ACC M5: 03.04.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 4th, 2013

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  1. New York Times: In one of the best, most entertaining college basketball games of the season, Duke outlasted Miami 79-76 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. There are two important notes from the game: one–which trumps everything by a wide margin–was Ryan Kelly‘s unbelievable return; the other was Miami‘s comeback that wasn’t meant to be in the final two minutes. Kelly was phenomenal, and Miami clearly had no idea what to do to stop him. Without him, Duke might have been blown out again. The second story is how the game changed in the final 120 seconds. Duke went from up ten to giving Miami a chance to tie or take the lead down the stretch. Free throw shooting woes (the Blue Devils went 4-8 from the charity stripe after going up ten) and turnovers were at the center of the collapse. Duke had a chance to execute and win by 10-15 points. Instead, Miami charged back and got two good looks at overtime. That says a lot about both teams.
  2. Roanoke Times: It seems like a long time ago, but Erick Green couldn’t always score at will at the college level. His freshman year he averaged 2.6 points on less than 30% shooting in less than 13 minutes of play a game (with an offensive efficiency of 81.5 using 15.5% of his team’s possessions). This year he’s averaging 25.0 points a game on 48% shooting in over 35 minutes (with an offensive rating of 121.2 using a ludicrous 31.5% of possessions). That’s some terrific development. Green doesn’t get a lot of help from his teammates, Virginia Tech just isn’t deep or talented enough to compete on a nightly basis in the ACC, but he’s worth the price of admission on his own.
  3. Charlottesville Daily Progress: Joe Harris got much deserved love for his career performance in Virginia’s win over Duke last week. He’s one of the most underrated players in the ACC, and talented seniors like him (think Jacob Pullen or Mike Scott) deserve their chance to dance. But he’s not even the most underrated player on his team. Junior Akil Mitchell is a huge part of Virginia’s success. Against Duke he finished with 19 points and 12 boards (and held Mason Plumlee to a pedestrian ten and seven). Like two of Charlotte Christian’s other famous alumni (Steph and Seth Curry), Mitchell never got offers from the North Carolina schools. He ended up at Virginia, and his athleticism and strength anchors Tony Bennett’s pack-line defense.
  4. Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest retired Chris Paul‘s jersey at its loss against Maryland. Paul may be the most fluid basketball player in the world (though Kyrie Irving has a lot of his playground ball-handling), and he’ll always be one of my favorite ACC point guards (right up with Ty Lawson, Greivis Vasquez, Tyrese Rice and many more). He led Wake Forest to two of the best offensive seasons in recent memory and was the best–and most fitting–player to suit up for Skip Prosser. Paul’s likability (save the Julius Hodge incident) is as strong as any player in the NBA. This was a good move by Wake Forest.
  5. Charlotte Observer: The ACC Tournament is up for grabs this year. Duke and Miami are the definite favorites to cut down the nets in Greensboro, but don’t cut out a surging North Carolina team, a dangerous NC State team or a better-than-its-resume Virginia squad. At the bottom half of the league there’s a mirrored cluster of teams with Florida State and Maryland in the middle. Seeding is far from decided and it will be complex (expect a comprehensive post later this week), but the conference tournament should be a lot of fun.

EXTRA: Court rushing became a topic of much conversation after Mike Krzyzewski blasted Virginia security for not protecting his team from the throngs of students. First, Coach K has a history of deflecting attention after losses (though Kelly’s performance against Miami did more than this ever could). But there are very real safety concerns with court storming. Fans often get hurt, and it’s a surprise more players aren’t injured. Also, what would happen if a fan charged a player and the player retaliated? Most of the time, the onus is put on players to ignore bush league behavior from fans. But when things get physical, that’s not fair to the players. I hope the ACC doesn’t establish a fine for teams rushing the court, but implementing a uniform procedure across the league with potential fines for not maintaining safety is something more attractive.

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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on February 25th, 2013

Though there were some dandy match-ups over the weekend, there was something in the water that led to some strange outcomes. The best team in the conference lost to one of the worst ones and the worst team in the conference finally got a win after nine straight conference losses. So sure, things got a little weird, but what did we learn?

