Team Managers Plan Tourney to Crown Nation’s Best

Posted by Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker) on February 19th, 2016

How do you determine which school has the best managers? Is it the school whose white uniforms are the whitest? The school with the most perfectly folded towels? The school where managers grab the most rebounds during practice? How about a 64-team basketball tournament with the final four teams meeting at the real Final Four in Houston? That last one is the dream of Michigan State managers Ian May and Andrew Novak, and Spartans’ assistant athletic director Kevin Pauga. But once that idea was on the table, even more questions emerged: How do you play? What if you can’t play every game? When’s the best time to play? How do you fit it into a bracket, still have fun and draw attention to the hard-working managers?

Imagine showing up to a pickup game and Juan Dixon is on the opposing team. That was the athletic predicament that some are now facing. (AP)

Imagine showing up to a pickup game and Juan Dixon is on the opposing team. That was the athletic predicament that some are now facing. (AP)

May formed a Twitter account in January 2015, @B1GManagerHoops, to track Big Ten managers’ basketball games last season, and enlisted Novak to help run it a short time later. The conference had informal manager games dating back at least to Pauga’s time as a manager – which started in 2000 – but the Twitter account and corresponding blog catalogued results and kept conference standings for the manager teams of the 14 schools for the first time. An online group message on the GroupMe app allowed the Big Ten managers to schedule games much more easily than they ever had before. “I made the Twitter account because I heard that teams were keeping their own records and there was a phone notepad, a little scratched-together thing of records that I got a hold of, and then from there I just started keeping track and I would gather up the scores just from people tweeting at me just in the Big Ten,” May said. “And then we had the same ambitions for this year, which was doing the Big Ten, and then all of a sudden we started getting scores from around the country.” Read the rest of this entry »

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End of an Era: Maryland’s Last Trip Down Tobacco Road Brings Back Old Memories

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 18th, 2014

Saturday night’s Maryland loss at Duke closes a historic chapter in ACC basketball history. It marks the Terrapins’ last visit as an ACC member to the Triangle area, long considered the heart of the conference (just ask Gary Williams). That game, a two-point loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium, seems like an appropriate last act in a long-running drama that has been playing since the formation of the ACC in 1953. Duke’s victory had many of the same elements that these games have had for years — specifically, a hard-fought, passionate contest with questionable officiating that ultimately resulted in another frustrating loss for the Terps.

The 1974 Maryland-N.C. State ACC Championship Game Sparked Changes to NCAA Tourney. (photo courtesy of CNN Sports Illustrated and Sports Then and Now)

The 1974 Maryland-N.C. State ACC Championship Game Sparked Changes To The NCAA Tourney.
(CNN/Sports Illustrated)

Maryland fans have long expressed the feeling that their team just couldn’t get a fair shake on Tobacco Road. Check out this game recap from a 1974 Maryland-N.C. State game in Raleigh. Near the end of the article, Terrapins’ head coach Lefty Driesell is quoted as follows: “My complaint is the charging calls against us,” Driesell said. “I’m not saying the calls were wrong but it’s only called that way in this part of the country.” He is certainly not alone in thinking that Maryland was at a distinct disadvantage when playing conference games in the Tar Heel State, whether they were on a rivals’ home courts or in the frequent ACC Tournaments held in Greensboro or Charlotte. As Maryland prepares to join the Big Ten next season, let’s take a look at some of the other memories that Maryland will be leaving behind.

Maryland was a charter member when the ACC formed prior to the 1953-54 basketball season. Although the Terrapins captured an ACC title in 1958, it wasn’t until the fiery Driesell arrived prior to the 1969-70 campaign that Maryland basketball became nationally relevant. At the time, North Carolina and N.C. State were the top programs in the league, but Maryland quickly joined them and produced some classic games that had a major influence on the rising popularity of the sport. In 1973, the ACC and its TV broadcast partner, C.D. Chesley, decided to go big with the N.C. State – Maryland game in College Park as a prelude for sports fans to the NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday showcase event. The 87-85 win for David Thompson‘s Wolfpack in front of a nationally-televised audience was a highly entertaining game that helped push the reputation of the ACC as the best and most exciting hoops conference in the country.

