ACC M5: 10.24.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 24th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Run the Floor: Michael Rogner brings a fresh look at the NCAA punishments for Miami by comparing the school’s case and response directly with that of Saint Mary’s. As you might expect, the violations are not comparable in the least. The punishments? I’ll let Rogner’s piece speak for itself. For a little more context that likely led to these discrepancies, we have you covered. Not a great look for the NCAA.
  2. Daily Orange: The bigger TV money apparently wasn’t everything. Syracuse has already reportedly exceeded the basketball tickets sold last year (or any year in the past two decades, for that matter). Football and other sports have also seen a boost. Part of this may be the novelty of it all, and some stars certainly aligned with the Orange being very good this year and hosting Duke. Maybe the increased excitement among fans is what has Jim Boeheim warming up to the ACC, although he still stresses holding the ACC Tournament in either New York or Washington, DC.
  3. Washington Post: Maryland freshman Damonte Dodd sounds like a piece of what looks to be an incredible Big Ten frontcourt at Maryland in a year or two. Mark Turgeon touted him as an “energy guy,” but his athleticism should turn that energy into great skill. With Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell also showing lots of promise in the post, Turgeon may have an embarrassment of riches should all three stay in College Park for a while and continue developing.
  4. ESPN: Eamonn Brennan wants everyone to get ready for the new-look Duke team this year. Unlike many coaches, Coach K adapts his teams to fit his personnel. Combine his flexibility with his recruiting and you understand why Duke has been so consistently good the last 30 years. This year’s Blue Devil team is a very different one from last year: It’s younger, more athletic, and perimeter-oriented. I’m guessing (hoping) that means a high-tempo, in-your-face defense, though we won’t know until the season starts. While you’re over at the Worldwide Leader, check out John Gasaway’s ACC team previews. (Clemson is free!)
  5. Richmond Times-Dispatch: Speaking of those ESPN previews, Gasaway picked Virginia second in the league behind Duke. It’s easy to forget how good Tony Bennett’s team was last season, although the Cavaliers were offensively limited outside of Joe Harris. This year Harris expects the team to be much more balanced, which is bad news for opponents if it is true. A healthy Mike Tobey would add another potent, hard-to-guard offensive weapon. The biggest challenge facing the Cavaliers is finding someone to run the offense without turning the ball over this season.
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The ACC in the NIT: Previewing Maryland vs. Iowa

Posted by KCarpenter on April 2nd, 2013

Raise your hand if you had Maryland as the last ACC team still playing basketball in April. Sure, the Terrapins are only playing in the NIT, but for Mark Turgeon’s crew that means something. In Maryland’s most recent win against Alabama, the team showed flashes of the talent that many had predicted for it headed into the season. Specifically, Alex Len, who has disappeared for long stretches during the season, dominated the Crimson Tide on his way to a 15-point, 13-rebound and five-block performance to lead his team to a one-point win. The inconsistent Maryland that muddled its way through the conference schedule seems to have mostly disappeared. It’s a good thing too, because Iowa, the Terps’ next foe tonight in Madison Square Garden, is a bit of a ringer.

Alex Len, Maryland

Alex Len is Playing Good Basketball Again (AP Photo)

According to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, the Hawkeyes currently rate as the 21st best team in the country, largely on the basis of its 19th-ranked defense (Maryland ranks 48th and 33rd, respectively). By these measures, Iowa is head and shoulders above its NIT fellows, and easily the best team to not make the NCAA Tournament this season.  Like Maryland, Iowa sometimes struggles to shoot the ball consistently, but it plays such tough defense and rebounds so tenaciously that poor shooting is unlikely to sink the Hawkeyes. Unfortunately for the Terps, one of their greatest strengths is vulnerable to Iowa.

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Rushed Reactions: Maryland 83, Duke 74

Posted by mpatton on March 15th, 2013

rushedreactions

Matt Patton is an RTC correspondent and an ACC microsite writer. He filed this report after tonight’s Maryland-Duke game from the ACC Tournament in Greensboro.

Three Key Takeaways:

Ryan Kelly didn't magically fix Duke's defense.

Ryan Kelly didn’t magically fix Duke’s defense.

