ACC Morning Five: 10.13.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 13th, 2011

  1. Above the Rim – Charlotte Observer: When you think Duke basketball, you probably think of a star-studded backcourt. Most years the frontcourt feels like a perpetual group of role players. But this year things may be different. Heavy losses to Duke’s perimeter players (Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Singler) leave much of Duke’s experience up front with the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly. In China during the offseason (against middling competition to be certain) the frontcourt shined with Kelly leading the team in scoring at 15 points per game, Miles Plumlee dominating the boards at nearly ten boards a night and Mason Plumlee shooting a ludicrous 18 for 22 from the field. I don’t want to steal anymore of the article’s thunder, but these three guys–not Austin Rivers–are going to be the key to whether Duke lives up to its Top 10 expectations this season.
  2. This stat-centric ACC hoops blog has started dishing out its team previews, with Boston College and Clemson first on the docket. Make sure to check out their game simulations once real games start, but for now the projections for returning player production should be enough to keep your attention. The Tigers’ Andre Young is projected to be a star, averaging 15 points per game. In addition to the numbers, Theo Jones also adds some qualitative points as well.
  3. The Chopping Block – Orlando Sentinel: Who will step up in the wake of Derwin Kitchen and Chris Singleton’s departure from Florida State? One man may be the graduate student transfer from Arkansas, Jeff Peterson. Peterson originally committed to Princeton but ended up heading from Iowa to Arkansas before utilizing his fifth year to transfer to Tallahassee. His addition makes six seniors (including two graduate students), who should make the Seminoles a tough team yet again this season. The Sporting News checks Florida State in at #27 in their Top 50 for this season.
  4. Duke Hoop Blog: Mitch McGary’s father talks about the path his son took to becoming ESPNU’s second ranked recruit in the 2012 class. The portrait is a different take than one might find from high school scouts because it’s from the inside. McGary is from a small town in Indiana, and has come out of relative anonymity by putting on a show at summer camps and skill academies. One thing to note is it sounds like he still has some work to do academically to make sure he’s eligible to compete (McGary himself is quoted saying, “I could’ve gotten straight As my senior year and I still would have to go to a junior college.”). His current list, despite contrary reports, includes Michigan, Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and Maryland.
  5. Boston Globe: Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo is putting his foot in his mouth after giving what seemed like a candid and inflated retelling of the Eagles’ influence over conference realignment. Specifically, he recanted his statement that led to all the weekend speculation about ESPN’s role in the expansion. In some ways this actually makes me raise my eyebrows even more because if he had been misunderstood he wouldn’t have apologized, just clarified. Furthermore, DeFilippo apologized for airing the ACC’s dirty laundry, seemingly making it like he turned the conference against the idea of inclusion of Connecticut.
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ACC Realignment Politics

Posted by mpatton on October 10th, 2011

The Boston Globe‘s recent article “Expansion Was Power Move by the ACC” stirred a minor uproar on Twitter over the weekend largely for two reasons:

  1. Boston College changed the course of conference realignment by vetoing Connecticut as the second addition (which led to Pittsburgh‘s invitation), much like Virginia did with Syracuse in 2003.
  2. Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo stated, “TV – ESPN – is the one who told us what to do.”

The first point is huge. If true, Boston College, one of the most recent additions to the ACC that also sports a lukewarm fanbase in both basketball and football, managed to affect which schools received an ACC invitation. This is eerily similar to Virginia’s power play in 2003 when the Cavaliers threatened to pull out of the conference if it wouldn’t add Virginia Tech instead of Syracuse. The only differences: Virginia is a founding member, and (by DeFilippo’s account) the Eagles didn’t threaten to leave the conference. For the record, I still think Pittsburgh is a better fit for the ACC as I worry about Connecticut’s long term relevance once Jim Calhoun retires.

Boston College AD Gene DeFilippo

Credit: Wendy Maeda/Boston Globe staff

DeFilippo denied rumors that Duke shouted the loudest during expansion meetings and instead cited recent massive TV deals and an interest in increasing the conference’s “footprint” in the Northeast. This statement subtly implies that Boston College had more of an influence on conference realignment than Duke, which would be surprising to say the least. I do agree that TV contracts are at the center of everything, but the Northeast brings far more basketball fans than football fans (regardless of school). More interesting is the claim that the shift had more to do with football than basketball, as neither Pitt or Syracuse offers much consistency on the gridiron, but both are national basketball powers. All of these factors lead me to question DeFilippo’s recount of the events. That is not to say that he is lying, just exaggerating a little around the edges.

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ACC Morning Five: Columbus Day Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 10th, 2011

  1. Boston Globe – Conference realignment gets old really quickly, but the Globe’s piece on the politicking that went on related to the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse is a must-read. We’ll certainly have more analysis up on the piece later in the day, but suffice it to say Boston College’s Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo went out of his way to shoot Connecticut down, and even has a quote about ESPN being behind everything. Conspiracy theorists unite!
  2. Charlotte Observer – Unfortunately, the rumors are true and Michael Jordan will not be North Carolina’s honorary captain for the Carrier Classic. However, Jordan’s college teammate James Worthy will be joining fellow Laker great Magic Johnson to celebrate their respective alma maters in the first of what is to become an annual event. Jordan told Roy Williams he has a personal conflict he can’t escape, but Worthy is certainly a fine replacement. He played on the 1982 championship squad with Jordan before having his jersey retired to the rafters of the Dean Dome. The game is set for November 11 in San Diego.
  3. Raleigh News and Observer – Speaking of conference realignment, Scott Fowler got hold of ACC Commissioner John Swofford to talk about the recent alignment news. An interesting tidbit from the article is that while Swofford was playing football for North Carolina, South Carolina dropped out of the ACC, leaving the conference with only seven members. With the additions of Pitt and Syracuse, the conference is up to a whopping 14 members and still maintains the intentionally ambiguous assertion that the ACC “is not philosophically opposed to going to 16 [teams].” Let’s just hope that the conference may not be philosophically opposed but is opposed in practice, as 16 teams would make college basketball scheduling a lopsided disaster.
  4. Winston Salem JournalJeff Bzdelik is doing his best to restore enthusiasm for Wake Forest‘s program. This year for Black and Gold Madness he’s tapping into the rich resources of basketball alumni like Chris Paul, Randolph Childress, Tim Duncan and Josh Howard to play in an alumni game with Duncan and Howard coaching. “We invited everybody who ever wore a uniform,” Bzdelik said to emphasize the importance of all Wake Forest alumni. The Demon Deacons have already picked up one recruit this month. Hopefully events like this will help refill the talent over the next couple of years in Winston-Salem.
  5. The ChronicleDuke‘s student paper is the latest to do an in-depth look at the school’s compliance staff, leading me to believe college students are reading each other’s newspapers (relatively unlikely) or compliance staff members are easy interviews to get. All joking aside, this is another valuable look at the people behind one of the most critical parts of an athletic department that usually only brings bad news to fans.Author’s Note: the above link is for the fourth and final part of the series, but has links to the other three parts.
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