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ACC M5: 11.29.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on November 29th, 2013


  1. Washington Post: Huge news out of College Park this week, as Dalonte Hill has resigned from Maryland’s staff. That opened up a spot for Dustin Clark to be promoted and Juan Dixon to be hired as a special assistant (after he completes his degree). According to Dixon, he’s always wanted to be a college coach, so he’s been in Mark Turgeon’s ear about getting onto the staff during the past few months. If Dixon is half the coach as he was a college basketball player, this will be a great move. He should be an invaluable tool in recruiting local guys (although he can’t go on the road).
  2. Orlando Sentinel: Ian Miller is a big part of Florida State’s dramatic turnaround. Montay Brandon definitely deserves some credit, but Miller’s offensive prowess and experience make him a key cog in Leonard Hamilton’s machine. Last year Miller was injured and unable to practice, but he dropped 25 pounds and is back to being the exciting player people predicted he would be when he transferred. It’s clear from his comments that his injury caused Miller to rededicate himself to the game.
  3. Winston-Salem Journal: This Dan Collins interview with Devin Thomas seems especially prescient considering how closely Wake Forest played Kansas. However, Thomas needs to learn when to walk away, as shown by his two technical fouls over the course of two minutes. Watching the game it was unclear exactly why he got the techs, but he can’t put himself in that position to begin with. Still, after the Demon Deacons played Kansas competitively (even spotting them free throws from three technical fouls while missing boatloads of their own), it’s clear that Wake Forest’s record wasn’t just a fluke.
  4. CBS Sports: Jabari Parker is something else. Matt Norlander does a pretty good job putting his uniqueness into words with this ode after Duke’s win over Alabama. There’s still room for improvement (especially on defense), but Parker is a force rarely seen at the college level. He has range, a post game and an unbelievable array of moves all over the court. One concern for Duke has to be Rodney Hood’s no-show on Wednesday night. The Blue Devils need him to be a factor (and to stay out of foul trouble), but another amazing stat is that Parker has scored 20 in every game thus far.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: The News & Observer ran a special section on Dean Smith in honor of his recent Presidential Medal of Freedom award. While you’re reading Andrew Carter’s article, don’t forget to check out the timeline of Smith’s career or his record. Smith’s mentored everyone from Eric Montross to Roy Williams to John Swofford.
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Morning Five: 11.29.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 29th, 2013


  1. When Andy Enfield made his statements criticizing Steve Alford and Tim Floyd we figured that he would hear about them. We just never figured it would be in a public place in front of journalists. As Seth Davis detailed, Floyd approached Enfield and began yelling at him in front of Enfield’s wife and a group of onlookers. Assistants for both schools had to step in to separate the two. It’s unfortunate that the two had to air out their differences so publicly, but Enfield had to expect some blowback after his arrogant comments.
  2. It appears that the Chane Behanan 2012 Final Four controversy has come to a rather abrupt end. Upon hearing about the auction Behanan’s mother called his grandmother, who he had given the ring to. She said that she had put it in a box in her bedroom, but when she checked she discovered that it was not there. When the family contacted Gray Flannel saying that the ring had been stolen the company promptly returned the ring to Behanan. While it is a plausible story it does seem strange that the company gave the ring to Behanan so quickly if they did any investigation at all into his claims.
  3. Floyd and Enfield may have embarrassed themselves with their actions, but they were not the only ones in the college basketball community to embarrass themselves. Craig Neal‘s wife, Jean, has been accused of attacking a school administrator and could be heading to court as a result of it. Former El Dorado High School assistant principal Susana Stanojevic has filed a lawsuit claiming that Janet Neal assaulted her after a high school basketball game in February in which Janet’s son played. Stanojevic is claiming that the school board knew that Janet had a history of such outbursts and did not protect Stanojevic from her. It is worth noting that this is not the first time that Stanojevic has filed a lawsuit against the school board.
  4. When Dalonte Hill was arrested for the third time for a DUI we figured it was only a matter of time before he stepped down (or was forced to do so). On Wednesday, after having taken a leave of absence from the team from quite some time, Hill finally officially resigned. Hill’s primary role was to help the team in recruiting in the D.C. metro area, which is something that he did to a degree, but not at the level that was needed to make the Terrapins competitive in the upper echelon of the ACC (and soon to be Big Ten). Although the news is certainly negative for Maryland as they attempt to increase their reach in recruiting, they did get one positive as they announced that Maryland legend Juan Dixon was joining the staff as a special assistant to Mark Turgeon.
  5. We have heard a lot of strange excuses for why a player is not eligible, but that of two Egyptian players–Aly Ahmed and Ahmed Hamdy–is a new one. They claim that they were misled by former Rice and FIU assistant Marco Morcos who told them to spend a second year in prep school prior to entering college despite NCAA rules arguing against that. For his part, Morcos denies any influence. Although the schools where the two players are waiting at now (Cal State Bakersfield for Ahmed and Houston for Hamdy) appear to be confident that the NCAA will change their mind based on the report that Morcos misled the two players we tend to agree with John Infante that the two are out of luck because they need to know the rules.
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It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume III