Wake Celebrated Its Biggest Win in Years Saturday

Wake Celebrated Its Biggest Win in Years Saturday

  1. No, Seriously, It’s Hard to Win On the Road in the ACC. Miami learned this the hard way on Saturday after Wake Forest handed the Hurricanes their very first conference loss. It was the first time Miami had lost a game since Christmas. Meanwhile, although Wake Forest certainly enjoyed celebrating the big upset, no one knows the sorrows of the road and the comforts of home better than the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is 5-2 at home (the two losses were by a combined total of six points)  and 0-7 on the road within the conference. Of course, maybe a big part of that is just Wake Forest: Over the course of the season the team has won exactly one true road game, against UNC-Greensboro, thirty minutes down the road (assuming no traffic) at the traditional venue of the ACC Tournament.
  2. Maryland Is Making Progress On Its Turnover Problem. In a win over Clemson, Maryland had only eight turnovers while the Tigers had 11. That counts for something! Seriously, things were getting pretty ridiculous: On the season Maryland has had 408 turnovers while their opponents have posted only 279.  Those extra possessions make winning tricky, and if Maryland wants to keep their bubble from bursting, they need to hold onto the ball if they want any chance of winning critical games against North Carolina and Virginia down the stretch.
  3. North Carolina State Is Not Making Progress on Its Defensive Problem. NC State made the game interesting for North Carolina, but on the whole, the Wolfpack’s inability to stop an improving but still middling Tar Heels offense made a victory all but impossible. UNC did a fine job at slowing the Wolfpack’s potent offense and managed to do enough offensively to stymie the conference’s biggest disappointment. NC State is still an incredibly talented team, but it also seems like a squad that hasn’t improved as the season has progressed. Something needs to change, but the tail end of February seems like it might be far too late. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC M5: 02.25.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 25th, 2013

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  1. Washington Post: Maryland’s breakup with Lefty Driesell wasn’t mutual and it wasn’t clean. Finally, over 25 years later, the Terrapins are honoring the man who built their program from the ground up. It’s about time the administration honored Driesell at the Comcast Center. They did it with a bas relief and while it’s not a statue and not on the court, it’s better than pretending he didn’t exist. John Feinstein (as always) does a great job painting Driesell, the cantankerous coach with a soft spot, with a concise keyboard.
  2. Streaking the Lawn: With the end of conference play looming just around the corner, it’s time to take different look at conference awards. Sifting through efficiency metrics, Erick Green is by far the best player in the conference. He’s got a better offensive rating than everyone not named Reggie Bullock, but he also uses a ludicrous 31.6% of Virginia Tech’s possessions. The next two players in usage are Ryan Anderson and James Michael McAdoo. The other interesting thing is that Richard Howell, not CJ Leslie, is giving Mason Plumlee the best run for his money in the post. It comes down to who you think is a better defender between the two.
  3. Blogger So Dear: Wait, a positive article about Wake Forest basketball??? It comes on the heels of Jeff Bzdelik’s best win ever in knocking off undefeated Miami at home (for the agony bordering denial — we’ve all been there — side of thingsState of the U has you covered). Robert Reinhard took a look at Wake Forest’s promising young core. Specifically, Codi Miller McIntyre looked excellent in that game, and he and Devin Thomas in particular have the potential to be great ACC players. Believe it or not, Wake Forest is slowly moving in the right direction.
  4. The Sporting News: Here’s an interesting idea. In lieu of the Big East crumbling, David Steele suggests that the conference host a challenge with the Catholic 7. The new challenge would allow blue-blooded rivalries like Georgetown-Syracuse to continue after the Orange moves to the ACC. The new challenge would draw eyes (both in person and through the television) and money. It’s unlikely to occur, but the plan does provide a solution to the common claim that coaches don’t listen well.
  5. BC Interruption:  With season’s end on the horizon, it’s time to start seeing the standings as potential match-ups the weekend leading up to Selection Sunday at the ACC Tournament. Everyone should be itching to play Virginia Tech and the Erick Green show, but the middle of the league is so jumbled that it’s definitely worth watching the standings alone.
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ACC M5: 02.21.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 21st, 2013

