ACC M5: 11.08.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 8th, 2012

  1. Inside Carolina: In the Roy Williams era, it hasn’t been too difficult for North Carolina to score. The combination of a brisk tempo and a humming offense has meant that Chapel Hill residents have gotten used to gaudy scores and the discounted biscuits that come when UNC scores over 100 during a home game. This year, however, it seems more likely that the team will derive more of its identity from defense. While John Henson and Tyler Zeller were great interior defenders, the perimeter defense of the Tar Heels was inconsistent at best last season. This year, with speedy Marcus Paige at the point and gifted defenders Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock on the wings, it seems likely that UNC could have one of the better perimeter defenses in the Roy Williams era.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: Down the road in Raleigh, North Carolina State is thinking about defense as well. Despite the lofty expectations that have been placed upon the Wolfpack, one of the easily spotted weaknesses for this team is defense. In Mark Gottfried’s first year, NCSU had a middling defense, and with the departure of paint protector DeShawn Painter and the ball-hawking tandem of C.J. Williams and Alex Johnson, there is concern that the defense could get worse. Still, the Wolfpack has been focusing on defense in practice, striving to improve in areas where the team fell short. C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell were often the cornerstones of NCSU’s interior defense last season, but both struggled to stay on the court due to foul trouble. Each is working on defending without fouling while maintaining the same intensity that served the team so well last year. Increased time on the court for either will do nothing but help North Carolina State become the elite team that many pundits are expecting.
  3. Washington Post: The immediate eligibility of Dez Wells is a story with a lot of big time basketball implications for the Maryland Terrapins. On a human level it’s a big story for Wells, his family, his mentor, his teammates, and the Maryland basketball family as they all stood by him and hoped for the best when things looked bleakest for Wells. Sexual assault is a heinous offense that is psychologically damaging to its victims in a way that few other crimes are. To be wrongfully accused of committing this crime and to lose your place at school and on your basketball team is a heavy load for a young man to carry. It’s hard not to be happy for Wells who seems to have found a new and supportive home in College Park. His newfound eligibility is really just the cherry on top.
  4. The Virginian-Pilot: James Johnson is the only rookie coach in the ACC this year, and his road will be far from easy as he tries to rebuild a Virginia Tech program that seemed permanently stuck just outside the NCAA Tournament under Seth Greenberg. The departure of Greenberg made things seem even more difficult as players transferred and recruits like Montrezl Harrell de-committed. The scary thing is that it could have been much worse. Erick Green, the senior star point guard of the Hokies, considered transferring away from Blacksburg as well but Johnson’s appointment (previously an assistant under Greenberg) to the head spot tipped the scales in favor of VT. Now the Hokies are going to try to enjoy a rebirth as an up-tempo team that complements a blistering, frantic attack with the determined inside presence of a now-healthy Cadarian Raines. Little is expected of Virginia Tech this season, but it sounds like Johnson and Green hope to surprise the rest of the ACC.
  5. Washington Times: Last year, Virginia had a watershed moment with coach Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers were respected as one of the toughest defenses in the nation and Mike Scott was garnering praise as a potential All-American. When Bennett left Washington State to take on the project of rebuilding Virginia, it was clear that this wouldn’t be an easy job with a quick solution. It’s somewhat surprising then that Bennett was able to talk Washington native Joe Harris into following him to the other side of the country to play for a rebuilding team. Entering his third year, however, Harris is poised to take a starring role on a team that is expected to again make plenty of noise in the conference. Harris has NBA size and skills and, in a featured role for Cavaliers (including some time at the point with Jontel Evans out), the sharpshooting guard will hopefully see some more of  the seeds of his and Bennett’s hard work blossom.
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ACC M5: 11.02.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 2nd, 2012