Posted by jbaumgartner on November 26th, 2012

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… Ohio State. Maybe I’m jumping on the bandwagon too early, but I grew to really enjoy this team by the end of last year and feel strongly that they have two unique pieces in Aaron Craft and DeShaun Thomas. An elite (albeit annoying, in my view) point guard and a versatile wing scorer are two of the more important components in the college game, and any team that possesses them has a chance to be a tough out.
  • I LOVED… as I do every year, trying to figure out how deep this Gonzaga team can go. Each season I really get a kick out of trying to imagine the Zags playing against good competition all year, eventually accepting the reality that they don’t, and then trying to piece together a mental image of what team will show up in March when they inevitably get hit in the mouth by a legit squad with good guards. Still, it’s hard not to like Mark Few’s lineup this season. Not many teams will shoot it better than Gary Bell, Jr. and Kevin Pangos, and even though Elias Harris is turning 32 or so next week, he’s an active presence on the glass to complement a VERY underrated Sam Dower. I guess the Zags can’t be a sleeper in the traditional sense, but this might be their best (and most well-balanced) team in a while.
  • I LOVED Tom Crean showing no shame with his stick of Wrigley’s finest. How can you not love this? If strict adherence to the five-second rule and the world’s weirdest/creepiest Tweet ever doesn’t appeal to this generation’s high-schoolers, I don’t know what does.

  • I LOVED… reading this Sports Illustrated article on Michigan’s Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Glenn Robinson III. It seems like we get plenty of stories every year about father-son relationships gone bad, but this was a rather refreshing example of two kids that have really gone about things the right way and made it through the tougher parts of living in the shadows of their NBA All-Star dads. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Weekly Five: 08.06.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on August 6th, 2012

  1. News & Observer: The crown jewel of North Carolina State’s highly touted incoming class is, without question, Rodney Purvis. The Raleigh native and scoring sensation, however, has hit a small word block in that the NCAA has begun reviewing Purvis’ eligibility. This is not an unusual situation and, as of right now, there is nothing too alarming about it. Purvis was part of the Upper Room Christian Academy’s first graduating class, which means that the school has not yet gone through a full NCAA review — meaning that the examination of his eligibility seems to hinge on nothing more than the school’s newness. Still, the unfortunate result is that the vaunted freshman will miss the Wolfpack’s trip to Spain and the Canary Islands and not get the crucial live-game experience which can be so valuable for young players just getting to know their teammates.
  2. Wilmington Star News: Of course, while North Carolina State’s international trip features beautiful Barcelona and the storied Canary Islands, Wake Forest and coach Jeff Bzdelik went a different route in planning the Demon Deacons’ international trip. The Deacs are going to Canada on a brief jaunt that’s going to include only two games and some sightseeing in Toronto and Niagara Falls. While the trip will surely be a great experience for the young players, it lacks the glamour of the Wolfpack’s Spanish journey or Duke’s eventful tour of China last summer. Bzdelik is understandably concerned about the physical toll of the season on what is going to be a very young and inexperienced team, but something tells me the players would rather be somewhere more tropical than Ontario.
  3. NBC Sports: Rob Dauster follows up a fairly interesting article on college basketball teams that had unlucky seasons last year with a sleeper pick that will be interesting for ACC fans. Dauster likes Miami, a team that will be returning a good deal of experience and talent, to make a big run in the conference. The combination of Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson is one of the more potent frontcourt punches in the league, but the question for next year will be the same as last year: Can the two remain on the court, standing strong against the twin scourges of injuries and foul trouble? If they do, Miami might surprise some people.
  4. Washington Post: Maryland basketball legend Juan Dixon is going to be inducted into the the university’s Hall of Fame, a fairly reasonable move considering the guy’s Terrapin resume. Dixon is the all-time scoring leader for the Terps and led the team to a championship in 2002. He was named the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Player, a first team All-American, and ACC player of the year in that same season. One of Maryland’s all-time greats, his induction into the hall certainly seems well-deserved.
  5. Fayetteville Observer: The NC Pro-Am is a welcome summer basketball sight for ACC fans. Featuring a host of college players and former college players from the four Tobacco Road schools, the circuit is a great chance to get a fresh look at incoming freshmen, see how returning players are progressing, and finally, see which of the old-timers still has it (hint: Jerry Stackhouse). It’s also a great chance to see lesser-known ballers of all stripes. The Fayetteville Observer does a great job doing mini-profiles of some of the more interesting but not-as-well-known characters who have been making a name for themselves in that crowded Durham gym.
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ACC Morning Five: 04.02.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on April 2nd, 2012

