Award Tour: The Ballot Is In and the Best Player, Freshman and Coach are…

Posted by DCassilo on March 12th, 2013

awardtour

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

Believe it or not, when this all started guys like Mike Moser, Jamaal Franklin and Isaiah Canaan were in the top 10. But soon the top players in the country started to come into focus. Only four players (Trey Burke, Cody Zeller, Doug McDermott and Deshaun Thomas) stayed in the rankings all season, while only one freshman (Marcus Smart) could say the same. And finally, below, we have those few players that separated themselves from the pack. The best part of it all is that as fun as this regular season was, it will likely only provide a small percentage of what we remember about college basketball this year. But before we get to the best part, here’s who is taking home the hardware.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Otto Porter Jr. – Georgetown
Regular season stats: 16.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG

Otto Porter Led the Hoyas to a Special Win (TheDaily.com)

Otto Porter Jr. has a lot to be excited about. (TheDaily.com)

In times of adversity, greatness rises, and that’s the primary reason Porter is the choice for the top spot. On January 8, the Hoyas’ second leading scorer, Greg Whittington, played his final game. It was a crossroads for Georgetown, who looked like they might be headed down the Big East standings very quickly. Instead, though, the team went 14-2 and grabbed the Big East title. Over those 16 games, Porter was unstoppable. He averaged 19.9 PPG and 7.7 RPG, while shooting at least 50 percent from the field in 10 of 16 games despite facing plenty of double-teams. And the Hoyas got the most out of their best player too. He played at least 39 minutes in each of his last five games.

What Porter was able to accomplish with such a thin supporting cast was remarkable. There was no Cody Zeller down low like there was for Victor Oladipo, and the Hoyas finished first in the Big East, not fifth like Trey Burke did in the Big Ten. He was the best player on Georgetown, and everybody knew it, yet they couldn’t stop him. Now he’s the best player in the country.

First Team All-Americans

  • Otto Porter Jr. – Georgetown
  • Trey Burke – Michigan
  • Victor Oladipo – Indiana
  • Mason Plumlee – Duke
  • Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga

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All-ACC Microsite Teams and Postseason Awards

Posted by Jimmy Kelley on March 12th, 2013

Another great season in the ACC is in the books and it’s time to recognize those who had outstanding seasons with our postseason awards. We here at Rush the Court’s ACC Microsite have decided to hand out our own awards based on what we believe is a unique set of criteria and, while it may not differ wildly from what the actual outcome of the award races is, just know we all voted prior to their release. Here are this year’s All-ACC Microsite Teams and ACC Postseason Awards.

Note: Jimmy Kelley, Ethan Mann, Kellen Carpenter and Matt Patton all voted for first-, second-, and third-teams as well as their top three for each of the individual awards. A first place/team vote was worth three points, second worth two and a third place/team vote was worth one. In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker was high-quality votes (i.e., more second-team votes).

ACC Microsite Player of the Year

Erick Green, Virginia Tech: Green nearly swept the voting, grabbing three of four first-place votes. The nation’s leading scorer, Green was the lone highlight for a Virginia Tech team that went 4-14 in ACC play, finishing dead last. Mason Plumlee and Shane Larkin garnered a co-Player of the Year vote on the other ballot.

Erick Green, Virginia Tech

Erick Green of Virginia Tech garnered the ACC Microsite’s highest honor.

 

All-ACC Microsite First Team

  • Mason Plumlee, Duke
  • Erick Green, Virginia Tech
  • Joe Harris, Virginia
  • Richard Howell, NC State
  • Shane Larkin, Miami

Notes: Plumlee, Green and Harris were unanimous selections for the first team. Howell and Larkin received one second-team vote apiece.

Second Team

  • Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
  • Seth Curry, Duke
  • Michael Snaer, Florida State
  • Kenny Kadji, Miami
  • Ryan Anderson, Boston College

Notes: Bullock and Curry each received a first-team vote. Anderson holds on to final spot due to having more second-team votes than Alex Len.

