CIO… the Atlantic 10 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 7th, 2013

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Joe Dzuback is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic-10. You can also find his musings online at Villanova by the Numbers or on Twitter @vtbnblog.

Looking Back

128 Games, 59 Days, 16 Teams, 12 Seeds – For this season the Atlantic 10 decided to expand the conference tournament to a fourth round at the tournament site, to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Four of the conference’s 16 members will not be seeded in the field. Going into the last week of the regular season one of the 12 tickets to Brooklyn has yet to be won and the games this week will decide which of the three “bubble teams” will get their tickets punched… and which will not.

  • IN – While the conference tournament has yet to settle seeds #2 through #11 precisely, Saint Louis, Virginia Commonwealth, La Salle, Butler, Temple, Massachusetts, Xavier, Saint Bonaventure and Richmond are guaranteed (to varying degrees) a seed.
  • OUT – Duquesne, Fordham and Rhode Island, currently #14-#16 in conference standings, will not be in the field. Rhode Island’s three-game losing streak in the past two weeks effectively ended any discussion of a late season surge and a tournament seed.
  • BUBBLE – Saint Joseph’s, Charlotte, Dayton and George Washington will rely on games this week to decide if they make the tournament field. Of the four bubblers, the Hawks, are best positioned to make the field. The most likely scenario has the George Washington – Dayton match-up Saturday becoming a one-game play-in to the conference tournament.

More Conference Alignment Rumors – About 10 minutes after the Catholic 7 announced their secession from the Big East Conference last October, Xavier and Butler (and a variety of others) were rumored to be ready join the new basketball-focused association when the conference details were settled. As of last weekend however, though the Catholic 7 appear on the verge of securing the Big East name, a TV deal and the immediate rights for a conference tournament in Madison Square Garden, Butler and Xavier have yet (according to commissioner Bernadette McGlade) to notify the A-10 that they intend to withdraw from the conference. Charlotte (to CUSA) and Temple (to Conference TBD) are slated to leave in July, losing two more would place membership numbers at 12 going into July and beyond. Though committed to maintaining a strong basketball-focused conference, the front office has been short on details and candidates to replace the lost members or protect itself from even more exits as newly consecrated Big East looks to pick up other members.

NBC Sports Network Will Televise Thursday Rounds – McGlade announced that the NBC Sports Network will televise all four of the games that will open the Conference Tournament on Thursday, March 14. CBS has committed to televise Saturday’s semifinal games and Sunday’s Championship game as part of their Selection Sunday coverage.

Reader’s Take


Power Rankings

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CIO… the Atlantic 10 Conference

Posted by CNguon on February 20th, 2013

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Joe Dzuback is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference. You can also find his musings online at Villanova by the Numbers or on Twitter @vtbnblog.

*Ed. Note: the statistics in this column were aggregated prior to Tuesday night’s St. Louis-VCU game.

Looking Back

Difference Margins in Conference Games: The offense/defense difference margins are beginning to “behave” as teams with winning records (Charlotte and Temple excepted) have positive difference margins, while teams with losing records (Dayton excepted) have negative difference margins. Temple, with a 5-5 record, has a -0.001, just two one-thousandths under “positive.” Tiers within the winning and losing groups continues to be messy, and occasionally explains why a team is succeeding or failing.


Looking over the “standings” this week a few things jump out…

  • Fordham and Duquesne are losing contact with the rest of the conference, and that includes 3-8 Rhode Island. For the Dukes, with a new coach and a program in disarray, the trend is not surprising as wins are hard to come by. Fordham, coming into the season with senior all-conference forward Chris Gaston and a promising young backcourt, has to be a disappointment to fans and university administrators. Granted, Gaston has struggled with injuries and extended absences, but the current late season fade continues a pattern established over the last five seasons.
What's that you say? Jim Crews and Saint Louis is running away from the rest of the conference. (AP)

What’s that you say? Jim Crews and Saint Louis are running away from the rest of the conference. (AP)

  • Saint Louis appears to be running away from the rest of the league. If the Bilikens’ numbers hold up over the course of this week (they play Butler next, after eviscerating VCU last night), expect coach Jim Crews’ squad to emerge with the #1 seed going into Brooklyn and up in the NCAA field where they are currently seeded in the #9-#11 range.
  • Temple’s -0.001 efficiency margin reflects the fact that the Owls have had a series of one-point decisions (more in Temple’s team report below) against both stronger teams (Charlotte) and weaker teams (Duquesne).