  1. Maryland’s offense is fine*: That disclaimer is provided if the Terrapins hit open shots. Maryland torched Duke most of the night, knocking down shot after shot. Duke deserves much of the blame for faulty rotations and miscommunications, but many of Maryland’s struggles this season have come from its inability to take advantage of the opportunities teams present to them. As a team Maryland went 40% (8-of-20) from three and a crisp 23-of-25 from the free throw line. Also Maryland had fewer turnovers than Duke (something that only happened three times in 18 conference games). That’s how to hold onto a lead — especially late in the game. The game wasn’t without mistakes, but those mistakes were far less prominent than usual.
  2. Ryan Kelly didn’t magically fix Duke’s defense: A popular narrative the past two weeks or so is that Ryan Kelly fixed Duke’s issues on defense, but that’s not true. Dez Wells showed that an athletic player with the ability to knock down shots and penetrate can still wreak havoc on Duke’s defense. It wasn’t just Duke’s inability to stay in front of Maryland that was the problem, though. Duke also rotated poorly and when help defense did come, it was often ineffective. Unfortunately because of the small sample size of Duke’s recent games with Ryan Kelly, it’s hard to tell if this game was an anomaly or a crack in the foundation. Duke’s defense is better than this showing (teams aren’t typically going to shoot 92% from the free throw line), but it’s also a cause of concern looking towards the Big Dance.
  3. Freshman poise: Freshmen for both teams played very well for their first time on the ACC Tournament stage. For Maryland, Mark Turgeon got very valuable minutes from Jake Layman, Charles Mitchell, Shaquille Cleare and Seth Allen. They didn’t score tons of points, but all contributed in other ways. Layman in particular was instrumental in guarding Ryan Kelly (who finished 3-of-11 from the floor) for most of the night. Layman also sneakily led the game in rebounding. On Duke’s side, Rasheed Sulaimon kept the Blue Devils in the gym during the first half. He was the only aggressive Duke player, finishing the half with 12 points in 15 minutes. Surprisingly, Mike Krzyzewski sat Sulaimon for the first five minutes of the second half.

Star of the Game: Dez Wells, hands down. As Dave Telep pointed out late in the game, Wells is from Raleigh and never got much interest from Duke. Whether or not that was the reason, Wells played like a man possessed, going 9-of-13 from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line for 30 points to go with six boards and three assists. Duke couldn’t stop him and every time Maryland needed a bucket, he stepped up big. He’s carried Maryland in both of its ACC Tournament games.

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Rushed Reactions: Maryland 72, Clemson 59

Posted by IRenko on February 23rd, 2013

rushedreactions

I. Renko is an RTC correspondent based in D.C. and the author of the weekly column, The Other 26. He filed this report after Saturday afternoon’s game between Maryland and Clemson. Follow him on Twitter @IRenkoHoops.

Three key takeaways:

  • Maryland’s Tournament Hopes Are Alive — Last weekend’s win over Duke gave the Terps’ Tournament hopes a big boost, but a letdown loss at Boston College on Tuesday left them on the thinnest of ice. A loss to Clemson at home would have been a big blow, and it seemed a real possibility when the Tigers pulled to within a point just after halftime. But a 21-6 run gave the Terps a comfortable 16-point cushion with 11:20 to play, and from there, they eased to a comfortable 13-point win, keeping their Tournament hopes alive. While acknowledging his team’s somewhat slow start, head coach Mark Turgeon was quite happy with the Terps’ second-half performance, crediting their defense even more than their offense for enabling them to take control.
  • Maryland’s Freshman Frontcourt May Be Its Future — Sophomore Alex Len has been the focus of the media’s attention for most of the year, but Maryland’s freshmen frontcourt shows signs of being a real force for years to come. Jake Layman, Charles Mitchell, and Shaquille Cleare were averaging just 5.2, 5.5, and 4.2 points coming into today’s game, but they scored 12, 8, and 10 respectively today. More than that, they showed a certain kind of maturity and poise that belied their status as freshmen. The 6′ 8″ Layman is a swing forward with the athleticism, quickness, and shooting touch to play on the perimeter. He has been a full-time starter since late January, and the confidence and skill he displayed against Clemson show why. Mitchell and Cleare are a pair of big bodies who are still refining their post moves, but are strong finishers and rebounders who use their bulk to great effect. They added 6 and 7 boards apiece today and were a big reason Maryland was able to dominate the paint against a typically stout Clemson defense. Their physicality will suit the Terps well when they make the transition to the Big Ten.
  • Clemson’s Offense Is In A Deep Funk — The Tigers have a strong defense, as they showed in taking Miami the distance last week in a 45-43 loss. But their offense has struggled and especially badly of late. This was the fifth straight game in which they scored less than a point per possession. For a team that is likely looking forward to next season already, the news gets worse — two of their three leading scorers, Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, graduate this year. That leaves a heavy load for K.J. McDaniels, who managed seven points against Maryland, and Jordan Roper, who scored a very inefficient 13 points on 5-of-15 FG shooting.