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Award Tour: Burke vs. Porter, McLemore vs. Smart and Larranaga vs. JTIII

Posted by DCassilo on March 8th, 2013

awardtour

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

With just one regular season game to go, nothing is decided. It’s another example of how unpredictable this season has been. For Player of the Year, it’s down to Trey Burke and Otto Porter Jr. Both players have carried their teams and made everyone around them better. Then there’s Freshman of the Year, which is down to Ben McLemore and Marcus Smart. They are a couple of players who have been impacts guys from the opening game. And Coach of the Year? It’s Jim Larranaga’s to lose, but lately, it looks like he’s trying to lose it.

The final update of this will run on Tuesday of next week, so make sure to look out for it.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

10. Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3 SPG

I’ve written about Smart so many times this season that I need to give myself a moment to step back and admire how well-rounded he is as a player. His 3.0 SPG are third best in the country. He’s a guy I’ll always want on my team.  This week: March 9 vs. Kansas State

9. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 9)
2012-13 stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG

A rematch of this 2012 Final Four matchup highlights the best of the remaining Big Ten non-conference games.

Thomas and Withey are in the top-10.

Oddly enough, the Buckeyes have played their best basketball when Thomas has played his worst. Still, he’s scored at least 14 points in each game of this four-game winning streak. In most other conferences, he would be the Player of the Year. This week: March 10 vs. Illinois

8. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 17.7 PPG, 7 RPG

You would be hard-pressed to find many players that are more efficient than Olynyk. The junior shot 68.8 percent from the field while attempting over 10 shots per game. It will be fun when the rest of the country figures out who he is this March. This week: Regular season over.

7. Cody Zeller – Indiana (Last Week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 16.5 PPG, 8. RPG

It will go down as a disappointing year because of the expectations, but Zeller still improved his scoring and rebounding averages in his sophomore season. The most surprising thing, though, is that there is a Hoosier ahead of him on this list. This week: March 10 at Michigan

6. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last week – 6)
2012-13 stats: 23.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG

McDermott closed the regular season out in style with 41 points against Wichita State. Although he will probably get a few first-place votes, what ultimately held him back was the struggles of his teammates. This week: Regular season over.

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March Losing Streak Suddenly Raises Doubts About Canes

Posted by BHayes on March 7th, 2013

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Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

The Miami Hurricanes spent January and February making believers out of skeptics, filling a bandwagon that had never, ever been even close to full. It takes no stretch of the imagination to believe in a Duke or a Carolina team that races out to a hot ACC start, but Miami? A program with just six NCAA Tournament appearances in its history? For us to trust the Canes, they had to be spectacular – and spectacular they were. Thirteen ACC wins in a row, including a sweep of UNC and a blowout win over Duke, practically sealed the ACC regular season title, and all this before the first day of March. They looked like the best team in the league, and a legitimate national title contender to boot.

Jim Larranaga Could Not Have Loved Miami's Effort This Evening, But The Canes And Their Head Man Still Harbor Large Tournament Hopes

Jim Larranaga Could Not Have Loved Miami’s Effort This Evening, But The Canes And Their Head Man Still Harbor Large Tournament Hopes

Both those proclamations may still be true, but back-to-back losses to begin the most important month in college basketball will again have the magnifying lenses hovering over the Canes. The loss at Cameron on Saturday (by just three points and with Ryan Kelly not only active but also having the game of his life) did little to damage Miami’s long-term prognosis. They still looked like the tough, veteran team that had ripped through this ACC slate — no problems there. But with that defeat now a part of a losing streak after tonight’s egregious home loss to Georgia Tech, we start to worry a little bit. There are questions again, and the doubt seeps back in with disturbingly little difficulty, because why did we really believe in the Miami Hurricanes to begin with?