Going, going… The topic touched on during virtually every Division I basketball game over the last week is “Who is in?” usually accompanied by a discussion of bubble teams – right side/wrong side, S-curves and “What happened to…”. Alhough the field is still under construction and opinions vary as to whether the Atlantic 10 will have six bids (Jerry Palm as of February 17) or four (Joe Lunardi and RTC’s own Daniel Evans), there is an emerging consensus that several preview “contenders” are in the field, somewhere on (or near) the bubble and clearly out of the conversation entirely. Some quick takes on the “bubble… sort of’s” and those who are “out”:

  • Charlotte – Jerry Palm lists the 49ers as a #11 seed and well beyond the “Last Four In” category. Daniels lists them on his bubble watch of February 18 while Lunardi remains silent. Can good conference wins versus Butler and Xavier really negate double-figure losses to Richmond, George Washington and Saint Louis? More than any A-10 team not named Temple, winning their last five games going into the conference tournament will make or break this resume. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the Atlantic 10

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 29th, 2011

Joe Dzuback is the RTC correspondent for the A-10 Conference. You can also find his musings online at Villanova by the Numbers or on Twitter @vbtnBlog.

Reader’s Take

The Week That Was:

Early Season Tournaments – The Conference Crossroads: Though the invitational tournaments come in three different formats, they provide A-10 members with the opportunity to face-off against competition from other conferences. If the tournament is a “destination”, all the better, as those often offer one or two games versus power conference opponents on a neutral court. Mixed format tournaments can provide the A-10 member with the chance to play a power conference opponent and then host a sub-regional mini-tournament afterward, as George Washington did for the Preseason NIT last season and Rhode Island did for the Legends Classic this season. Despite the road game incentive built into the RPI, the NCAA does little to discourage the power conference practice of guarantee games beyond officially “frowning” on it. Unless you are Xavier or Temple, your best chance to see a power conference team in a venue besides their home court (on the front end of a home-and-home agreement) is to join one of the early-season invitational tournaments. Though Xavier will spend Christmas in Hawaii at the Diamond Head Classic, virtually all early-season invitational tournaments concluded on or before Thanksgiving Weekend. How did the Atlantic-10 do?



The 21-13 record reveals both hope (Dayton, Richmond and Saint Louis) and fear (La Salle, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) as the season progresses, but overall, the 61.8% winning percentage will help the conference come Selection Sunday. Flyer fans can look to a surprise first-place finish in the Old Spice Classic that included wins over Wake Forest out of the ACC and Minnesota from the Big Ten, as signs that the Dayton program revival is ahead of schedule under rookie coach Archie Miller. Saint Louis rolled through the 76 Classic field, cutting through three power conference opponents in four days like a hot knife through butter. No one, not Boston College (ACC), Villanova (Big East) nor Oklahoma (Big 12) could get closer than 11 points to the Billikens in their final scores.

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RTC Conference Primers: #8 – Atlantic 10

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 30th, 2011

Joe Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference. You can find him on Twitter @vbtnBlog.

Reader’s Take I

The A-10 has earned three invitations to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons. Xavier and Temple, as they have for the past two seasons, will claim two bids.