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  1. Fox Sports: I would’ve said the ACC Player of the Year race was a dead heat as late as last week. But as long as Miami keeps dominating the league (even by low margins of victory), I’m starting to think Shane Larkin holds the best card. Barring some outrageous performances to close out the season (and at least one marquee win) Erick Green should be done. It may not be fair, but life isn’t fair. Mason Plumlee has a very good shot at the award too — assuming he bounces back to form after struggling against Maryland and looks good against Miami (a Duke win against Miami next Saturday would turn the tables somewhat). But Larkin is the most important player on the conference’s best team. At a minimum, he and Kenny Kadji are first-teamers.
  2. Orlando Sentinel: Great news out of Tallahassee, as Terrance Shannon has been cleared for no-contact practice. Shannon suffered a nasty neck injury early in conference play at Virginia. He had to be carted off the court in one of the scarier moments of the season. Apparently, Shannon sought a second opinion and will be back much sooner than expected. Assuming the rest of his rehabilitation goes according to schedule, it’s possible he’ll be back before the end of the season. Shannon adds tons of energy and toughness to a young Florida State front line.
  3. Duke Basketball Report: Every year there’s a team in the ACC (usually one in the lower tier) that plays more than its fair share of close games. This year three of the league’s bottom five teams are struggling to win the close ones. Just in conference games alone, Boston College, Clemson and Georgia Tech are a combined 4-15 in games decided by five points or fewer. Meanwhile, all of Florida State’s conference wins have been by five points or fewer (thank Michael Snaer for that 6-1 record in close games), while close games are a coin flip for Wake Forest and NC State. Miami is the only team unblemished in close games with a 4-0 record, although the Hurricanes have been flirting with disaster recently.
  4. Washington Post: That sound was Maryland falling back to the wrong side of the bubble after a brutal letdown loss at Boston College following its emotional upset win against Duke. Want to know what this Maryland team is starting to look dangerously like? A worse version of 2010-11 Virginia Tech. Ugly non-conference resume with no quality wins? Check. Talented roster shaped largely around two dynamic players but with a fatal flaw? Check (the Hokies couldn’t shoot; Maryland can’t hold onto the basketball). Huge upset win over Duke that boosted NCAA hopes dramatically immediately followed by a soul-crushing loss to Boston College? Check. NIT? Yes and to be determined.
  5. Kansas City Star: The details of Frank Haith‘s notice of allegations were released by Missouri. The reported “unethical conduct” charge was dropped to “failure to monitor” (which is far less severe). The big charge levied against Haith is that he failed to notify the athletic department of Nevin Shapiro’s instability and gave money to an assistant to pass along to the renegade booster. With the NCAA’s recent struggles, it’s hard to see Haith’s punishment with much teeth. If the NCAA does try to get medieval, expect him to fight back and potentially get a settlement. A suspension of some kind is the most likely punishment.
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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on February 11th, 2013

There were some near-upsets on the road as two of the better teams in the conference narrowly escaped with wins, while most of the other match-ups were good old-fashioned beatdowns. The bulk of the ACC remains as muddled as ever while Miami continues to assert its dominance and separate from the rest of the so-called conference contenders. Does that mean we learned something new this weekend? We just might have. Here are six thoughts from the weekend’s action…