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ACC M5: 01.30.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 30th, 2013

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  1. Basketball Prospectus: So how good has Miami been? So far this season, the Hurricanes are an average 0.21 points per possession (PPP) better than their conference opponents (the Duke game helped a lot on this front). For those of you not mathematically inclined, that’s equivalent to a point lead in every five possessions.  That’s the third best mark for a power-conference team behind Florida’s gaudy 0.43 (which will come down) and Michigan’s 0.24 PPP. Miami has the best defense in the league by a decent margin to go with a serviceable offense. The Hurricanes’ secret? Insanely good field goal percentage numbers and good rebounding.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: It’s pretty obvious Duke is a different team without Ryan Kelly, but his injury may have some positive side effects. For one, Amile Jefferson is really starting to develop, which probably wouldn’t have happened until next season without the recent extra playing time. Also Duke is changing its offense, namely running more set plays to get people open. Both should prove very useful when Kelly returns. Duke would be able to throw very different offensive looks at opponents and won’t have to settle for Josh Hairston’s limited offensive repertoire (though don’t look for his minutes to disappear completely).
  3. Fayetteville Observer: For pretty much everyone but Miami, the road has been tough on ACC teams. Take out the Hurricanes and the league is 8-30 in road games (with Duke still searching for its first win). Duke‘s biggest issue is that it played its hardest two road games first. I don’t agree that it’s an experience thing, unless Coach K means experience playing without Ryan Kelly. The Blue Devils don’t have Miami’s aggregate age across the lineup, but they do start two seniors and this mostly shows that the ACC is very competitive. There’s just not a lot separating the teams in the middle of the pack or even at the top of the league right now (discounting the Hurricanes, of course).
  4. NBC Sports: Virginia Tech’s Erick Green is shining this season, but unfortunately his teammates in Blacksburg aren’t. He’s leading the country in scoring right now, but Green isn’t a new Terrell Stoglin. He’s surrounded by competent but passive players who can’t seem to find the bottom of the net. Cadarian Raines and Jarrell Eddie, especially Eddie, should make a decent scoring backcourt. But Raines has only added half a point to his average from last season in a much bigger role, and Eddie can only do so much. Add in zero depth, and there’s good reason for Green to take as many shots as he does. For Virginia Tech to win, he needs his teammates to join the offensive cause. Green knows it and wants to win more than anything, but if his supporting cast keeps up its current pace, he’ll have to settle for scoring.
  5. Maryland Diamondback: It’s too bad Charles Mitchell will be leaving the ACC with the Terrapins because he’s incredible to watch. He’s a more in-shape Reggie Johnson with plenty of opportunity to condition himself next offseason. If there’s a shot missed, it’s a good bet Mitchell will come down with it. He combines a massive frame, good instincts and superb hustle to rack up boards like no one’s business. He also showed some pretty strong post moves against Duke. Assuming Mark Turgeon can convince him to stay around College Park for four years, Maryland has a real asset for the future in the post.
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ACC M5: 01.29.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 29th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Austin American Statesman: The newest news in conference realignment is tentatively good. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby mentioned that his league is looking into an “alliance” with the ACC and two other conferences “for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships.” If the last point comes to fruition, conference expansion may as a result slow down significantly. Essentially the Big 12 and ACC could act like a super-conference to keep from devouring each other. Obviously, this is a long way off, but it’s nice to get some news for once that isn’t pointing towards more expansion.
  2. State of the U: Miami got some much deserved love, moving up to #14 in the latest AP poll. But the Hurricanes still have a weird profile. Their early losses (marred by injuries and suspension) get plenty of press, but this team still also beat Boston College by one point (on the road). Every team is entitled to an off night (especially in the game before playing Duke and Florida State), but it’s not invincible either. Miami has experience and talent on its side. It has a great, proven coach. But it’s not as good as its last two wins, nor as bad as its first two losses. As an interesting aside, Miami is looking very similar to Florida State last year.
  3. Washington Post: After its 20-point loss to Duke, Charles Mitchell and Mark Turgeon disagreed on the Terrapins’ primary issue. Mitchell said the problem was offense; Turgeon said it was defense. I’m going to go ahead and agree with Turgeon, at least with respect to the first half. That was by far the best offensive showing I’d seen from Maryland (against a decent opponent) since the Kentucky game. Sure, the Terrapins didn’t get into their offensive sets a lot, but they cleaned up on second-chance points and hit threes. Also noted: Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare are going to be special players later in their careers.
  4. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Andy Glockner estimated that Virginia cost itself around 30 spots in the RPI just in its loss to Old Dominion. That will become less and less important as conference play continues, but the Cavaliers still have two problems: (1) with a non-conference schedule that bad, they really need to shine in conference play and they’ve already lost to Wake Forest; (2) they only play Duke, Miami and NC State a total of three times. The mixed news is that the RPI doesn’t care who you beat (directly), only total winning percentages, meaning that the Cavaliers will help their RPI a lot just by playing those three schools (winning would help more). The good news is that it means there are a lot of winnable road games on Tony Bennett’s conference schedule. Road wins will be how Virginia climbs back up to an overall RPI ranking where it’s reasonable to talk about them again (see, Miami).
  5. NC State Technician: Seeing this blog’s name, it’s only fair to comment on court-rushing articles. Jeniece Jamison falls into the category of conservative court-rusher. She critiques two recent college stormings: La Salle after beating Butler, and Maryland after beating NC State. The first I would have whole-heartedly supported: How many times is La Salle going to play and beat a top-10 opponent at home? Not very often. That’s a major accomplishment for most schools. As for the latter, I’ll head back her way. Maryland — unlike LaSalle — is a program with a recent national title. There’s a good argument that Terrapin fans should stay in their seats, as NC State isn’t a close rival or even one of the top few teams in the country. But, the Terrapins needed a win and got it in dramatic last-second fashion, so it’s tough to be too critical.
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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekly Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on January 28th, 2013