  1. Run the Floor: If recruiting means anything, the ACC is well on its way to regaining its place as top basketball conference in the land. Not counting the Big East defections (all of which will improve the quality of the conference), 17 of the 75 committed players in the ESPNU Top 100 will play in the ACC during their collegiate careers. Unlike the last few years, it’s not just Tobacco Road hauling in the five-star prospects: it’s Florida State capitalizing on the publicity following its ACC championship; it’s Georgia Tech and Maryland starting to tap into their bountiful recruiting homes; and it’s NC State regaining its place among the relevant.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: Luke DeCock and Caulton Tudor answered five burning questions about the ACC in this piece (albeit with a bit of a Tobacco Road tilt). The most interesting of the questions is whether ACC Tournament Friday can be saved. DeCock makes a very interesting suggestion: Leave lower bowl ticketing the same (tickets split between teams), but make the upper level general admission. Especially while the ACC Tournament is in Greensboro (and Duke, North Carolina and NC State are all relevant), the problem isn’t a shortage of fans. It’s a shortage of fans able of getting a handle on some tickets.
  3. Wilmington Star News: Speaking of NC State, CJ Leslie is ready to step up and lead this Wolfpack team. As a freshman, he had all of the ability in the world but often looked like a totally disinterested guy playing pick-up ball, choosing to troll the perimeter rather than get to work in the post. Down the stretch last season, Leslie found his groove. He used his athleticism to work over bigger defenders away from the basket and his height to frustrate smaller defenders. Based on his play at the end of last year, the biggest question about him coming out of high school — his maturity — is starting to look optimistic.
  4. Southern Maryland Online: After short stints playing overseas, former Maryland point guard Eric Hayes is coming back to College Park to try his hand at coaching. Hayes joined Mark Turgeon’s staff as a graduate assistant this season. His father was a very successful high school coach at Potomac High School for over two decades, which means Hayes spent his whole life looking at basketball through the eyes of a coach.
  5. The Heights: Austin Tedesco asked the question “Can [Boston College] be a new Duke?” And his very important point gets lost in the extreme nature of his question. His point boils down to the fact that a coach’s first real recruiting class’ success is very important in program building — meaning Ryan Anderson, Patrick Heckmann and Dennis Clifford will need to do well if Boston College is to improve significantly under Steve Donahue. However, the Duke comparison is a little more far-fetched for three simple reasons: (1) Duke had far more recent basketball success when Mike Krzyzewski took over over three decades ago; (2) Duke sits in a college basketball hotbed, both of local talent and local fandom; and (3) Coach K is a once-in-a-generation coach. Donahue may turn out to be an exceptional program builder, but to immediately compare him with the most successful coach in the modern era sets the bar unreasonably high.
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ACC Team Previews: NC State Wolfpack

Posted by ARowe on October 29th, 2012

Throughout the preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 teams. Today’s victim: the NC State Wolfpack.

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. To say that Mark Gottfried’s arrival as the NC State head basketball coach was enough to disrupt the forces behind the program’s motion is an understatement. From the time his tenure began, the attitude and aura surrounding the Wolfpack did a complete 180-degree turn. Gone was the subdued and listless Herb Sendek era, where the team flirted with success but could never conjure up the fire needed to overtake their blue blood neighbors. Also gone were the Sidney Lowe years, where excitement and potential reigned over actual results on the court.

Gottfried and his staff converted that potential into sheer kinetic energy by the end of the 2012 season. It might not have been an immediate shift, as NC State finished just above .500 in conference play and ended the regular season with 22 wins and 11 losses. They were one of the last teams selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament, celebrating like they’d never tasted success before in one of the greatest images in college basketball last year.

Just making the Tournament wasn’t enough for these newfound media darlings. They went on one of the more improbable runs in the postseason, toppling 6-seed San Diego State, 3-seed Georgetown and nearly taking out eventual national runner-up Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen. The momentum generated by that three-game run has carried over into this year, with the ACC coaches and media voting NC State as the favorite to win the league. Gottfried’s second Wolfpack team blends talented veterans led by Lorenzo Brown, CJ Leslie and Richard Howell with heralded freshmen Rodney Purvis and TJ Warren.