Duke Found Itself in Quite the Scrum at BC Sunday Night

Duke Found Itself in Quite the Scrum at BC Sunday Night

  1. Duke Is A Bad Road Team. The Blue Devils’ best win in a true road game was a 19-point rout of Florida State (a team that’s 5-5 in the ACC). What was the second best road win for Duke? It might have been yesterday’s one-point victory over Boston College, the second worst team in the conference with a 2-8 record. That’s not a good sign. While Duke is now technically a winning team in hostile environments (3-2), the total point margin (usually a better predictor of future performance), is -10. Now, it’s been a tough year on the road for everyone in this league and five games isn’t a lot of data to draw from, but it bears mentioning that Duke has yet to show much of anything positive in this environment.
  2. Lorenzo Brown Is Everything For North Carolina State. Before last night, Brown had played 10 minutes total in the past three games for the Wolfpack due to an injury, and not coincidentally all three of those games were losses. Yesterday, Brown returned to help the Wolfpack stop the skid against Clemson. Brown isn’t the best player on his team, but he is certainly the most indispensable. The electric player has probably been the best true point guard in the conference this season even though his play has slipped from the high-water mark he set last year. If Brown can return to form and his team can learn to play a little better defense, NC State will be a factor in the conference race again. Now, though? NC State is in a three-way tie with Maryland and Florida State for fifth place, a somewhat shocking position for the preseason favorite in this league. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC M5: 02.07.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 7th, 2013

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  1. Raleigh News & Observer: Huge ACC media news out of Raleigh as Caulton Tudor announced his retirement after over four decades of work with the News & Observer. For those keeping score at home–as any good sports fan should–that’s over 6,000 columns, 40 conference tournaments and 24 Final Fours for good measure. I didn’t always agree with Tudor (notably after he put the entire North Carolina team on his first-team All-ACC last season), but you always knew what you were getting. Luke DeCock, the other primary sports columnist on staff, had many more anecdotes to share.
  2. CBSSports.com: So the NCAA may be caught in a lie. After Mark Emmert’s self-deprecating presser claiming the NCAA found out about the improper use of Nevin Shapiro’s lawyer when his bill showed up on their doorstep, Dennis Dodd caught onto something different. NCAA vice-president (of enforcement) Jule Lach approved at least $20,000 to pay Shapiro’s lawyer. This isn’t good for the NCAA and doesn’t bode well for Elena Perez, Shapiro’s lawyer, either. It is good for Miami, where Al Golden took to the signing day pulpit to proclaim his program has paid enough for its sins. Smart move, considering it looks like at best the NCAA will have to throw out much of its case against the Hurricanes.
  3. Run the Floor: This article points out several interesting facts about the ACC and college basketball as a whole. First, as I sort of suspected, the ACC is really young (significantly younger than any other major conferences). As an aside, the Mountain West is by far the most experienced league. Which helps explain why the league is outperforming its normal expectations and is competitive top to bottom. In the ACC, Miami and Duke lead both the conference standings and the percentage of minutes played by seniors. It’s no coincidence: barring unbelievable talent (see: Michigan this year or Kentucky last year), experience is extraordinarily valuable in college basketball. Between coming experience and the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the ACC should be back atop the conference power struggle next season.
  4. Charlotte Observer: Speaking of the Blue Devils, what is their plan for the game against NC State? Play better. Specifically, stop the Wolfpack in transition and defend Richard Howell and CJ Leslie. It’s funny, reading Duke talk about these goals reads more like a review of its game against Miami instead of NC State. It’s true the Wolfpack outscored Duke in transition and dominated the frontcourt battle. But that was also the team’s first game without Ryan Kelly–in an incredibly hostile environment. That’s not the game Duke wants revenge for. The Blue Devils want revenge for the game that made everyone question its place as a national title contender. That was the game at Coral Gables.
  5. CBS Atlanta: How about an ACC Player Power Rankings for dessert? Interestingly, no NC State players make the cut. Right now my power rankings would probably look similar (Michael Snaer, Shane Larkin, Erick Green, Kenny Kadji and Mason Plumlee). How can you go against buzzer beaters ad winning? But All-ACC will be a very interesting discussion should prove a very interesting discussion this season.
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ACC M5: 02.06.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 6th, 2013