Top Storylines

Xavier's Tu Holloway Is A First-Team All-American Candidate And One Of The Nation's Best Seniors

  • A-10 to Barclays in 2013: Barclays Center, under construction in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is in the market for multi-day sporting events while the Atlantic 10 is looking for a bigger stage for their post season tournament — a perfect match perhaps? The two announced a deal late last month that will move the 2012-13 A-10 Conference Tournament to the 675,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue that will feature an 18,000 seat arena for basketball. The Atlantic 10 has vacillated between rotating campus sites and a “permanent neutral” site since the first conference tournament in 1976-77. The current location since the 2006-07 tournament, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, is a 10,500 seat amphitheater. While technically neutral, the attendance is up when one or more of the Philadelphia contingent (La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and/or Temple) advances to the quarterfinal round and beyond, and down when they do not. The conference will return to Boardwalk Hall for their 2011-12 tournament, then move over to Barclays Center the following season.
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RTC Summer Updates: Atlantic 10 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 3rd, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our Atlantic 10 correspondent, Joe Dzuback. You can read more of his in-depth writing and analysis at Villanova By The Numbers.

Reader’s Take I

Summer Storylines

  • Bobinski to Chair NCAA Selection Committee: While the conference again sent seven teams, half of its membership, to the postseason — three to the NCAA, one to the NIT and three to the CBI, the Final Four runs by Butler (Horizon League) and Virginia Commonwealth (Colonial Athletic Association) overshadowed a showing, Xavier’s loss to Marquette excepted, that exceeded 2010’s NCAA results. The NCAA announced that Xavier Athletic Director Mike Bobinski will succeed Connecticut’s Jeff Hathaway as Chairman of the 2012 NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. Bobinski just completed his third year of a five-year term on the Selection Committee. While the Atlantic 10 has been the most successful non-BCS conference in placing teams in the tournament field (with 20 NCAA bids allotted to six teams since 2004), its representatives have tended to draw the short straw when it comes to seeding, and Bobinski will likely lobby hard for that cause.
  • The Coaching Carousel:  The conference had two coaching vacancies during the early phase of the coaching carousel. If the 2010 offseason saw coaching turnovers due to firings, the 2011 offseason saw suitors come to call on the Atlantic 10 coaching fraternity. Tennessee, having fired Bruce Pearl on March 21, made its first call to Xavier to talk with Chris Mack. Mack reportedly turned aside an offer of $2 million per year to coach the Volunteers in favor of staying in Cincinnati with the Musketeers. Richmond’s Chris Mooney signed a 10-year contract extension, his second extension in two years, ending Georgia Tech’s courtship. Mooney’s decision triggered a spate of articles (see “Old coaching assumptions are fading” by Dana O’Neil for example) about non-BCS coaches who pass on BCS offers to stay with their programs. The Yellow Jackets turned their attention to Dayton’s Brian Gregory, who succumbed to the lure of the BCS and packed his bags for Atlanta on March 28. Dayton conducted a six-day search and hired Archie Miller, brother of former Xavier head man Sean Miller, away from Arizona to succeed Gregory. In late April, George Washington’s Athletic Director, Patrick Nero, fired 10-year veteran Karl Hobbs. Nero, who succeeded retiring AD Jack Kvancz on June 30, was hired on April 20, and wasted no time in turning over the men’s basketball staff. Nero reached into his old stomping grounds, the American East Conference, and hired the league’s premier head basketball coach, Mike Lonergan of Vermont, on May 6 to replace Hobbs. The resignation of Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis on May 24 (DeChellis took over the Navy program) triggered a few tense days among the Duquesne faithful as coach Ron Everhart landed an interview for the Happy Valley position. The Dukes exhaled on June 1 when Everhart withdrew his name from consideration in favor of staying with the Pittsburgh school next season.
  • Media Coverage: The Atlantic 10 and ESPN renewed their deal to have eight games (selected by ESPN) televised on either ESPN or ESPN2 in each of the next two seasons. The ESPN networks are committed to broadcasting the Women’s Championship and up to 32 appearances in each of the next two seasons.