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ACC M5: 10.18.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on October 18th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: The media agree with the coaches. North Carolina State will enter the season tabbed as the number one team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The preseason poll, of course, came out in conjunction with the ACC’s Operation Basketball, a media event where coaches and players meet with the press and face some very early judgment from the fourth estate. The last time the media pegged the Wolfpack to win the conference, it was the 1974-75 season.  Also like the coaches, the media picked C.J. Leslie as the likely player of the year and Rodney Purvis as the preseason rookie of the year. Though I’m sure Mark Gottfried and the Wolfpack know they will have to earn these accolades, it still must feel good for Wolfpack fans to ease up on the “no one believes in us” mentality that has defined the team in the past few seasons.
  2. Sporting News: It’s not often that people can talk about how you have slimmed down and you still weigh 290 pounds, but that’s exactly what Miami’s Reggie Johnson has accomplished. The bulky center was over 300 pounds in the past few seasons, but he’s ready to face this campaign with more muscle and less pudge. Johnson’s sheer size has made him a force in the paint, but the addition of some muscle, strength, and agility means that one of the most physically imposing players in the league may have become quite a bit more dangerous. Johnson’s increased offensive prowess comes not just from physical improvements, but from a refinement in his skill set. Coach Jim Larranaga praises the ease with which Johnson finishes with either hand and notes, terrifyingly enough, that Johnson’s prowess at shooting the three may mean that the biggest center in the ACC might soon be hoisting bombs from deep.
  3. Daily Press: Of course, Operation Basketball is not just about the individual coaches, players, and teams, but about ACC basketball as a whole and the plans the member schools and the conference commissioner have for the future. As it often is, one of the hot topics was the potential location of the ACC Tournament. Though John Swofford was quick to point out that future tournament sites would probably be much in line with what the league has done in the past, there were some intriguing possibilities to the north and the south of the traditional conference stronghold of Greensboro. To the south, observers have noted that Orlando and Miami are likely candidates for a future tournament. To the north, the leading candidates seem to be Pittsburgh, Washington, DC,  and, somewhat surprisingly, Brooklyn. The newly completed Barclays Center is apparently, while not an official candidate for this round of site selection, a possibility that the league seems excited about.
  4. Washington Post: Though Operation Basketball is traditionally a day of easy optimism for most of the coaches in the conference, there is always the harsh reality that not every team can have a winning record. Sadly, Virginia Tech and new head coach James Johnson are more likely to end up on the bottom of the conference than near the top. Though the Hokies return a legitimate conference star in Erick Green, the team will only have eight scholarship players for the season, which is unfortunate considering that James Johnson favors a fast-paced offense and a pressure-focused defense. While both tactics are certainly workable for the Hokies, these tactics tend to be exhausting for players and are more typically executed by teams that count depth as a strength. It will be interesting to see how the somewhat mismatched available personnel and Johnson’s coaching style mesh in this coming season.
  5. Wilmington Star News: Typically, this is the time of the year when lots of stories about the increased leadership of this or that player is having a positive influence on the freshmen and underclassmen who are still learning the ropes. These stories tend to be really similar and, unfortunately, kind of run together. The clear winner of this year’s “veterans help rookies” genre is the tale of Wake Forest senior C.J. Harris and his 2002 Jeep. Apparently, only three players on this year’s WFU team have cars, meaning that the younger Demon Deacons are constantly bumming rides and borrowing teammates’ cars.  This is a silly detail, but one that’s much more interesting and humanizing than stories about seniors teaching freshmen the value of practice.
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ACC M5: 10.16.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on October 16th, 2012