What do you take away from an ACC weekend full of blowouts? Sure, Clemson only beat Virginia Tech by seven points, but the next most closely contested game was North Carolina State’s eight-point win over North Carolina, a score that hides how dominant the Wolfpack looked for long stretches of the game. Still, a team can reveal just as much about themselves in a lopsided tilt as in a closely contested contest. So let’s look at what we learned.

Georgia Tech Got in the Win Column Over the Weekend

Georgia Tech Got in the Win Column Over the Weekend

  1. Georgia Tech Might Not Be The Worst Team In The Conference. Just when you thought you had them pegged, Georgia Tech has to go and win a game to tie Boston College for worst team in the conference. Of course, Georgia Tech’s first win came against lowly Wake Forest, but then again BC’s only conference win was against Virginia Tech. So who is the front-runner for standings bottom-dweller? It probably actually isn’t Georgia Tech. A lot of the Yellow Jackets’ floundering has to do with their schedule: Three of their five games have been against the best three teams in the conference (Miami, Duke, and NC State). One of their losses was an overtime loss to Virginia Tech and the other was a road loss to North Carolina. Outside of some bad luck against the Hokies, Georgia Tech is playing up to expectations.  Fortunately, the schedule gets a little bit easier as the season rolls on and Tech will have plenty of chances to prove they can win. For what it’s worth, Ken Pomeroy’s system of Pythagorean projections has the Yellow Jackets as only the fifth worst team in the conference.
  2.  Erick Green Is A Machine, But It Doesn’t Matter. Virginia Tech is the worst team in the conference per Ken Pomeroy’s projections and it’s a shame. Despite all the tough losses — including this weekend’s defeat to Clemson — Erick Green has been playing sensationally. He plays hard and puts 25 points up each night and yet his team can’t give him any support. Green is running away with the league’s scoring title, averaging 25.2 PPG, while his next closest competitor, Mason Plumlee, is averaging 17.4 PPG. Green is the most efficient scorer on the list of top scorers too — he’s been excellent at just about everything he does this season. He’s easily been the best guard in the conference, but his team has just been dreadful. At the end of regulation, Virginia Tech has only finished ahead of their opponents once — beating Wake Forest by one point. The Hokies ended up winning another game in overtime against Georgia Tech by a more respectable five points, but I bring this up to emphasize how shaky Virginia Tech’s two conference wins have been despite Green’s brilliance. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC M5: 11.26.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 26th, 2012