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Ten Tuesday Scribbles: On Virginia, North Carolina, National COY, and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 5th, 2013

tuesdayscribbles

Brian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. If there is one team that personifies this rollercoaster season of unpredictability, it is probably Virginia. Last week was the Cavaliers’ season in a nutshell as they toppled Duke in Charlottesville before laying an egg at Boston College on Sunday. At 20-9 (10-6), Virginia sits squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble with two regular season games to play. In my heart of hearts, I believe this is a tournament-quality team. Virginia has impressive victories against aforementioned Duke as well as NC State, North Carolina and a huge road win at Wisconsin earlier in the season. Additionally, the Cavs sport wins over bubble buddies Tennessee and Maryland (on the road). Unfortunately for Virginia, the story doesn’t end there and turns sour rather quickly. Tony Bennett’s team has lost a stunning seven games to sub-100 RPI opponents, six of them coming on the road or at a neutral site. The loss to #315 Old Dominion is particularly puzzling. With just a 2-6 road record in conference play, an RPI in the 60s and an embarrassing non-conference strength of schedule, Virginia is not in a great spot despite its good wins. Joe Harris and the Cavs need to take care of business against Florida State and Maryland before putting together some kind of ACC Tournament run. This is one of the more bizarre NCAA resumes I’ve ever seen and one sure to create a lot of debate in the committee room.

    Joe Harris and Virginia haven't been consistent

    Joe Harris and Virginia haven’t been consistent

  2. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s comments after his team’s loss to Virginia created a stir throughout the college basketball world over the last few days. Coach K complained about his team not being able to safely get off the floor while Virginia’s students rushed the court after their team’s big win. While the video does show the Duke team unable to enter the tunnel and head to the locker room, I feel Krzyzewski is out of line. His team was protected by multiple arena security personnel who formed a human wall between the Duke team and the Virginia students. At no time were the Duke players in any danger. I understand why things this man says get noticed, after all he is the sport’s winningest coach. But why does everything Coach K says have to be taken as gospel? Let the kids have some fun and stop with the “get off my lawn!” attitude. Unless your team is in danger of being hurt, comments like these serve as a distraction and quite honestly look like sour grapes to me.
  3. After suffering the loss to Virginia, Duke rebounded in a big way by taking down Miami and exacting a measure of revenge for the blowout loss earlier this year in Coral Gables. It was a struggle though as the Blue Devils needed a career-high 36 points from Ryan Kelly (in his first game back since January 8) just to win by three on their home floor. While Kelly clearly sparked Duke offensively in this game, he makes a bigger difference on the other side of the basketball. Kelly is an outstanding defender because he’s a tall, agile forward who can get up into a player on the perimeter and force him to shoot over or pass around Kelly, often going east-west instead of north-south. Kelly’s presence on the floor did not make a huge difference in this particular game when it comes to Miami’s offensive efficiency but he did frustrate the Hurricanes from the three point line. Miami shot just 6-21 from deep and a big reason for that was Kelly and his length. As we head into postseason play, Kelly’s return will make a huge difference on the defensive side of the ball for Duke. Anything he does offensively is gravy for this team. Duke is undefeated with Kelly in the lineup and that bodes well for the Blue Devils as they look to grab a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and make a run at the program’s 16th Final Four appearance. Read the rest of this entry »
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Award Tour: Huge Week Carries Otto Porter to the Top of the NPOY List

Posted by DCassilo on March 1st, 2013

awardtour

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

As we hit March, the NPOY race looks like it’s down to four players: Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee and Otto Porter Jr. While it’s almost certain that one of those four will take home the hardware, it’s almost impossible to decide on a clear front-runner. Look around the Internet, and you’ll see each of those players No. 1 somewhere. In a season with no clear-cut best team, a race like this for Player of the Year is fitting. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out over the next 17 days.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

10. Jack Cooley – Notre Dame (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.4 PPG, 11 RPG

Cooley & Martin Will Likely Be Overlooked Again (AP Photo/J. Raymond)

Cooley has had a lot to celebrate this season. (AP Photo/J. Raymond)

One of the few players from a major conference to average a double-double, Cooley has been a quiet force on an overlooked Notre Dame team. He’s not going to make any top 10 highlight reels, but he is going to be the reason the Irish win games. This week: March 2 at Marquette, March 5 vs. St. John’s

9. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG

The Ohio State junior is what he is — a scorer who can do some rebounding. He does both every single night, regardless of defense. Thomas is a really good college player that is close to being a great one. This week: March 5 at Ohio State

8. Cody Zeller – Indiana (Last Week – 5)
2012-13 stats: 16.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG

Zeller has shown a knack for disappearing in big games, and Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota was no different. He went just 2-of-9 from the floor before fouling out with nine points. He can’t do that in March. This week: March 2 vs. Iowa, March 5 vs. Ohio State

7. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – 9)
2012-13 stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG

As Gonzaga appears poised to grab the No. 1 ranking, Olynyk is on a tear. The junior has made at least 70 percent of his shots in his last four games. Regardless of competition, that’s pretty impressive. This week: March 2 vs. Portland

6. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 22.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG

At a time when his team desperately needed it, McDermott had one of his best games of the season on Wednesday for Creighton. The junior finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds against Bradley. He will need to do that routinely for this team to go anywhere. This week: March 2 vs. Wichita State

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ACC M10: 02.27-28.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 28th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Ken Sugiura spent a day with Brian Gregory, taking in the coach’s in-season routine. These stories are always worth a read just because all coaches are so different in their approaches (though at the highest level, nearly all are tireless in their pursuit of winning). The things that stick out at first glance are the emphasis Gregory places on religion and family. Hardly two paragraphs go by without a mention of his faith, and the one thing part of his schedule unrelated to basketball is his family. 
  2. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: After Miami’s loss to Wake Forest, Jim Larranaga took measures to fix the team’s focus issue. That meant trading interviews for film and getting back to basketball. One thing it’s easy to overlook is the amount of time off the court players spend promoting their or their schools’ brands. Not promoting in the usual way, but through media interviews or events on campus. Nearly every article you read that’s published a day removed from game day included an interview. That time adds up–especially if your team is successful. The attention can also be distracting if it alters how you prepare or execute (look at Jeff Bzdelik’s road record if you want to see the reverse situation).
  3. Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician: John Castillo looks at the alternate universe where Virginia Tech isn’t added to the ACC over Syracuse (with some help from WhatIfSports.com). But the game simulations aren’t the most interesting thing by a mile. Virginia Tech turned out to be a slam-dunk grab by the ACC because of its success in football (Miami on the other hand…). If the ACC chooses another basketball-first school over Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State would rightfully be upset about the conference’s football brand. Also, Virginia’s statehouse would be upset too. Now bring in conference realignment and suddenly the ACC is much less stable than currently.
  4. Baltimore Sun: Seth Allen suffered a pretty grisly bicycle accident when he was 12. He shattered his elbow and was told he might never play basketball again. Luckily, after a long rehab he is able to play and is one of the more exciting players in the league. Allen still lacks control, but Maryland doesn’t have anyone who’s comfortable running the point and in control. Mark Turgeon likens Allen to a less polished Shane Larkin, but that comparison doesn’t do Larkin justice. Both are exciting point guards with the ability to score, but Larkin’s speed is on another level. Allen’s scoring is probably better than Larkin’s though.
  5. CBSSports.com: After Florida‘s loss to Tennessee, the conversation about one-seeds is getting a little tighter. What does the Gators’ loss mean for the ACC? Most importantly, it means that Miami and Duke could both get one seeds. A few things need to happen: Duke needs to take care of Miami at home, both teams need to win their remaining games and at least make the semifinals of the ACC Tournament (finals would be better), and Duke needs to look more like its early season self once Ryan Kelly returns. Even then, they’ll probably need some help from the Big Ten and the Big East. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC M5: 02.26.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 26th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Blogger So Dear: John Mundy is back at the keyboard, so his story is back on top of the Morning Five. This time he (and a photographer) visited two of the great arenas of ACC lore, Carmichael Auditorium (the current home to North Carolina’s women’s team) and Cameron Indoor. He went to see the Wake Forest women compete, but his real purpose was to soak up the ambiance of the two venerable old gyms. Interestingly, he came away with two very different reactions: At Carmichael, he found a reflection of North Carolina, but “at no point in my trip to Duke did I think one second about Duke University,” Mundy recalled. He only thought about basketball.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Speaking of Duke, the Blue Devils have a tough week ahead of them with games at Virginia and against Miami over the stretch of three days. It will be a good test for both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments, where talented opponents will be waiting around every corner. Duke’s ACC schedule was backloaded (both in talent and frequency), as it took the Blue Devils 34 days to play the first half of ACC play and will take only 28 for the last half.
  3. Charlottesville Daily Progress: For at least the second straight year, an important ACC freshman has gone down with mononucleosis. Mike Tobey will be back for Virginia after missing five games with the long, strength-sapping illness, which is much less time than Patrick Heckmann missed for Boston College last season. That bodes well for Tobey, who may be able to avoid losing the amount of ground Heckmann did (when he came back, he was a shadow of his former self). Tobey came back for Virginia’s beat-down of Georgia Tech, which should be a warm-up for Duke later this week.
  4. Spartanburg Herald-Journal: Freshman Jordan Roper has been seeing his role grow in importance since day one at Clemson. The South Carolina native has played more than 30 minutes in the Tigers’ last four games. He’s scored in double figures in three of those four games, including a career high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting against Miami. Roper is a good shooter, a rarity on this year’s Clemson team, but he needs to work on facilitating more when he’s in the game.
  5. ESPN: Dean Smith is the godfather of tempo-free statistics. He started charting points per possession way before it was cool. Tempo-free stats still haven’t taken off like advanced baseball statistics (which are terrific predictors), but they’re picking up force. More and more you hear announcers talk about “efficiency” or “effective field goal percentage”. Myron Medcalf talked to Jim Larranaga, who quoted Sun Tzu to emphasize the importance of stats (Miami charts points per possession on a special scoreboard during its practices).
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Award Tour: Trey Burke And Marcus Smart Rise to the Top