  1. ESPN: The ACC coaches have submitted their preseason poll and the results are unsurprising: North Carolina State is the favorite to win the conference, with Tobacco Road rivals Duke and North Carolina rounding out the top three. While North Carolina State hasn’t won the regular season ACC title since 1989, it’s not a big surprise that the coaches like their chances this year. The coaches’ picks of C.J Leslie and Rodney Purvis, both Wolfpack players, for Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year respectively, is an easy explanation of the reason that so many of the conference’s coaches are big on NC State.
  2. Raleigh News and Observer: Duke started practice in an unusual venue yesterday. Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina played host to the Blue Devils as they practiced in front of a group of soldiers at the U.S. Army base. Mike Krzyzewski, of course, is a graduate of West Point and former Army captain. In addition to standard practice, the Duke team slept in the barracks Sunday night, got up for an early morning workout and run, and braved an obstacle course on the base.  It seems like it was a memorable experience for both the soldiers who got to watch and participate in the Duke practice as well as the players who got an inside look at the machinations of Fort Bragg.
  3. CBS Sports: On a more disappointing note, Marshall Plumlee, the youngest of the Plumlee brothers, has suffered a stress fracture in his foot. He’ll miss 6-8 weeks for Duke, and although he was not expected to be a major contributor to this year’s team, the obvious loss of depth and size inside is always something that gives coaches a cause for concern. Older brother Mason and Ryan Kelly will have to stay healthy themselves lest Duke become painfully thin on the interior over the first month of the season.
  4. Syracuse Online: The Orange have a verbal commitment from Chinonso Obokoh, a springy center from Rochester. Of course, while Syracuse continues to play in the Big East this season, their incoming move to the ACC means that Obokoh will become part of the first class of Syracuse basketball players that play their conference games solely in the Atlantic Coast Conference — still a strange thought. Obokoh joins highly-ranked gurd Tyler Ennis as the first two building blocks for Syracuse’s incoming class.
  5. NCAA: The governing organization of college basketball has issued a few new interesting guidelines for the upcoming season. These rules include an extra set of standards for correctly determining block/charge calls that seem to be aimed at making the offensive foul a bit harder to draw. The NCAA is also emphasizing coach and bench decorum with a set of explicit standards about what warrants a sportsmanship technical. In news sure to disappoint Roy Williams, “emphatically removing one’s coat” is specifically singled out as an inappropriate action. Perhaps, the implementation of  the new policy banning slippery floor decals will placate him?
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ACC Weekly Five: 08.14.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on August 14th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: NC State finished up its preseason trip to Spain with a 15-point win over CB Gran Canaria. The win means the Wolfpack head home undefeated. While Rodney Purvis couldn’t play as the NCAA reviews his eligibility, Lorenzo Brown was back from knee surgery sooner than expected and in time for all four games. CJ Leslie led all scorers with 19 in the final game and incoming freshman point guard Tyler Lewis finished with 14 points and eight assists. Probably more in response to the high expectations for this team, Mark Gottfried noted: “There were positive things even though we know we have a long way to go.”
  2. Speaking of preseason trips to Europe, Tony Bennett‘s squad is getting a head start too. The Cavaliers lost a heartbreaker with controversy to boot. Apparently, the scorekeeper gave AMW Team France an extra basket in the middle of a run that would eventually tie the game. To put things politely, Bennett wasn’t amused by the gaffe:

    “I understand when you come here, you’re going to get some questionable officiating — I can handle that — but what I don’t appreciate is when they take two points away from us. Two points in a game like that, that changes the whole game, and that’s frustrating, because we were there for the win, and that’s just not the way you do it. I don’t care if you’re international or in the States, you gotta keep the right score. But it’s a mistake, it was done, and I just want our guys to understand what the blueprint is for us to play competitive basketball.”

    Virginia went on to lose by four after a late run by AMW Team France.

  3. Associated Press: Important news out of Clemson this week. Tigers athletic director Terry Don Phillips announced he plans to retire next summer to enjoy more time with his wife. Phillips played an integral role in upgrading Clemson’s facilities and spearheaded the hiring of Brad Brownell (along with football coach Dabo Swinney). Keep an eye on names that pop up during the search process, as athletic directors are more important than most give them credit for — especially when it comes to rebuilding (or building in this case) programs like Brownell is trying to do.
  4. CBSSports.comCBS Sports drew some heat (along with plenty of page views) for its recent series “Critical Coaches” where they polled nearly 100 coaches on topics  like “Who is the most overrated coach in the country?” The answer? Roy Williams. Yep, the guy with two national titles in the last decade, to go with more conference championships than you can count with two hands between his time at Kansas and North Carolina. Jim Young of ACC Sports Journal has a thoughtful interpretation of the argument.
  5. Surprising no one, Coach K added another gold medal to his resume as Team USA took down Spain and the Gasol brothers in the Olympics last week. Krzyzewski announced this would be his final Olympics, leaving his Team USA record an astounding 62-1. Unfortunately his dry humor didn’t translate as well to the international game as his coaching abilities, as a media member apparently thought Krzyzewski was serious when he stays out till 6 AM, “drunk as a skunk” because Team USA doesn’t really need much coaching.

EXTRA: In weirder news, North Carolina forgot to scrub former two-sport star Julius Peppers’ transcript and made it visible to the public. Needless to say NC State fans on found the transcript and went to work researching to confirm it was a real transcript. It’s hard to tell exactly what the repercussions of this will be, but suffice to say North Carolina’s academic issues may go back much further than previously thought.