  1. CBS Sports: In the wake of Maryland‘s defection to the Big Ten, the main focus of speculation is what the ACC’s counterstroke will be. According to those in the know, the vote to pick a replacement for the departing Terps could happen as early as this week. The two leading candidates for replacement are Louisville and Connecticut. Both schools offer a few distinct advantages over the other. Louisville’s reasonable success in football is a big draw when football is the raison d’etre of realignment, while UConn’s academic profile more closely aligns with the Atlantic Coast Conference. A successful football program is a powerful draw, but considering that membership is decided by a vote of university presidents, the importance of academics as a deciding factor should not be overlooked.
  2. NBC Sports: There are embarrassing losses and then there are embarrassing losses, and sadly, Boston College has not been a stranger to either variety in recent years. Sunday’s loss to Bryant University, a school enjoying its very first year as a full Division I member, falls into the latter category. BC is only 2-4 to start the season, although the Eagles have admittedly played a more challenging schedule than many of their conference peers. That said, a home loss to Bryant is a troubling sign.  Head Coach Tim O’Shea accidentally backhanded the Eagles with his postgame comments: “Five years ago, the biggest game on Bryant’s schedule was Bentley. Five years later, we’ve just beaten Boston College on the road. It’s a big deal.”
  3. Testudo Times: A Maryland team that was decimated by defections found some extra depth in a recent win over Georgia Southern. The sterling play of freshman Charles Mitchell continued as he contributed a double-double off the bench with fellow freshman Shaquille Cleare adding a double-figure scoring effort. An additional double-figure scoring effort by transfer guard Logan Aronhalt — who went 4-4 from beyond the arc — demonstrated that the Terrapins have more firepower on the bench than expected. With Mark Turgeon happy to keep his starters on the bench while the reserves performed, it’s easy to wonder if the starting lineup may undergo some revisions over the course of the next few games.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: The ACC / Big Ten Challenge kicks off Tuesday evening and this year, the event has a little extra spice. Between the still-open wound of Maryland leaving one conference for the other, the allure of a top-five showdown between Duke and Ohio State is appealing, as is a chance for a perplexing North Carolina team to take a shot at an increasingly vulnerable looking Indiana squad. After a 10-year run of victories, the ACC has lost the past three years. Say what you will about realignment, but it sure makes these interconference events feel a little more exciting.
  5.  Basketball Prospectus: One more item on the topic of conference realignment: Why does it happen? Well, as Maryland so ably and honestly demonstrated: it’s the money. Using a clever analogy with pro sports, John Gasaway proposes a novel (or at least freshly recycled) idea on how to make conferences significantly more stable: revenue sharing across all of the major conferences. It’s an interesting thought, and one that merits some additional examination.
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Alex Len’s Coming Out Party Nearly Spoils Kentucky’s Title Defense Debut

Posted by EJacoby on November 9th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. He filed this report from the Kentucky-Maryland game tonight in Brooklyn. You can find him @EJacobyRTC on Twitter. 

We assumed it was nearly impossible for Kentucky to repeat the kind of immediate, dominant success it had last season with a brand new crop of young players this year. For the first half of their season-opening game against Maryland on Friday night, though, the Wildcats came out on fire and efficient on both ends en route to opening a 15-point lead just minutes into the second half in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But it didn’t take long for the inconsistency, poor decision-making, and defensive mistakes that are typical of freshmen players to crop up for John Calipari’s team, which opened the door for Maryland to make a run in front of a very pro-Terrapin crowd. Led by emerging sophomore center Alex Len, the Terps went on a 15-0 second half run and eventually took the lead before seesawing to a tough, 72-69 loss. Len was the catalyst on both ends for Maryland’s near-upset, as the sophomore seven-footer finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks — all game-highs. He shot 10-18 from the field and committed zero turnovers. Despite failing to capitalize with a monster non-conference victory, Maryland and its fans must feel confident about this season’s outlook on the heels of Len’s dominant opening performance.

Alex Len nearly led his Maryland team to a big-time upset win over Kentucky on Friday night (Maryland 247 Sports photo)

The big sophomore showed flashes of greatness last season for Maryland, but he did not put together any dominant performances that could propel Mark Turgeon’s team to big wins. The center from the Ukraine recorded six total games in double-figure scoring last year, and none after February 4. He averaged 4.1 points per game in his final 10 games and amassed just one double-double all season. Tonight was a completely different story, as Len looked much more polished in the paint with offensive moves, finishes at the rim, rebounding prowess, and strong defensive positioning. Len turned national consensus #1 recruit Nerlens Noel of Kentucky into an afterthought, dominating the freshman in the paint as well as beating him down the floor in transition on multiple occasions. Noel had just four points on 2-6 shooting to match his nine rebounds and three blocks. If not for the unlikely late-game heroics of former Kentucky walk-on Jarrod Polson, who scored 10 points tonight after recording a total of seven previous points in his career, the Terps could have left Barclays Center with a defining victory.