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  1. US Basketball Writers Association: The USBWA named Miami’s Shane Larkin the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week after Larkin led the Hurricanes to a couple of road wins to move to 8-0 (they’re now 9-0) in conference play. Larkin’s stats from the two games are impressive across the board as he scored 19 points on over 60% shooting with four assists, four steals, three rebounds, and a block to boot. Not bad numbers for a guy who is probably 5’10″ on a good day. The Hurricanes have a very favorable final half of conference play looming. The game at Duke notwithstanding, Miami will likely be favored in the rest of the games.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: For the first time since his injury, Dexter Strickland looked like himself defending Erick Green. It’s hard to really notice changes in defense, but it seemed like Strickland has been a step slower this year. Also offensively, my hypothesis for his struggles are that being slightly less explosive has led to more jump shots and more time for defense to get in position. But something underreported so far this season is a new wrinkle in his game: the assist. Last year Strickland’s assist rate was 13.6. This year it’s 23.6! That’s a huge improvement (and shows he’s nearly as effective a distributor as Marcus Paige).
  3. Shelby Star: Even just halfway through the season, conference awards look like they’re going to be controversial this season. Starting with player of the year, which realistically will go to one of Erick Green, Mason Plumlee or to a player on Miami (right now Larkin has the hot hand, but Kenny Kadji is equally important on both ends of the floor). Rookie of the year should also be interesting, though Olivier Hanlan would get my vote unless Rasheed Sulaimon or TJ Warren goes on a tear. Regardless, individual story-lines are very interesting going into the second half of conference play.
  4. Gobbler Country: Speaking of Green, this is a takedown of his award candidacy from the Virginia Tech faithful. I would actually be a lot more generous to Green. I think he’s a great player with very solid statistics across the board, but it’s impossible to ignore his team’s struggles. His team is so bad that you have to take him out of consideration for national awards. Virginia Tech isn’t deep enough to handle Robert Brown’s slump or Cadarian Raines’ offensive disappearances. No one player can do it alone. That shouldn’t take away from Green’s abilities as a scorer, but one can’t look at stats in a vacuum.
  5. Duke Basketball Report: Continuing the theme of midseason reviews, Al Featherston took a look at the ACC’s NCAA chances with four teams sitting squarely on the bubble: North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Florida State. The Tar Heels are in the best shape and appear to be trending in the right direction. Virginia has good enough wins to make the Big Dance, but its losses are incredibly troubling. Maryland and Florida State need marquee wins and fast. Both–especially the Seminoles–will need to do major work in the ACC Tournament, barring winning out in conference play.

Video of the Day: Props to Michael Snaer who continued his string of clutch shots with a buzzer beating lay-up at Georgia Tech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyUK9ip58nM

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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on February 4th, 2013

The marquee match-up between North Carolina State and Miami gave the conference-leading Hurricanes a little more separation as they remain on top of the conference heap, still undefeated in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Below them? Well it’s a heap of something.

Reggie Johnson's Massive Tip-In Helped the Hurricanes Stay Unbeaten in ACC Play

Reggie Johnson’s Massive Tip-In Helped the Hurricanes Stay Unbeaten in ACC Play

  1. Virginia is Third in the ACC Standings. I wouldn’t have been able to guess that, despite following the conference with a feverish intensity. Last night they lost to lowly Georgia Tech, and now Virginia sits at 5-3 (along with a North Carolina team that Virginia beat). In addition to the Yellow Jackets, the other two conference teams to hand the Wahoos losses are Clemson and Wake Forest. What is going on? The Cavaliers are a shining example of this season’s remarkable home court advantage in conference play. Virginia has won all of its home games and lost all but one of its road games (against Virginia Tech). The home team has won a stunning 70% of games this season. On top of that, Ken Pomeroy has Virginia spotted as having the easiest league schedule in the ACC. In more concrete terms: It’s easy to have a good record when you have yet to play a single road game against a team with a winning record in conference play.
  2. Boston College Is A Bad Team With A Good Offense. In conference play, Boston College trails behind only Duke, NC State, and Miami in terms of offensive efficiency. This isn’t surprising if you watched the game against Clemson: BC shot 57.8% from the field and 55% from beyond the arc, highlighted by freshman Joe Rahon draining 6-of-7 threes, giving his team the win. Still, make no mistake: This team is so bad defensively that it more than offsets the sterling offensive performances that the Eagles have been turning in. Duke leads the conference in offensive efficiency with a mark at 110.0. The second best offensive team in the conference? Whoever is playing Boston College. The average offensive efficiency of BC opponents in conference play is 108.5. Read the rest of this entry »
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It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VIII