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ACC Summer Recess: NC State Wolfpack

Posted by mpatton on August 7th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: NC State.

Where They Stand Now

Mark Gottfried and Lorenzo Brown Have Big Expectations (AP Photo/E. Hyman)

The Wolfpack are still riding a wave of momentum from a Sweet Sixteen performance in Mark Gottfried‘s inaugural year. After perennially underperforming with alumnus Sidney Lowe at the helm and hearing the media blast the school for running off Herb Sendek, NC State’s administration made the switch to the former Alabama coach who matched Sendek’s best postseason performance in his first season on the job. Gottfried added structure, and his talented roster improved throughout the year showing flashes of true greatness thanks in large part to the maturation of CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown. But 2012’s postseason success makes the bar much higher in Raleigh — Jay Bilas even put the Wolfpack on top of his preseason ACC power rankings. The questions now are: How will the new pieces fit with the current roster, and can Brown and Leslie make the leap to consistently dominant players?

Who’s Leaving

Guards Alex Johnson and CJ Williams both graduated. Johnson played the role of sparkplug: He was good for at least one heat check three and a lot of hustle. He also appeared to be a vocal leader on the team, both from the court and the bench. Williams was a more significant offensive contributor, averaging 10.6 points per game on 50 percent shooting. His versatility on the wing will definitely be missed on the defensive end of the floor.

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Handicapping Next Season’s Best Big Ten/ACC Challenge Matchups

Posted by EJacoby on May 15th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

With the announcement of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule for next season, fans now have some important dates to circle on their calendars. The 14th annual competition between power conference heavyweights will take place on November 27 and 28 with all games televised on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU. Eight of the teams in competition are currently slotted in the RTC preseason Top 25, and there are several enticing matchups between big-time teams. Given that it’s mid-May, it’s far too early to break down the individual strategic matchups, but we’ll give you the best games to look forward to, and why. The Big Ten has won three consecutive challenges after the ACC was victorious in the first 10. Here’s what the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge presents us.

Last Season, Aaron Craft and Ohio State Punked Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (Getty Images/J. Robbins)

Prestige and Intrigue, North Carolina at Indiana (Nov. 27) – Two of the top five or six programs in college basketball history square off in the headline event of this challenge, and it’s going to be one of the biggest games of the non-conference season. North Carolina loses its four top players from last season, but don’t count out the Tar Heels next year. James Michael McAdoo returns along with a bevy of talented perimeter players in Reggie Bullock, Dexter Strickland, Marcus Paige, and Leslie McDonald. However, UNC has the task of playing in Bloomington against a Hoosiers squad that might be the top team in the country next season. With a lineup full of talented scorers and the experience of last season’s spotlight, Indiana will be a title contender and a strong favorite in this game. The battle between Cody Zeller and McAdoo inside is a matchup of perhaps the two most talented low post prospects in the country.

The Best of the Bunch, NC State at Michigan (Nov. 27) – While UNC at IU presents the greatest national intrigue, a game on the same night presents a better overall matchup. When NC State hits the floor at Michigan, we’ll be seeing two likely Top 10 teams meet with experienced talent. Lorenzo Brown against Trey Burke pits two of the nation’s best point guards going at it, with two different styles at the position. Tim Hardaway, Jr., and C.J. Leslie are each talented juniors for their respective teams that flirted with the NBA but are back to lead their contenders. Throw in strong recruiting classes for each squad and we’ve got a doozy. Lucky for the Big Ten, they once again have the home court advantage in this one.