Tu Holloway Makes the XU Offense Go

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Morning Five: 06.17.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 16th, 2010

  1. Kansas AD Lew Perkins unveiled the secrets behind the curtain when he explained yesterday that the five Big 12 schools facing life outside the BCS — KU, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor — came up with a ‘business plan’ to keep the Texas and Oklahoma schools from bailing on them to the Pac-10.  This business plan essentially amounts to these five schools paying for the privilege of having Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in their conference.  Whether the subsidy will come from their NCAA Tournament revenue or penalties levied against Colorado and Nebraska for leaving is unclear, but what is absolutely certain is that the dollars will end up in Austin, College Station, Stillwater and Norman.  Just.  Wow.
  2. Jerry Jones has done some amazing things in his lifetime, so if anyone else was pitching the idea of adding Arkansas and Notre Dame to the newfangled Big 12, we’d immediately dismiss the idea.  With the billionaire Cowboys owner saying it, we’ll at least entertain the thought for fifteen seconds or so.  For what it’s worth, Arkansas AD Jeff Long said that the Hawgs have “no interest” in leaving the SEC.  And why would they?  They are making major bank where they are, and the Big 12 is still going to be fraught with uncertainty given its ridiculous revenue ‘sharing’ agreement.
  3. Here’s a good recap of Tom Izzo reactions from around the blogosphere over at BiaH.  Izzo as professional coach just doesn’t feel right.  We like this move to stay in East Lansing.
  4. An interview with one of the best in the biz, Jay Bilas, for your lazy-day summer reading.
  5. We enjoyed this post by Braves & Birds, an Atlanta-area sports blog, but we need to make one clarification: if you add up the value of all of the separate conference television contracts as well as the BCS bowl game contracts, it still does not approach what the NCAA Tournament brings in an average year (~$700-$800M) from its television deal.  The problem isn’t revenue in college basketball; it’s where the revenue goes.  Since the NCAA Tournament collects all the money from CBS/Turner up front and metes it out to the schools and conferences as it sees fit while all the college football dollars go directly to the conferences/schools themselves, it’s easy to see why the gridiron game is the driver here.  It also explains why there won’t be a college football playoff anytime soon as administered by the NCAA — the big-ticket schools simply don’t want to share that revenue with anyone else.
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A Rush The Court Christmas List

Posted by jstevrtc on December 24th, 2009

As if we weren’t already immature enough here at RTC, this season we figured we’d regress further into our childhood years and come up with a Christmas list, each participant naming one or two things we’d like for ourselves and/or the game of college basketball.  As you can see, the answers ranged from the practical to the impossible, the civil to the…well, hostile.  Above all, we hope that you, our faithful readers, will have a happy, healthy, hoop-filled holiday season.  Enjoy the list, and thanks for being here.

Zeitlin totally owns this tie. No need to get it for him.

rtmsf, RTC founder/editor/contributor:

All I want for Christmas this year is for a titanium-based super extra force field with double-secret password protection to be built on, around, above and under the current NCAA Tournament format.  Seriously, I want this thing to be more hermetically sealed than Tiger Woods’ brand-new Swiss bank accounts or Jerry Jones’ new face.  Please, Santa, no matter what the rest of these guys ask for — the new rear spoiler for nvr1983, a clue with the ladies for Stevens, that ridiculous jumpsuit for Hayes, and whatever Penn nonsense Zeitlin wants this year — just throw away their lists.   Please.  The single most important thing you’ll find on anyone’s list this year is mine (ok, I say that every year, but I mean it this time).  The possibility that some television money-men and NCAA decisionmakers long on greed but short on perspective and common sense support the idea of expanding the single most exciting and grand spectacle in all of sports to 96 teams should appall your jolly sensibilities.  If you can make this happen, Santa, I promise to be good all year round; I’ll even send in that cash pledge this year I keep promising to do but never do, I swear.   Thanks.

–Signed, 65 is Enough.