Posted by DCassilo on February 22nd, 2013

awardtour

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a real college all-star game? First of all, it would give every team a break it needs, and second, seeing the top players face off would be great. Imagine something like Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott, Jeff Withey and Kelly Olynyk against Marcus Smart, Deshaun Thomas, Otto Porter Jr., Mason Plumlee and Cody Zeller. Personally, I would love to see Burke and Smart run their teams against each other. I know there is some lame all-star game during Final Four weekend, but a mid-season game is something that the NCAA should consider.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

10. Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 15 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.4 APG, 2.9 SPG

It’s amazing that Smart not only is this great already but also has so much room for improvement. In the double-overtime loss against Kansas on Wednesday, he was the most important player on the floor despite going 2-of-14 from the field. One more offseason of workouts will make him a lethal player. This week: February 23 at West Virginia, February 27 at TCU

9. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – 10)
2012-13 stats: 17.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG

Kelly Olynyk's Breakout Year Has Gonzaga As One Of The Nation's Elite Offensive Teams (USA Today Sports Images)

Kelly Olynyk’s Breakout Year Has Gonzaga As One Of The Nation’s Elite Offensive Teams (USA Today Sports Images)

There is likely no better frontcourt tandem in the nation than Olynyk and Elias Harris. The two combine to average 32.5 PPG and 14.4 RPG. There are few teams in the country that will be able to match up with that duo in the NCAA Tournament. This week: February 23 vs. San Diego, February 28 at BYU

8. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 20.1 PPG, 6 RPG

Thomas is just a straight-up gunner. He takes 16 shots per game and has scored in double-figures in every game this season. It seems nearly impossible to completely take him out of a game defensively. This week: February 24 vs. Michigan State, February 28 at Northwestern

7. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last Week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 22.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG

For all his accolades as a scorer, McDermott’s ability to rebound often gets overlooked. The 6’8″ junior has eight double-doubles so far this season and has hauled in as many as 13 rebounds in a game. This week: February 23 at St. Mary’s, February 27 at Bradley