  1. Draft Express: This is a very good breakdown of Kendall Marshall‘s game from Joseph Treutlein. The short version is pretty straight forward: Marshall is an elite passer and game manager, but he doesn’t look for his own offense and is a defensive liability. I don’t think Marshall will ever be a good defender, but Ricky Rubio definitely made him some money this year with his passable perimeter defense. Trerutlein’s points about Marshall looking for his own offense more definitely paint an optimistic picture (though I expect he’ll need to rely far more on his jumper than driving at the next level). The bottom line is Marshall is a very good point guard in a draft nearly empty of NBA-ready point guards.
  2. Washington Post: This is a cool look back at Maryland’s national championship and the expectations of that season ten years ago. In a way, it’s reminiscent of Duke’s crushing beatdown from UNLV in 1990, the way the Terrapins rebounded from a crushing loss to Duke (after they held a 22-point lead) in 2001. Only two members of that Maryland team are still in the NBA (Steve Blake and Chris Wilcox), but don’t let that make you think the team has forgotten. It sounds like one man off the roster, from Gary Williams to Juan Dixon, could recount that season from start to finish.
  3. ACC Sports Journal: Andrew Skwara doesn’t mince words as he grades six ACC seasons. So far Florida State leads the way with an A with Duke tailing with a B thanks to the Blue Devils’ embarrassing loss to Lehigh. I think the second half of the conference (alphabetically speaking) is a little more interesting to evaluate: What grade for NC State after a disappointing regular season and terrific postseason run? What about Miami? Were Wake Forest’s improvements good enough to earn a decent mark?
  4. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Good news for Coral Gables, as Kenny Kadji announced he will return to Miami for his senior season. Kadji will be critical for the Hurricanes’ success because he gives Jim Larranga a stretch four to help open up the paint for Reggie Johnson and Durand Scott. Johnson will still be the biggest piece: if he comes back and gets in shape, Miami could contend for a top three or four conference finish. If he doesn’t, the Hurricanes are looking at the middle of the pack.
  5. Yahoo!: Duke stayed America’s favorite college basketball team this year, edging out Kentucky and North Carolina. I would like to see more poll numbers, but Duke’s national brand certainly plays a huge role in a study like this (my guess is Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky are fairly close, but even other blue-bloods lack the national audience to maintain their relevance. However, with Duke taking what looks to be a step backwards next year, could the Wildcats and Tar Heels may overtake the Blue Devils.
EXTRA: Lance Pugmire sat down with James Worthy to talk about his NCAA title from 30 years ago (interestingly and unrelatedly, the ACC won championships in 2002, 1992 and 1982).
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Highlights from Maryland’s Tribute to Gary Williams Last Night

Posted by mpatton on January 24th, 2012

First, thanks to Bonnie Bernstein for tweeting these images and quotes out last night, as the event wasn’t broadcast anywhere that I could find.

Maryland kicked off it’s two-part celebration of dedicating the basketball court to Gary Williams last night. The event featured his ACC coaching brethren such as Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski, as well as former players Juan Dixon and Walt “Wizard” Williams.

All in all it sounded like a terrific event. I for one, can’t think of two players better (other than possibly adding Greivis Vasquez) to honor Williams’ coaching career. Walt Williams chose to stay at Maryland despite impending NCAA sanctions (thanks to Bob Wade, and piled onto the program’s already tough times of Lefty Driesell’s departure in the wake of the Len Bias tragedy). Basically, Gary Williams inherited a mess and Williams stayed to help rebuild the program. By his senior season, Walt Williams was a second-team All-American and averaged almost 27 points a game en route to beating Len Bias’ single season scoring record at Maryland.