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ACC M5: 11.05.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 5th, 2012

  1. Fayetteville Observer: The paper has unveiled a nice collection of articles and stories previewing the coming basketball season in the ACC, but my favorite is this listing of “under the radar” players. The list includes those who may not have the fame or star power (yet) of some of their contemporaries, but will nonetheless make a difference this season. The list is a blend of freshmen and players coming off seasons spent on the bench due to injury (Olivier Hanlan of Boston College is an example of the former and Julian Gamble at Miami illustrates the latter), but also highlights a few players who may be poised to grab your attention, notably Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia and K.J. McDaniels from Clemson.
  2. CBS Sports: No list of coaches on the hot seat would be complete without Jeff Bzdelik, the coach of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While Bzdelik’s tenure in Winston-Salem has been filled with all sorts of complicating factors and problems, the fact remains that Wake Forest fans ultimately expect their team to win. After two miserable years of life at the bottom of the conference, this is a pivotal year for the program. Though Bzdelik will rely heavily on freshmen this season, Wake’s record needs to improve if the coach wants to keep his job.
  3. Testudo Times: Exhibition games are often fairly meaningless, but that doesn’t stop college basketball fans from trying to see if they can learn something about their team from them. Ben Broman looks at how Maryland performed in an exhibition against Indiana University (PA) and walks away with some interesting observations. Notably, the strong performances by freshmen Seth Allen and Charles Mitchell were unexpected and clear highlights, while mediocre performances by Alex Len and James Padgett offered reasons for concern. Clearly Terrapin fans were hoping for more polished and refined play from their returning frontcourt, but Mitchell’s voraciousness on the glass (15 rebounds in only 18 minutes) and Allen’s poise, ball-handling, and playmaking suggest that the incoming freshman class might make a big difference for Maryland.
  4. Wilmington Star News: Mason Plumlee is once again ready to be a featured part of this year’s Duke team. The ultra-athletic power forward come to Durham as a clear NBA lottery pick filled with talent, yet over the course of a mostly excellent college career he has failed to string together consistent performances, often vanishing at key moments. Now a senior, Plumlee is looking at a final chance to take a leading role on a team that has been largely perimeter-oriented in recent years. While there is some mention of how Duke’s lack of a featured true point guard in recent years has relegated the forward to supporting role status, Plumlee is optimistic about Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook playing a more traditional distribution role.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: Down Tobacco Road, North Carolina has it’s eye on not a senior but a freshman big man. Joel James, however, is not the typical UNC freshman post player. While recent seasons have showcased the acumen of UNC’s strength and training staff in turning post players who look more like “posts” than “players” into more muscular athletes ready to bang down low (see: Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and yes this year’s version, Brice Johnson), James arrived at Chapel Hill as big as any freshman in recent memory.  At 6’10” and somewhere around 265 pounds, James offers true center size and muscle. Though relatively inexperienced as a basketball player, the coaches seem to be bullish on James and it looks like he may start his career as, well, a starter.
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ACC M5: 10.15.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on October 15th, 2012