Hands OFF.

nvr1983, RTC  editor/contributor:

  1. The NCAA finally gets a sense of reality and actually go after some big name programs instead of focusing on the relatively little guys.  Sure, Memphis and Renardo Sidney were involved in some shady dealings, but was it any worse than what USC has done over the past decade?
  2. Have ESPN get ESPNU on every major cable provider or at least put those games on
  3. Go back to 64 teams.  Forget this talk about 96 teams.  I don’t even want the 65th team.  The play-in game has been a joke for years and everybody knows it.  It cheapens the tournament by making the official start of the tournament a game that even die-hard fans don’t care about.
  4. Someone needs to fix this one-and-done rule.  I love watching these guys—Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, and John Wall—play, but I know that I will never get to see them mature in the college setting. Either make them stay 4 years or let them enter the draft right out of high school.
  5. Fire the guy running the clock at Hinkle.  Somebody has to get some coal this Christmas…

Here's your 1.3 seconds.

John Stevens, RTC editor/contributor:

I can’t lie, there are some things I want for the other guys.  Heck, this is the giving season, right?  I’d like nvr to remember how to sleep, since he rarely gets to.  I think it’d be nice if rtmsf’s, er, “rash” finally cleared up.  And yeah, there are some things I’d like for myself.  Michelle Beadle’s phone number.  Fran Fraschilla’s tweeting abilities.  But those are things I’d rather earn of my own efforts.  As far as gifts that revolve around college hoops, there’s just no way I can limit it to one thing.  Yes, I’m that selfish.  But I think I want things that everyone wants, so I’m willing to share.  I’d like Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery to be the implied #1 announcing crew for any weekend CBS game, even though I still love and respect Enberg, Lundquist, Elmore, Bilas, et al.  I’d like fewer TV timeouts.  I’d like the NCAA Tournament to be freaking left alone.  But most of all, what I want is for the rest of the season to be free of major injuries.  The Evan Turner fall was scary and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse than just a couple of fractured transverse processes.  After Derrick Roland broke his leg last night I went outside and sat in my car for half an hour just to avoid the television.  That’s gotta be it for the gruesome injuries.  I don’t want to watch Kansas or Kentucky or Duke or Texas or anyone come tournament time and think, “That’s not the same team, compared to when they had (x).”  It’s been too fun of a season so far to have some team’s chances ruined by a misstep or a freak accident.

"Rise and FIRE...." "ONIONS, Mr. Johnson!!" It has to happen.

Zach Hayes, RTC Bracketologist-in-Residence:

This one might cause some controversy, but I’d ask Santa for some duct tape for Dick Vitale.  Watching the Texas-UNC game on Saturday sent me over the edge.  His shameless self-promotion and constant hyperbole is incredibly irritating and the man fails to make one cogent basketball point from an analytical perspective the entire telecast.  His quirks and habits get extremely tiresome by December.  While others like Bill Raftery have their fun, they bring to the broadcast a true sense of the intricacies of basketball to further my understanding of the sport.  Jay Bilas is constantly providing enlightening analysis and former coaches like Bob Knight and Steve Lavin are tremendous.  Yet ESPN keeps giving us Dick Vitale in the biggest games so he can yell things like “I’ll tell you, Ed Davis has talent!” and “go onto for my freshman of the year, coach of the year, fans of the year…”  It’s enough.  Santa, send me some duct tape so I never have to hear that old man screaming again.

We'll go ahead and cancel that interview request...

Dave Zeitlin, RTC Ivy League Correspondent and feature writer for Backdoor Cuts:

What I really want for the holidays is for Penn to beat Duke on New Year’s Eve.  But since the odds of that happening are about as slim as Isiah Thomas doing one good thing in his life, I have another wish.  I want big-conference coaches to stop whining about tournament expansion.  I mean, really?  Everyone knows college football is a joke because of the BCS, but let’s not turn college basketball into a joke on the other end of the spectrum by completely diluting the regular season.  Yes, I like the idea of more mid-major teams getting berths, which would be a side benefit to tournament expansion.  But here’s a better solution for that:  limit the number of berths for big-conference teams.  How about you have to have a .500 record in the conference and finish in the top half of your league to be eligible?  I’m tired of the sense of entitlement some of these coaches have.  You have a whole season AND a conference tournament to be one of the 65 teams to make the Big Dance — that should be enough.  Most of these guys should take a lesson from Bill Carmody, who in nine seasons at Northwestern has never guided the Wildcats to the NCAA touranament.  Still, he is against expansion, saying it would make every game a little less meaningful.  Merry Christmas, Bill.  I like you even though you coached at Princeton.