New Logo outside of the Comcast Center Showing Gary Williams' Fist-Pumping Silhouette (credit: @EmmyTerp)

Juan Dixon’s story is very different. Seriously, read it. He grew up the son of two heroin addicts, both of whom died of AIDS less than two years apart when he was a teenager. Dixon battled his way to two Final Fours, a national championship and the all-time career scoring record in College Park. He never looked like a dominant player, but he was always ready to hit the big shot — be it a dagger three or two free throws — to ice a close game. Dixon was one of the best players of the last decade. He’s also someone I will always associate with Gary Williams.

It sounded like a very special event. The second half of the ceremony will be tomorrow night before the 9 o’clock game against Duke. Let’s hope this one is televised.

(h/t Dan Steinberg)

See the images from Bernstein’s Twitter feed and a sneak peak of the court after the jump.

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ACC Team Previews: Maryland

Posted by mpatton on October 27th, 2011

Maryland was very unlucky last season. It ranked 330th out of 345 schools according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical “Luck” element, falling just in between ACC compatriots Clemson and Georgia Tech. However, the team’s flaws contributed as much to its close losses as anything else. First and foremost, Sean Mosley took a step back from a very promising sophomore season and became a virtual non-factor on offense. Terrell Stoglin‘s brilliant play masked Mosley’s absence for much of the season, but the lack of a consistent third option killed the Terrapins down the stretch. Additionally, Jordan Williams had an Achilles’ heel: poor free throw shooting. Williams was the rock of last year’s Maryland squad, but his inability to shoot foul shots well forced him to take on a reduced role at the end of games.

Terrell Stoglin and Jordan Williams Would've Made a Dynamic Duo at Maryland

Looking back at Maryland’s year is like reading The Little Engine That Could(n’t). Gary Williams‘ squad was competitive, only being blown out twice by a middling opponent (once by Miami and once by Virginia Tech). Those two bad losses, though, were balanced byonly two decent wins (vs. Clemson and Florida State). For whatever reason Maryland couldn’t break into that next tier last year.  The year was so frustrating that after hearing Jordan Williams was departing for the NBA Draft, Hall of Famer Gary Williams departed for the cool breezes of retirement. While inconsistency — especially on the recruiting trail — marked the last few years of his tenure, Williams-coached teams regularly flourished during ACC play in the early 2000s especially the 2002 National Championship team headlined by Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon. But the stresses of constantly having to reload from lost players and assistant coaches finally caught up to the head coach after Jordan Williams left his team with very few players and nothing to speak of in the front court. The good news is that the very capable Mark Turgeon was hired away from Texas A&M to take the helm in College Park. Read the rest of this entry »

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2011 World University Finalists – Will the Next NPOY Be Buried on the Bench Again?

Posted by rtmsf on June 8th, 2011

As summer heats up, the various Team USA basketball rosters also start rounding into shape.  One of the better such international events that includes collegians, the World University Games, is scheduled to occur from August 13-23 in Shenzhen, China.  As such, the training camp roster of 22 current college players was released on Wednesday with a goal of cutting the group to a final 12 in late July.  The remaining dozen will spend early August practicing as a team before traveling overseas to represent the United States in an event that hasn’t been kind to the Yanks in the last decade.  Perhaps as a result of increasingly fewer talented players still in college or representative of the world catching up to the USA in basketball, this team has only finished first or second once in its last four outings — the 2005 team led by Shelden Williams (Duke) went 8-0 on its way to collecting gold in Turkey.  Two years ago, the 2009 team went 7-1 with its sole blemish a one-point semifinal defeat to Russia to bring home the bronze.  This year’s team will have its work cut out for it in an increasingly competitive international landscape.  Here’s the training camp roster:   

It’s a guard-heavy group, as Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs, Xavier’s Tu Holloway, Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor all have All-America potential in 2011-12.  This isn’t surprising, as many of the better big men in the game have either opted out of international basketball this summer (Kentucky’s Terrence Jones; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger), or they’re moving on to NBA riches (Arizona’s Derrick Williams; Georgia’s Trey Thompkins; Kansas’ Morris Twins; Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson).  It’s notable that Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine (2010), Northwestern’s John Shurna (2010, 2009), Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2009), Gibbs (2009), and Alabama’s JaMychal Green (2008) have all had previous international experience, which would presumably give each a leg up to make Jim Boeheim’s team this summer. 

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