Posted by jbaumgartner on February 4th, 2013

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…. remembering just how bad of an announcer Bill Walton is during the Washington-Arizona game on ESPN, and coming to the incredible conclusion that he might be even worse at college than he was with the NBA. In a two-hour span Bill managed to explain what a disgrace UCLA basketball is, mention Reggie Miller Night at Pauley Pavilion 10 (10!!) times, called a Seattle high school coach in attendance one of the great human rights leaders (no qualifications needed!) and declared one 20-second stretch “the worst possession in the history of Washington basketball.” Other comments may or may not have included forays into the Grateful Dead and Google Earth, but it was hard to catch it all. God bless crazy old legends who can still go on TV and say whatever crosses their mind.

Bill Walton - So Bad, He's Good?

Bill Walton – So Bad, He’s Good?

I LOVED…. a prime time top-5 Big Ten match-up that didn’t disappoint. Be honest – if I told you two premier Big 10 teams were facing off, you’d predict a final score of 53-50 (OK fine, 59-56). The point is, in past years these games have tended to earn a 9.5 on the snoozer scale and reinforced the conference’s slow, methodical, offensively-challenged reputation. Thus, an 81-73 Indiana win was a refreshing foray into the 21st Century and a boost of confidence that one of these teams will be in my Final Four bracket come March.

I LOVED…. Miami backing up its Duke win with very legit road win against an N.C. State team that refuses to conform to society’s expectations and beat teams that it actually should. For Miami, they definitely keep their current label as a dangerous, well-coached team that could be a sleeper pick in March. For State? Well, at some point you might just have to stop convincing yourself that they’re going to change.

I LOVED…. the completely-terrible-idea-should-have-just-dribbled-out-the-clock-but-got-excited-and-gave-the-losing-team-motivation-for-revenge dunk by Indiana’s Victor Oladipo. Also, if you’re looking for this year’s most ridiculous athlete, he might just be it. Check out this almost alley-oop that would have gone down as one of the year’s best slams.

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Who Is The Second Best Guard In The ACC?

Posted by KCarpenter on January 30th, 2013

There’s no doubt that Erick Green has been the best guard in the ACC this season. He scores and makes plays at a hyper-efficient rate while playing a ton of minutes at a very fast pace. No other guard in the conference has performed as consistently and as well. He’s miles ahead of the competition, but it’s not because of a lack of quality guards in the league. In fact, the ACC has a plethora of talented guards, playing well for a lot of different teams. Let’s get down to the big question though: If Erick Green is the best guard in the ACC, who is the second best?

Who Is the Second Best Guard In The ACC?

If you had asked this question not all that long ago, the answer might have been an easy one: Seth Curry. The Duke shooting guard is enjoying a strong year as a perfect complementary piece on this Duke team. Is Curry really the second best guard in the conference? What about undefeated Miami’s Durand Scott or the lead guard of another team that beat the Blue Devils in NC State’s Lorenzo Brown? What about some of the conference’s other great shooting guards like C.J. Harris or Joe Harris? None of these are crazy choices. Does Curry stack up?

Curry’s elite skill is scoring. He’s fourth in the conference in points per game and he is the second best guard in this measure after Erick Green. He’s not a volume scorer, but rather very efficient, posting an offensive efficiency mark of 114.2 this season with a usage rate of 22.1%. This is very good. However, from an efficiency standpoint, Curry is nowhere close to Reggie Bullock‘s silly numbers. Averaging a 129.1 offensive efficiency on 19.1% usage rate, Bullock is shooting better than Curry from every part of the floor: three-pointers, two-pointers, and from the free throw line. Bullock is a better play-maker, a better rebounder on both ends, has more steals and blocks, and by just about every account is a better defender. Curry has a slight edge in turnovers, and a serious advantage at getting to the line.  Still, it would be difficult to argue that Curry is playing better basketball than Bullock.

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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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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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