6. Jeff Withey – Kansas (Last week – 6)
2012-13 stats: 13.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.0 BPG

At the most important part of the season, Withey is playing his best basketball. He’s had double-doubles in his last three games, which is something he hasn’t done all season. The 14 rebounds against Oklahoma State on Wednesday were a season-high. This week: February 23 vs. TCU, February 25 at Iowa State

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ACC M5: 02.20.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 20th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Miami Herald: Massive news out of Coral Gables, as Miami received its notice of allegations from the NCAA, just days following the conclusion to the NCAA’s investigation of itself (that included firing an up-and-coming executive). Despite throwing out nearly a fifth of its evidence, the NCAA still went after the dreaded “lack of institutional control.” Apparently Miami asked to meet with the NCAA’s Committee of Infractions this weekend, which tells me they’re not interested in doing any soul-searching. Relatedly, unlike a previous report stated, Frank Haith was not alleged to have committed unethical conduct. More from Miami’s side of the story below.
  2. Miami Herald: While it was in the article above, I didn’t want you to miss this. So here’s Donna Shalala, Miami’s president, taking a war club to the NCAA in her statement on receiving the notice of allegations. The statement is an evisceration. Miami and Shalala mean business.

    The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation “corroborated”—an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice. [...] Finally, we believe the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation. [...] We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process.

    This is going to be big and it’s going to be ugly. At this point — barring the NCAA backing down in a big way — I’d be shocked if this didn’t end up in court. And Shalala isn’t someone you want to mess with.

  3. Baltimore Sun: Speaking of things bound to get ugly that are already in court, a North Carolina judge denied Maryland‘s motion that the ACC’s suit over the conference exit fee is invalid. Basically, the easy way out has been closed. Now Maryland has to decide whether to try and settle — the most likely outcome — despite the ACC holding the cards, or keep fighting the suit. Regardless, a lot of money will no doubt change hands.
  4. Wilmington Star News: Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams aren’t usually thought of as coaching award candidates unless their teams are doing what Miami is currently doing in ACC play. But this year both coaches faced a challenge. Krzyzewski got hit with another injury to arguably the team’s second most important player (along with a nagging injury to the third). Despite Duke’s three losses since Ryan Kelly went down with injury, the Blue Devils have generally held their own. There aren’t many coaches in the country with the ability to alter their style mid-season as seamlessly as Krzyzewski. On the other end of Tobacco Road, Williams also is experimenting with minor changes in his system — namely, playing small ball. It’s a moot point (Jim Larranaga will win the award this year), but don’t overlook good coaching because there’s ample talent to be coached.
  5. Basketball Prospectus: Another man doing some serious coaching is Tony Bennett, whose team has thus far edged out Duke for runner-up in conference efficiency. Miami leads the way — and it’s not really close — thanks to the Hurricanes’ stifling defense. There’s a really big drop-off after Virginia and Duke. The ACC could have two Final Four caliber teams when all is said and done if Kelly returns from his injury long enough before the postseason to be reintegrated at Duke. Miami’s proved its worth in conference play; Duke proved its in non-conference play. The battle next Saturday should be epic regardless.
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Award Tour: Mason Plumlee Back at No. 1; A Farewell to Nerlens Noel

Posted by DCassilo on February 15th, 2013

awardtour

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

College basketball suffered a devastating loss when news broke that Nerlens Noel had torn his ACL in Tuesday’s game against Florida. Perhaps the best defender in the country, Noel was starting to come into his own offensively. The injury has once again sparked the debate about the one-and-done rule. First of all, know your target with this debate. It’s the NBA, not the NCAA. David Stern came up with the rule, but the biggest effects have been seen in college basketball. The positive for the NCAA has been increased exposure. Everyone wants a chance to see players like Noel before they hit the big show. But on the flip side, it’s tough on coaches who can’t plan their recruiting as easily as they used to. And finally, there’s the health risk for the player. This is another reason why I think there needs to be some sort of union-like body watching out for college athletes’ interest. If we knew a player like Noel would be taken care of financially in the event of an injury, I don’t think people would have as big a problem with the one-and-done rule.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

10. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 17.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG

The big man for Gonzaga is as consistent as they come, seemingly giving the Bulldogs somewhere between 15 and 20 points every single night. Some say this is the best Gonzaga team ever, and he deserves much of the credit for that. This week: February 16 at San Francisco, February 20 vs. Santa Clara

9. Ben McLemore – Kansas (Last week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 16.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG

The drop for McLemore is mostly because of the terrific weeks by other players on this list. The freshman didn’t do too badly himself, as he poured in 30 points in a win over Kansas State. This week: February 16 vs. Texas, February 20 at Oklahoma State

8. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 4)
2012-13 stats: 20.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG

Deshaun Thomas Makes the Buckeyes Very Tough to Beat

Deshaun Thomas Makes the Buckeyes Very Tough to Beat

As one of the few Buckeyes that can score, Thomas keeps posting 20-point games because he keeps getting a lot of shots. The junior has taken at least 15 shots in each of his last five games and fewer than 11 just once all season. This week: February 17 at Wisconsin, February 20 vs. Minnesota

7. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last Week – 3)
2012-13 stats: 23 PPG, 7.7 RPG

Losers of three straight and perhaps headed for a seat on the bubble, McDermott’s team is playing him out of the Player of the Year race. While he has played well, he’s missing the memorable performances he needs to overcome everything working against him. This week: February 16 at Evansville, February 19 vs. Southern Illinois Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC M5: 02.15.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 15th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Fayetteville Observer: Props to Brett Strelow for finding useful information from the hideous headliner for ESPN’s Rivalry Week. Strelow focused on Tyler Thornton, paralleling the short defensive-minded Duke point guard to another short defensive-minded Duke point guard Steve Wojciechowski. The story commented on Thornton possibly becoming a coach (something I hadn’t thought about before but would make a lot of sense) as well as Mike Krzyzewski fighting North Carolina’s small line-up (and foul trouble) with Thornton at the four. All in all, it was a terrible game, but there’s a lot of good stuff here. As an aside, this shouldn’t be a story. After the game, Coach K ran out on the court to keep his players and security off the court (there was a weird clock situation where it didn’t start and then started late), not to stop the fans from rushing the court.
  2. Riddick and Reynolds: James Curle took the ACC to task for wasting its last shot at a somewhat normal schedule before conference expansion truly takes hold. This year, for the first time since adding Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami, the ACC had more home and homes than single game series. But the schedule is just as unbalanced as ever. Duke only plays two of its seven home and homes on either the first or second half of its schedule, meaning only Maryland and Miami get Duke on both sides of the halfway point in conference play. It seems like the conference would take advantage of the 18-game season, but no.
  3. Gobbler Country: It’s no secret Virginia Tech‘s basketball team is struggling. A lot of that blame lies with Jim Weaver, the athletic director, for firing Seth Greenberg a month after the season ended. The justification–which unlike the timing and method made sense–was that Greenberg’s staff turnover wasn’t sustainable. But it’s starting to look like the turnover is as much a result of Weaver’s cheapness as Greenberg’s abrasiveness. That’s an issue. And will hamper Virginia Tech now and in the future. You have to invest in a coach and a staff to succeed year in and year out in college basketball. If Virginia Tech won’t pay up, Weaver can’t expect top-flight results. End of story.
  4. The Virginian-Pilot: In case you haven’t been watching Charlottesville closely, Joe Harris has been phenomenal. Like first-team All-ACC phenomenal. He’s got the Cavaliers in sole possession of third place in the ACC (with some help from the ACC’s aforementioned unbalanced schedule) and in surprising contention for a bid to the Big Dance. He’s doing it with great shooting that’s finally broken free of his streakiness of past.
  5. NBC Sports: Miami isn’t used to the big-time on the hardwood, and the Hurricanes clearly need some work on sologans (though Michigan’s “We On” wasn’t much better). They went with “40 Minutes of L” with a picture of Jim Larranaga. The obvious problems are the Hurricanes don’t run Nolan Richardson’s defense and that “L” will always be associated with losing.
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