ACC M5: 10.12.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 12th, 2012

  1. Chicago Tribune: (author’s Note: with Notre Dame joining the conference, it’s time to start including some midwestern media outlets) According to Brian Hamilton, there was mutual interest between the ACC and Madison Square Garden in hosting the ACC Tournament, but the Garden never bid for it. Swofford noted that Madison Square Garden wanted an annual relationship with the league, but the ACC wishes to continue its current location model (normally in North Carolina, but moving around regularly). North Carolina makes the most sense from a fan perspective: It’s central location is closest to the most schools, making fans more likely to make the trip.
  2. BC Interruption: There’s cautious optimism out of Chestnut Hill! Whether or not its record shows it, Boston College improved dramatically from 2011 to 2012. Over the course of the season the Eagles went from a ragtag group of teenagers who were blown out by Holy Cross at home to a rough around the edges team that shocked the eventual ACC champion. Expect the Eagles to improve markedly again this season, as they get more experience. However, there’s still a talent ceiling for this group — especially after the trio of Ryan Anderson, Patrick Heckmann and Dennis Clifford. Don’t expect Boston College to find itself on the bubble, but the watchability of Steve Donahue’s team should improve.
  3. Fox Sports Carolinas: Roy Williams talked a little bit in this article about finding out about tumors on his kidneys. Both of Williams’ parents died of cancer, so the news hit the UNC head coach particularly hard. In addition to the great news that the tumors were benign, the best part of this story is the support for Williams from fans, his team and even from his opponents: “Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski called three times, and Wake Forest head man Jeff Bzdelik sent ice cream.” Williams spoke with the rest of the conference coaches as well. This story proves, once again, that some things are bigger than basketball.
  4. Orlando Sentinel: Florida State has eight newcomers joining the roster this season led by Devon Bookheart and three new seven-footers. There are around three people out of a million over seven feet tall, and Leonard Hamilton is bringing in three of them this year alone. While raw, the three — with the possible exception of Michael Ojo — should see decent playing time this season thanks to all of the spots that opened up after last season. Even when players aren’t seven feet tall, they should fit Hamilton’s system well thanks to their off -the-charts wingspan and athleticism.
  5. The TandD.com: In what’s rapidly becoming a theme, Brad Brownell and Clemson have 12 first or second-year players. Across the league teams are much younger than in most years, heavily relying on underclassmen to shoulder significant responsibility. From Brownell’s comments, he’s really concerned with energy on both ends of the floor. He wants to play quickly (but efficiently) on offense and defense, so the team is doing a lot of defensive drill work. One thing that still needs significant improvement is the team’s communication, which is the linchpin for a strong team defense.
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ACC Tournament: NC State Survives Boston College

Posted by mpatton on March 8th, 2012

Whatever the final score might say, Boston College was right with NC State until the last ten minutes. This is a story Eagles fans know well.

Boston College showed its youth early. The Eagles started the game 0-7 from the field with five turnovers. At that point, I wondered if they could keep the deficit below 30. NC State led 14-0, and it wasn’t even that close. The Eagles were being couldn’t hold onto the ball settled for contested threes when they could get off a shot. The deficit remained at double digits until Lonnie Jackson knocked down two threes in the last three minutes to cut the NC State lead to eight. Out of the Wolfpack timeout, Alex Johnson turned it over, giving Boston College the chance to cut the lead to five with a three. Instead, Patrick Heckmann missed a lay-up (he’s definitely still recovering from the month-long bout with mono earlier in conference play); Dennis Clifford committed an offensive foul; and all hell broke loose.

Steve Donahue's Work Cut Out for Him, but Pieces Starting to Emerge for the Eagles.

Still only down eight with the ball with 30 seconds left, Boston College looked ready to seize control of the momentum by adding to an 8-0 run to close out the half. Instead, Jordan Daniels committed a huge freshman turnover. He turned his back to Lorenzo Brown to look at Steve Donahue for the play. Next thing you know Brown picked his pocket and made him pay on the other end with the and-one. Brown missed the free throw, but another Boston College turnover (the team’s thirteenth of the half) led to CJ Williams’ first basket of the afternoon. Suddenly a potentially 10-0 or 11-0 run in favor of the Eagles was an 8-5 stretch, and the lead was back to 13. Those costly mental errors plagued Donahue’s team all season. They reflect the backcourt youth.

Conclusion and thoughts on NC State after the break.

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The Way Too Early ACC Freshmen Review

Posted by KCarpenter on February 3rd, 2012

It’s been something of a down year for sensational ACC freshmen after last year’s excellent class. Still there have been some real gems, and though the Rookie of the Year Honor was pretty much wrapped up by the time the first conference game was tipped, most spots on the ACC All-Freshman Team are wide open. A lot of highly-touted recruits have flopped or underperformed, a lot of talented guys haven’t won minutes over their more experienced teammates, and in general, the youngsters have played pretty inconsistently. If voting for the All-Freshmen team was held tomorrow, here’s who I would vote for.