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RTC 2012-13 Top 25: Post NBA Draft Deadline

Posted by KDoyle on May 1st, 2012

It’s never too early for these, right? We all love the debates, projecting who is too high or too low, and taking a closer look at the upcoming college hoops season — six months goes by quickly, promise. In quickly looking at the Top 25, one would surmise that having five of a team’s top players forgo the remainder of their college careers in favor of the NBA Draft would absolutely kill that team’s prospects for the upcoming season, but that is simply not the case for Kentucky. Last year’s National Champions check in at #2 in the Top 25, proving that John Calipari doesn’t rebuild, he reloads. It would not behoove us to let Kentucky steal the storyline, however, as Tom Crean’s Indiana Hoosiers are the top dog in what looks to be a banner upcoming year. In what was arguably the most exciting and high-flying game of last year’s Tournament, the Hoosiers fell to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen, but have nearly all the pieces back. Just two years ago this was a 12-20 team with no postseason experience, and now they are the top team in the land — according to our group of experts, at least. What a tremendous job Tom Crean has done. The usual Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…

Whether it is through an exceptional recruiting class, or an impressive finish to the 2011-12 season coupled with a strong nucleus returning, the following five teams surged upward—and for good reason:

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ACC Weekly Five: 04.24.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on April 24th, 2012

The ACC Microsite is back after a brief hiatus. It’s been a busy couple of weeks with NBA Draft announcements and the like. We’ll be cranking out season recaps and scouting reports over the next few weeks, but to get things started, here’s five stories from this week.

  1. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Virginia Tech got some bad news earlier when James Johnson, the Hokies’ associate head coach, resigned to take a position at Clemson. According to Johnson’s discussion with David Teel, the move wasn’t about money as much as it was about opportunity. That said, the biggest differences in Johnson’s new job at Clemson and his old job at Virginia Tech are his boss and his salary (which went up 33%).
  2. Washington Post: The biggest news came yesterday when Virginia Tech announced Seth Greenberg‘s termination. The news wasn’t hugely surprising, though it came at a horrible time and totally out of thin air. My biggest issue with the firing was the timing. The Hokies’ season was over six weeks ago — why wait this long to pull the trigger? The answer seems to lie in the above article. Jim Weaver cited staff turnover as the primary reason for letting Greenberg go, though that seems to point to Greenberg’s prickly persona — which almost certainly alienated members of his staff and the athletic department — as the culprit.
  3. Fox Sports Carolinas: CJ Leslie made a great decision to come back to NC State. Not only does his return make the Wolfpack the “on paper” team to beat in the ACC, but he wasn’t a first-round draft lock by any means. Not to say that earning a contract in summer league is something to be ashamed of, but it’s not the guaranteed money that he easily could be looking at with another strong season behind him.
  4. Washington Post: Speaking of retaining assistants, Maryland shelled out quite a bit of money to keep Mark Turgeon’s staff intact. Turgeon’s staff collectively made just shy of $860,000 last year. The assistants’ collective salary is more than the budget of seven of the eight athletic teams the Maryland athletic department decided to cut to help balance the budget this past year.
  5. Former Duke star Chris Carrawell will be sitting on the bench for the New Jersey Nets during the team’s last week of regular season action. Carrawell spent the season as an assistant coach on the Nets D-League team, the Springfield Armour. It looked like Carrawell was heading towards a spot on Duke’s coaching staff until Jeff Capel rejoined about a year ago, pushing everyone back a peg.
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Morning Five: 04.19.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 19th, 2012