Mr. Zeitlin declines. But gives credit where it's due.

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Checking in on… the ACC

Posted by jstevrtc on December 21st, 2009

Steve Moore is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

ACC teams lost just three times in the last week – and all were interesting/entertaining games in their own right. Two losses were inevitable, thanks to a pair of conference games.  The other was Texas-sized, in more ways than one.

ACC POWER RANKINGS (record as of Sunday, Dec. 20)

1. Duke (9-1, 0-0)

PAST:  Let’s skip right over the gimme win over Gardner-Webb and move on to Saturday’s game with Gonzaga.  The Zags were bad, that much is true.  But some of Gonzaga’s 23.8% shooting percentage needs to be credited to a stifling Duke defense.  Gonzaga came in averaging almost 80 points, and were held to half that.  The win was enough to put Duke atop our rankings, but the Devils still need to show a little more – because Gonzaga was just that bad.

FUTURE: No games this week.

2. North Carolina (8-3, 0-0)

PAST:  The Tar Heels have been getting plenty of credit here for playing some real pre-conference foes, and that didn’t change on Saturday, when UNC faced No. 2 Texas in the monstrosity that is Cowboys Stadium.  There was also more than enough up-and-down, fast-paced hoops to keep any hoops fan happy, just not the “W” to keep Heels fans happy. More on this game later.

FUTURE:  UNC hosts Marshall on Tuesday.

3. Wake Forest (8-2, 1-0)

PAST:  The Deacons survived a classic trap trip to UNC Wilmington, then took care of North Carolina State at home on Sunday.  Wake freshman C.J. Harris continues to chip in for the Deacons, earning his third ACC Rookie of the Week honors with 10 points and four boards against N.C. State, and 11 points against UNC Wilmington.

FUTURE:  The Deacons complete their “N.C.” trifecta this week when they travel to Greensboro to face UNC-Greensboro.

4. Georgia Tech (8-2, 0-1)

PAST:  Tech dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Florida State, 66-59, that could come back to bite them come seeding time. Sure, the Seminoles are a solid team, but you can’t lose home conference games like that. Especially in your ACC opener.

FUTURE:  Tech hosts always-tough Kennesaw State on Tuesday.

5. Florida State (10-2, 1-0)

PAST:  The Seminoles jump up two spots this week after going 3-0 with wins over Georgia State, Auburn, and the most impressive of all:  AT Georgia Tech.  No, FSU doesn’t leap past the Yellow Jackets just yet (I still think Tech is the better overall team), but the Seminoles sure improved their tourney resume in a week that saw most everyone else take a cupcake break.

FUTURE:  The Cupcakes come now, however, for FSU, which faces Tennessee-Martin, Alabama A&M and Texas A&M-Corpus Christie in its next three games.

6. Clemson (10-2, 0-0)

PAST:  The Tigers slip a spot, despite two wins this week over East Carolina and the College of Charleston.  But they will have plenty of time to rise, especially if their defense continues to force an absurd 11.7 steals per game.

FUTURE:  Clemson has two more cupcakes before a Jan. 3 date at Duke.  The Tigers host Western Carolina on Tuesday.

7. Miami (12-1, 0-1)

PAST:  Four cupcake wins, including a 20-point road romp at Stetson, likely didn’t reduce the sting of that one-point loss to Boston College earlier this month.

FUTURE:  No games this week after Monday’s date with North Carolina A&T.

