thinks that redshirting will be positive for his development. His contributions will be missed, as he would be able to provide some scoring ability and depth for the frontcourt, but ultimately both coach and player think that redshirting is the best pathway forward.
  2. Fox Sports Florida: The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic takes on special meaning for Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton and his program. Hamilton has lost four family members to cancer: his grandmother, father, and two brothers, one of whom lost his battle with the disease shortly following Florida State’s maiden ACC tournament championship in March. Another one of Florida State’s family, former assistant Kenny Williamson, who was on Pat Kennedy’s staff in the early 1990s, also recently passed away due to cancer. Expect Florida State to play with a special chip on their shoulder in this event, which has raised over $85 million since its inception in 1993. The Seminoles are fortunate that this tournament enabled them an automatic berth to the semifinals, as they lost in their first game in the event earlier in the week. The Seminoles will face BYU on Friday night, with a matchup between Notre Dame and St Joseph’s determining the other finalist.
  3. Hampton Roads:  With Jontel Evans slowly recovering from his injury (he played only three minutes in Virginia’s loss to Delaware on Tuesday, and doctors have not cleared him to play more than 10 minutes a game), Tony Bennett’s team has looked for answers at point guard. Unfortunately, Evans’ backup, Malcolm Brogdon, does not appear to be returning from his injury either anytime soon. Brogdon had surgery on his foot on March 7, and Bennett is confident that doctors will clear Brogdon to play at some point this season. But he has not played or practiced this season, which leads to the question of whether there is any point in rushing him back. If Brogdon cannot return and Evans remains limited by his own injury, this would leave only Joe Harris as a reliable creator, and Virginia’s offense would likely struggle as they have for most of the season thus far.
  4. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It took all of one game following Georgia Tech’s opener for the excitement surrounding the new McCamish Pavilion to wear off. Georgia Tech’s struggle to get by Presbyterian had far fewer fans in attendance than the sold-out opener, and the Yellow Jackets’ play possibly was a consequence of the sparser crowd.  Georgia Tech needed a large second half run to put away their overmatched opposition, which led Coach Brian Gregory to comment that “For us to be who we want to be eventually, that stuff can’t matter [referring to the crowd size]… and we’re not there yet.” Georgia Tech will probably need to score more than 52 points and make more than a third of its shots to get the Atlanta crowds excited to see them play.
  5. Thursday was a much better day for the ACC. Conference favorite NC State had a relatively easy victory in Puerto Rico over Penn State, with strong performances from freshmen TJ Warren and Rodney Purvis. Virginia Tech, who has recently committed to a more up-tempo offense, outplayed VMI, who regularly plays one of the fastest tempos in the country, showing that it has at least mastered some parts of this new approach. And Boston College was competitive in a 10-point defeat against a much more athletic Baylor team in Charleston (predicted to finish near or at the top in the Big 12), indicating that they will not be the “guaranteed” victory they so often appeared to be last year. The ACC will need more nights like this in order to show that the conference has legitimate depth, rather than what some of the other ACC teams (looking at the Florida schools and a certain one in Charlottesville) have shown thus far.
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ACC M5: 11.07.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 7th, 2012

  1. Tampa Bay Times: It’s entirely possible that Michael Snaer was not going to return to Tallahassee and Florida State. After a sensational junior year where Snaer helped to lead his school to one of its best seasons ever, it would be hard to blame the gifted shooting guard for taking his talents to the NBA. Yet Snaer came back, brimming with confidence and a reputation that clearly makes him an all-ACC favorite on both the offensive and defensive ends. Despite losing a great deal of depth to graduation, Snaer’s leadership, defense, and clutch shooting will again make Florida State a consistently dangerous team.
  2. Shelby Star:  Snaer isn’t alone of course. Leonard Hamilton has recruited and developed a roster filled with skilled athletes, including two players from the Charlotte area. Ian Miller and Terry Whisnant will help to fill the voids left by Luke Loucks and Deividas Dulkys, offering a devastating perimeter attack that should help the Seminoles continue their often back-breaking rain of threes. One of the most underrated aspects of Hamilton’s tenure at Florida State has been his ability to effectively recruit players like Miller and Whisnant away from the back yards of the four Tobacco Road schools. Hamilton’s ties to the area as a Gastonia native has enabled him to effectively recruit North Carolina players to venture south to Tallahassee. Tobacco Road may regret that even more when Miller and Whisnant begin their barrage of three-pointers.
  3. Ledger-Inquirer: While Florida State is relying on the skill of its improved backcourt players, Georgia Tech is looking to the frontcourt for answers. Kammeon Holsey and Daniel Miller were two bright spots in a disappointing season that saw first year coach Brian Gregory trying to hold together a patchwork and mentally weak team. Holsey and Miller, however, emerged as gifted and fierce rebounders on both ends of the court. With the younger Glen Rice now out of the picture, the junior pair figure to be featured more prominently in Georgia Tech’s game plan, a sound idea considering the relatively low usage but high offensive efficiencies of the pair during their sophomore campaigns.
  4. Fox Sports: Reggie Johnson wants to know why you aren’t talking about Miami. The big (maybe biggest) man looks at his teammates and sees a host of talented veterans and a proven coach in Jim Larranaga and he is frustrated that the Hurricanes are not afforded the fawning that North Carolina and Duke receive. He has a point. The case for Miami as an ACC contender is strong, and yet there is plenty of reason for skepticism. The Hurricanes have spent a lot of time looking good on paper, but not nearly enough time winning on the court (particularly in the postseason). Injuries, coaching changes, and extenuating circumstances have always offered an excuse for Miami, but this year, there is nothing left to do but prove it. Miami is capable of winning the ACC championship this season, but they have to do it on the court.
  5. Fayetteville Observer: This is the time of year when coaches are always talking up their players. It’s as reliable as the turning of the leaves, the shortening of the days, and the sure fall chill that creeps into the air. So maybe it’s best not to read too much into what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has to say about Alex Murphy, but it’s getting fairly impossible to ignore: Murphy has the look and build of the second coming of Kyle Singler, offering his coach a similar rangy forward skill set that will let Duke stretch the floor without playing small on the defensive end. Whether or not Murphy matches Singler’s undeniable skill, he should at least be able to fit a little more neatly into some of the plays and sets designed for the former NCAA Tournament MOP.
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