  • G Austin Rivers (Duke)

Rivers Was Anointed An All-ACC Freshman a Long Time Ago

Barring a miracle, Rivers has Rookie of the Year wrapped up. Leading a top-flight Duke team, he’s the only freshman whose average has cracked double digits. He leads the balanced and talented Blue Devils with 14.1 PPG. Rivers game isn’t perfect; he struggles to do much beyond scoring and his offensive efficiency leaves something to be desired at 103.2. Still, he’s the leading scorer on the best offense in the ACC and that makes any other deficiency seem somewhat trivial. If highlight reel appearances were a statistical category, Rivers moves would leave all the other rookies in the dust.

  • G Shane Larkin (Miami)

With an expected backcourt of Malcom Grant and Durand Scott leading the talented Hurricanes, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of room for 5’11” freshman like Larkin to get a lot of playing time beyond spells off the bench. Somehow though, Larkin proved so valuable to Jim Larranaga that the Hurricanes went to a three guard lineup starting the energetic guard alongside his more experienced teammates. In his first year, Larkin has already managed to jump to the top of the ACC steals charts, averaging 1.9 SPG alongside Lorenzo Brown and Jontel Evans. In terms of tempo-free statistics, Larkin leads the ACC, getting a steal on 4.8% of opponents posessions (this also happens to be the 14th best mark in the nation). Outside of being an all-round pest on defense, Larkin leads ACC freshmen with 2.5 APG and shoots a very respectable 37.5% from behind the arc. With these skills, Larkin is going to be breaking the hearts of other teams fans for the foreseeable future.

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ACC Team Previews: Boston College

Posted by KCarpenter on October 26th, 2011

Usually, replacing the winningest coach in a program’s history is a thankless task. Yet somehow, Steve Donahue came out of the 2010-11 season smelling like roses. Taking over for longtime head coach and flex offense enthusiast Al Skinner, Donahue led Boston College to a 21-13 season and 9-7 conference record, a significant improvement over the 2009-10 season. Donahue was lucky to inherit a veteran team, stocked full of seniors and a first round NBA draft caliber talent in Reggie Jackson. Still, while that season was an improvement over the previous one, it too ended in disappointment: a second-round ACC Tournament exit against Clemson and a March spent watching other teams play basketball.

Boston College Will Miss Reggie Jackson This Season

As for the summer turnover, well, it was near-complete. The downside of a team of mostly seniors is that seniors have this habit of graduating. The starting lineup was completely wiped out and the bench was decimated. Calling this year a rebuilding year is an understatement. Donahue is bringing in nine freshmen and two transfers to totally re-fashion a team that barely has anything in common with last year’s team. As for the newcomers? Well, the recruiting services didn’t think too highly of them. Despite bringing in so many players, Rivals rates BC’s 2011 crop as only the 9th best in the ACC. However, Donahue thinks that this is deceiving, considering the recruiting services focus more on raw athletic talent. Donahue got his kind of guys: Guys who can shoot, pass, and dribble even if they aren’t as naturally physically gifted as some of their peers. Years recruiting at Cornell means that Donahue has the potential to be a more wily recruiter than you might expect: Luring a player to a program without the ability to offer athletic scholarships has a tendency to hone recruiting skills. Similarly, the scholarship restriction in the Ivies drove Donahue further abroad, giving him a chance to extensively network and now he has a chance to snag players that might not even be on the radar of other ACC schools. Much has been made out of the heavy California contingent in BC’s freshmen class, but Donahue’s explanation as why he recruits so heavily from the Golden State is cogent and well-thought outUsing Euroleague style ball as his model, it seems clear that the coach is assembling a team that will thrive on open perimeter shots generated by fast and frequent ball movement.

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Conference Report Card: ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 28th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

Conference Recap

The ACC had a down year though North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall-led resurgence and Florida State’s Sweet Sixteen appearance helped a little bit. Before and during the season, Duke was the runaway favorite in the conference: Kyrie Irving’s toe injury obviously was the pivotal point that brought Duke back down to earth. Equally pivotal (in the reverse direction) was Marshall’s move to starting point guard for North Carolina. With Larry Drew II at the helm, there is no way the Tar Heels could have come close to surpassing Duke for the regular season title. The down year did not really surprise most people, and despite lofty preseason expectations (read: people forgot how highly rated North Carolina was to start the season) I think the perception is that the league at least lived up to preseason expectations with a couple of notable exceptions: NC State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. NC State had NCAA Tournament talent, but did not come anywhere close to sniffing the Big Dance; Wake was arguably the worst major conference team in the country; and Virginia Tech once again found itself very highly seeded in the NIT. On the flip side, Clemson and Florida State both exceeded expectations.

Roy Williams and Kendall Marshall led a mid-season resurgence that resulted in a trip the Elite Eight. (News Observer/Robert Willitt)

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