8. Virginia Tech (9-1)

PAST:  Easy win over Charleston Southern doesn’t really help or hurt the Hokies this week.  But junior Malcolm Delaney certainly is.  He continues to dominate the league scoring stats, averaging 22 PPG, which ranks just outside the top 10 in the nation.

FUTURE:  The golden Retrievers of UMBC come calling Tuesday night.

9. Maryland (6-3, 0-0)

PAST:  All that Hawaiian sun must have worn the Terrapins out after the Maui Invitational, because Maryland has played just three games in all of December and hasn’t played since a win on Dec. 12.

FUTURE:  Maryland hosts two gimmes this week in Winston-Salem State and Florida Atlantic.

10. N.C. State (8-2, 0-1)

PAST:  The home loss to Wake Forest was no real crime, especially since the Wolfpack hung around most of the night. But if they want to move up in the rankings, the Pack will have to score a little more.  They are averaging a league-worst 67.3 points – and that’s against the pre-conference cupcakes.

FUTURE:  N.C. State does play the only real interesting game of the week in the ACC, as it heads to Arizona on Wednesday.

11. Virginia (5-4, 0-0)

PAST:  After a game against UNC-Wilmington was snowed out, the Cavaliers had two full weeks between games going into Monday’s date with NJIT.

FUTURE:  Wednesday against Hampton (corrected).

12. Boston College (7-3, 1-0)

PAST:  The cruising win over Bryant wasn’t enough to get the Eagles out of the cellar.  Not with home losses to Harvard and Rhode Island on the resume.  Say it again:  Harvard and Rhode Island.

FUTURE:  BC hosts UMass Wednesday night, with the Minutemen coming off a solid win over Memphis on Saturday. Watch out for another in-state defeat.



  • UNDER THE BIG TOP:  Much has already been written about the UNC-Texas shootout/circus at The-House-That-Jerry-Built.  The 103-90 Texas win proved that Roy Williams’ Tar Heels still have plenty to do on the defensive end, as UNC gave up 100 points in regulation for the first time in Williams’ tenure there.  Does this mean that UNC is not good enough to reach the Final Four?  Absolutely not.  If there’s any team that needs time to find its identity, it’s this one, considering all the new faces.  I may have bumped UNC out of the top spot this week (and I may think Roy Williams is a crybaby), but I still expect the Heels to rise back to the top of the ACC (notice how I’m already backing off my crazy Maryland prediction from earlier in the year).
  • ACC-TUAL LEAGUE GAMES!  Florida State’s dramatic overtime win over Georgia Tech was the first real key ACC game of the year, and the first real upset, as well (except for maybe BC over Miami).  Is it January yet?  I’m tired of seeing everyone beat up on UNC-Greensboro and Stetson.
  • RAMBLING RANT OF THE WEEK:  If I was a Duke fan who, you know, actually lived anywhere near Tobacco Road, I’d be growing real tired of what seems like 55 “home” games each year at Madison Square Garden.  I know what it does for exposure, and mostly I know what it does for the wallet, but this is a team with one of the best – if not the best – homecourt advantage in the nation.  Why the heck do they need to play in New York so much?
  • BONUS RAMBLING RANT OF THE WEEK (Jerry Jones Edition):  Like many college hoops fans, I am attracted to the game due to the atmosphere of a great college building. I haven’t attended a ton of raucous games, but I can tell you that the 2002 America East finaland games at the Palestra are among the top sporting events I’ve attended.  So it kills me to see so many key games in March played in sterile football stadiums with half a million seats.  I understand the money, and I know the Final Four has been in those buildings for years, but now we’re starting to see regional games, sub-regionals, and even regular season games played in huge buildings.  I’ll take a bandbox gym any day.



GET YOUR SHOPPING DONE:  There really isn’t any must-see TV this week in the ACC.  Outside of N.C. State’s trip to Arizona on Wednesday night, you should have plenty of time to bake that doorstop of a fruitcake.  And just think, waiting for you just after New Year’s?  Another great season of ACC hoops. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

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