  1. The top of the ACC might look a little different next season after C.J. Leslie announced that he would will return for his junior season at North Carolina State. An argument can be made that the return of Leslie, who would have been a borderline first round pick this year, could shift the balance of power in the ACC next season. We will always assume that Duke and North Carolina will be up there too, but both teams lose significant pieces from their teams and frankly Duke overachieved last year. With Leslie returning and a very solid freshman class coming in it does not seem that far-fetched that the Wolfpack could be considered the favorites in the ACC next season, which is something that we have not seen for a very long time.
  2. With most of the top incoming recruits committed the battle for the few remaining top recruits is heated and that certainly is the case for Tony Parker. The 6’9″ 280-pound high school senior has narrowed his list to Duke, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio State, and UCLA. Although reports earlier this week indicated that Parker was headed to UCLA, but Parker’s high school coach denies that anything has been set and will announce his decision on Monday. If Parker is indeed headed to UCLA, it could give the Bruins a legitimate argument for the top class in the country. Of course, it would also lead to plenty of Josh Smith jokes (you can figure those ones out yourself).
  3. For much of the past year we have been keeping an eye on Connecticut‘s 2013 APR ban and their eventual failed appeal. For the most part we ignored the similar plight of Toledo, but now the Rockets will be joining the Huskies on the sideline as they will also be banned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament due to their low APR scores. Obviously Toledo’s absence will be much less noticeable than Connecticut’s (primarily because they probably would not have made it even if they were eligible). Toledo seems to be holding out hope that the NCAA will allow them to count their 2011-12 APR score which would allow them to sneak over the low threshold. UNC-Wilmington appears to be in a similar situation. Since the NCAA did not grant an exemption to Connecticut we are not sure how the NCAA would let them get away with that now.
  4. With Johnny Jones having left to take over at LSU the administration at North Texas has been looking for his replacement. However, unlike many schools they do not appear to be in a hurry to name his replacement. According to the school’s athletic director they are looking at a variety of potential replacements including a current assistant coach at the school, a few fairly big-name former coaches, and a few other assistants. The school claims that it plans on having made a decision within the next ten days so it should be not too long until they have a coach, but we would not expect anything in the next few days.
  5. Frequent readers of this site are aware that we rarely talk about women’s college basketball and when we do it is for a major issue. This one definitely qualifies. Just a year after she revealed that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Pat Summitt has given up her title as head coach at Tennessee. Summitt will have the title of Head Coach Emeritus that allows her to come to practices and participate in on-campus recruiting, but the team’s actual head coach will be Holly Warlick. We are not a women’s college basketball site or we would have probably devoted the next week to posts about Summitt so we will sum it up with this: 1,098 wins, 38 seasons, 18 Final Fours, and 8 National Championships. Greatest women’s college basketball coach ever.
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ACC Morning Five: 04.04.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on April 4th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: Want to know every NCAA tournament game refereed by an ACC official? Well Luke DeCock is your man. He tracked the top 14 conference officials with all of their games from the Big Dance. Les Jones and Jamie Luckie both made it to New Orleans (Roger Ayers was an alternate). The NCAA Tournament is also a tournament for officials, with the league trimming down the officials each round. For the record Karl Hess made it all the way through the Phoenix regional.
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Tony Parker is a bit of a mystery. Every time it seems like Duke is out of the mix, Mike Krzyzewski will go out of his way to go see Parker and another school will take a step back. This time it’s Kansas moving backwards, as Danny Manning (Parker’s primary recruiter) is going to Tulsa. Thad Matta also missed on an opportunity to go see Parker because he was coaching in the Elite 8. Coach K may be able to overcome Parker’s knock (that Duke struggles to develop big men) by process of elimination and sheer resilience.
  3. Wilmington Star-News: It’s a photo gracing more and more articles on Wake Forest basketball. What should have been a very promising offseason took a turn for the worse as the Jeff Bzdelik era transfer count climbed to eight with Tony Chennault, Carson Desrosiers and Anthony Fields announcing their intentions to leave Winston-Salem. I don’t need to tell you that Bzdelik should be on a short leash. He’s got a promising class coming in. But if he’s in the bottom tier of the ACC again, he may not get a chance to develop those guys.
  4. ACC Sports Journal: Barry Jacobs looks at the ACC season through some numbers, highlighting everything from declining scoring margin and Kendall Marshall‘s assists amongst other topics. This was the first time in the past 15 years the ACC wasn’t significantly above the national scoring average (the conference scored 68.5 points a game compared to the nation’s 68 points). Obviously some of this decline is a part of the national trend, some is a fundamental change of style, and some reflects conference expansion and coaching turnover. How much? Who knows?
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: Wisely, CJ Leslie is seeking a report from the NBA’s “draft advisory committee.” I say wisely because Leslie isn’t projecting as a first round lock, so jumping head-first into the NBA draft might be unwise. However, many of the mock drafts predicting Leslie in the second round show him falling behind Mason Plumlee. Having watched both play quite a bit, I’m not sure how a GM could justify that.

EXTRA: Speaking of NC State, The Big Lead is very high on the Wolfpack next year. Jason McIntyre ranked Mark Gottfried’s team fifth, only two spots behind North Carolina (a ranking that required a lot of leaps considering its losses). Still the bigger surprises from the ACC lay further down the rankings, where Maryland comes in at 13 and Duke at 25. I don’t see it with Maryland. Duke should be better than 25, but there are a lot of questions facing the Blue Devils.

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