  1. CBS Sports: Florida State‘s next recruiting class is getting better and better by the day. Jarquez Smith, a 6’9″ forward with perimeter skills, will join Xavier Rathan-Mayes as the early crown jewels of the Seminoles’ next recruiting class. While Smith doesn’t quite have the reputation of Rathan-Mayes, as a rangy forward with serious defensive and shot-blocking chops, he is in many ways the prototypical Leonard Hamilton player. An excellent fit and an even better get for Florida State.
  2. Daily Press: Though it isn’t as splashy as the Seminoles’ move, the Hokies have quietly been putting together a solid class of their own. On Sunday, Ben Emelogu, a scoring wing with excellent size, committed to Virginia Tech. Emelogu joins Maurice Kirby, a slender center who committed on Friday. While both players don’t quite have the prestige of highly-ranked recruits, they both figure to help a Virginia Tech team that will be trying to find a new identity after the departure of former coach Seth Greenberg.
  3. Fayetteville Observer:  “Primetime With The Pack,” the appropriately titled event that marks the beginning of North Carolina State‘s basketball season, came to an abrupt close when Scott Wood‘s grandfather collapsed and had to be carried out on a stretcher. The scrimmage was cut short with a few minutes left. According to a message on Scott Wood’s Twitter account, his grandfather appears to be doing better after receiving some fluids. A strange end to an event that had an even stranger beginning with coach Mark Gottfried being somewhat inexplicably lowered from the ceiling.
  4. Washington Post: The renaming of the beginning of basketball season is surely complete when the inventors of Midnight Madness abandon the name. They are calling it Maryland Madness in the place where Lefty Driesell once invented Midnight Madness. Still, despite the change in name, the event had plenty of highlights, including some new looks by a few of the big men. Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell showed off the weight loss that will make the big men a little more agile. Of course, not to be undone, the giant bruiser Alex Len showed off his newfound range by draining a step-back three-pointer. If that wasn’t an incredible enough sight, the event also featured the team dancing to Gangnam Style. There is apparently a lot of that going around.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: At Chapel Hill, the evening practice kick-off went as it usually does, but the event had a different tone as most of the gathered fans reserved their loudest cheers for coach Roy Williams, who is still recovering from the surgical removal of a benign kidney tumor. Earlier Friday, Williams, along with George Karl and a few other North Carolina legends held a fundraising breakfast for cancer research, an annual tradition since Williams’ return to Chapel Hill.   The event, a more somber precursor to the antics that were to come later that evening, raised around $150,000 to fight this disease.
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ACC M5: 10.11.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 11th, 2012

  1. Fredericksburg Star: Virginia didn’t wow anyone last season with its athleticism. However, incoming freshman Justin Anderson may. The 6’6″, 226 pound freshman has all of the physical tools to be a great player in the ACC. Anderson, along fellow freshmen Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey will have to master Tony Bennett’s pack-line defensive strategy if they hope to see much time on the court this season. Bennett’s strategy is good at hiding athletic disadvantages, but the more athletic lockdown defenders he puts on the wing, the more effective Virginia’s already stifling defense will be.
  2. Washington Post: Alex Prewitt jotted down some “nuggets” from Maryland‘s media day that are pretty revealing. Literally speaking Prewitt noted the offseason weight changes for most of the Terrapin roster. Notably, Nick Faust and Alex Len both added much needed bulk (30 pounds!) which should help both be more effective on the boards. James Padgett also bulked up pretty substantially. On the other side of the scale, Pe’Shon Howard, Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell all lost significant weight. More figuratively, Prewitt’s anecdotes painted a picture of a team with a lot more chemistry than Maryland seemed to have last season. Maybe Cleare and Seth Allen are just more outgoing, but it certainly sounds much more comfortable than the team did last year.
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: Speaking of newcomers, Wake Forest has a boatload. There are seven self-proclaimed “Baby Deacs” joining Jeff Bzdelik in Winston-Salem this year. Bzdelik is putting some real pressure on the newcomers, saying, “I need them to perform now. I don’t want [youth] to be an excuse or a crutch for our young guys.” Part of his urgency may be a his seat heating up after two incredibly lackluster seasons (to be kind). With Travis McKie and CJ Harris back and the strong incoming class, the Demon Deacons will be much more talented across the board this season. However, despite Bzdelik’s insistence, nothing makes up for experience.
  4. Associated Press (via ACC Sports Journal): Clemson lost top scorers Andre Young and Tanner Smith to graduation. Last season the story read the same way, with Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt leaving. This year, Brad Brownell needs Devin Booker (ACC phenom Trevor Booker’s younger brother) to increase his consistency and Milton Jennings to tap into his McDonald’s All-American potential. Both players have the talent, but neither has shown the ability to lead night in and night out. That consistency has to improve for Clemson to have a successful season.
  5. ESPN.com: Dave Telep reported that Caleb and Cody Martin, twins out of Mocksville, North Carolina, will be joining NC State in 2014. The twins are just another example of Mark Gottfried working hard to get as much in-state talent as possible. This strategy certainly has a history of success, as North Carolina is one of the richest states in terms of its homegrown basketball talent. If Gottfried’s team has a good year this year and CJ Leslie goes in the lottery, look for the Wolfpack to have continued recruiting significance. Gottfried is a very talented recruiter and success breeds more success.
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