ACC M5: 10.29.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on October 29th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Run the Floor: Michael Rogner released his ACC preview and it’s worth a look. It can be biting (poor Paul Jesperson), but it’s a good read to catch up on all the teams around the conference in one place. The most interesting question raised in the preview is about Florida State’s defense. One argument for why the Seminoles suffered last season is that their front line was very young. This year the seven-footers are all a year older, but it’s unclear if one is ready to take charge of the paint. It may be another bizarro year in Tallahassee for Leonard Hamilton‘s team where his offense is better than his defense — especially if Ian Miller stays healthy.
  2. AP (via Fox Sports): Brian Gregory is a little noncommittal about Georgia Tech’s potential success this season. He sounds optimistic but quickly points out that the Yellow Jackets have a ways to go. One thing that you should know about his team is that they are talented. Not stacked like some teams in the league, but better and more experienced than you might think. Unfortunately, that was also true of Gregory’s Dayton teams that always seemed to have an offensive ceiling. Georgia Tech is definitely moving in the right direction as a program, but if it’s not significantly better offensively this year, there will be cause for concern.
  3. CBSSports.com: Yesterday morning, it was unclear when we’ll know about PJ Hairston‘s suspension. According to Roy Williams the decision should be made before the season opener in two weeks. He also offered this gem of a Williams-ism when asked about Hairston’s status:

    “Well crap, the NCAA made a decision on (Texas A&M quarterback) Johnny Manziel in frickin’ two days… It’s not all my choice kind of thing. I really don’t believe I’ll suspend him for half a game either.”

  4. AP: Brad Brownell is finding his silver lining in that next season the Tigers will return all their best players. That’s because he doesn’t have any seniors. Brownell is right, though — this is the turning point where Clemson becomes his program. But he’s also in a tough spot this season because the team relied so heavily on Devin Booker and Milton Jennings last year. KJ McDaniels is a very good player, but Booker was criminally underrated on both ends of the floor. Continuity may end up being great, but Brownell needs standouts for Clemson to get to the next level in the ACC.
  5. Duke Report: Non-Duke fans may want to avoid this interview with Christian Laettner (don’t worry, the video below is still awesome), who now has a basketball academy where he goes around doing coaching clinics for teams across the country (the best part that fits his personality perfectly: He offers a discount to teams in Kentucky and Connecticut because of the pain his buzzer beaters caused). Laettner offers advice to the incoming freshmen and talks noncommittally about moving up to coaching. He also douses Mike Krzyzewski in praise throughout the interview. It’s a good but a little over the top read.

EXTRA: Uncle Drew is back and still awesome.

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It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume IV

Posted by jbaumgartner on December 3rd, 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… the challenge that John Calipari has on his hands. He proved that he could win a title last year, but the question in coming years is whether his one-year-and-out philosophy can continue to bring home the hardware that UK fans believe should be the norm. Several bad losses in a row, however, are showing that this group is not at the talent level of last year’s champs. In many ways, this should be a great test – if UK is not the most talented team in the country, does Calipari have the coaching chops to keep them in the conversation? Stay tuned.
  • I LOVED… thinking about upcoming Louisville battles with Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse after the Cardinals were selected to replace Maryland in the ACC. While I’ve had about enough of this whole conference realignment fad in the last couple years, the addition of these two Big East powerhouses to such a basketball-crazy conference is definitely reason to smile (and the folks over at ESPN just might feel the same way).
  • I LOVED Larry Brown. There are only a few coaches out there who can walk into an under-the-radar (nice-speak for “not relevant”) program like SMU and declare that they’re going to be “pretty good pretty quickly.” Fortunately LB has the resume and personality to do just that. Do I think they will be? No way. But just hearing his enthusiasm made me smile and think – now wouldn’t that be something….

Larry Brown Is Off to a Good Start at SMU

  • I LOVEDRasheed Sulaimon’s assertiveness as a freshman. This kid is going to be good, but more importantly he’s exactly the type of wing playmaker that the Blue Devils have been missing all the way back to Kyrie Irving’s injury, if we’re being honest. Sure, he probably takes a few more heat checks than Coach K might like, but he puts constant pressure on the D with his quickness and aggressiveness, has a promising stroke from deep, and should allow Duke’s other guards (read: Seth Curry) to spot up and reap the benefits of inevitable double teams from penetration. Duke is very good this early in the season, and if they’re still around in April, Sulaimon will be a big reason. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC M5: 11.01.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 1st, 2012

  1. Wilmington Star News: Brett Friedlander is putting out some good stuff in previewing the ACC season. Today his Maryland preview came online. Sophomore Nick Faust describes why people should expect improvement from the Terrapins despite losing their only offensive option in Terrell Stoglin: “When I first got in last year, I definitely felt as though the team was separated — not separated, but we definitely weren’t as close as we are now. All of us bond together, even the new guys that came in. We’re just more together; we’re one.” If Faust makes the improvement most are forecasting, this is a team that could feasibly make a run for the NCAA Tournament (regardless of computer rankings). They’ve definitely got an uphill road ahead, but it’s a legitimate possibility.
  2. Rome News-Tribune: Georgia Tech needs its frontcourt to step up this season if the Yellow Jackets are going to make the leap to middle of the pack in the conference. Juniors Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey both improved significantly as last year went along — Miller scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games. But Georgia Tech desperately needs more offense this season, and that frontcourt duo should be able to help senior Mfon Udofia carry the scoring load.
  3. Greensboro News-Record: The NC State hype is real. At least fans are buying into it, quite literally. With their highest preseason ranking since ranking first in 1974, the Wolfpack have already sold 1,900 more season tickets than last year, which is the highest season ticket sales have been in five years. If Mark Gottfried and his team can deliver on the hype, expect ticket sales to keep climbing. Fans should get their money’s worth, even if the Wolfpack don’t finish as the sixth ranked team in the country. This team will be fun to watch, especially on the offensive end.
  4. Tallahassee Democrat: People often point to freshmen when talking about why young teams struggle, but it’s the veterans who also have to accept new roles. Last season, Ian Miller and Okaro White were two incredibly important reserves for Florida State: Miller’s job was to come in and put up quick points; White’s job was to give Bernard James a breather. This year both will have to be leaders by helping integrate the new freshmen to Leonard Hamilton’s system. If they succeed, the freshmen will find their roles much faster and this team could win the conference. If they don’t, the team could find itself sneaking into the NCAA tournament.
  5. ACCSports.com: David Glenn cleaned up at the ACC’s “Operation Basketball” this season, recording interviews with most of the conference’s top players. The best news? Most of them are compiled in the same place, so you can listen to Michael Snaer talk Florida State, Julian Gamble talk Miami, or Jarell Eddie talk Virginia Tech. Probably good to get a little listening in, as ACC basketball season starts just over a week from today.

VIDEO UPDATE: Uncle Drew (aka Kyrie Irving) is back.

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One-and-Done Rule: Status Quo With Several (Not Good) Options…

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2011

An interesting thing happened last weekend. The NBA lockout came to a close and the single most impactful aspect of the labor negotiations on the sport of college basketball was left on (or under) the table without a decision yet made. It had been widely speculated for months, even years, that NBA ownership was heavily in favor of changing its draft eligibility rule from the current much-maligned one-and-done format  — where players are eligible for the NBA Draft one year after their high school class graduates and when they turn 19 years old – to the more brand-friendly two-and-through/20 years old format. The general idea behind this proposal is to protect owners from themselves in drafting unproven prospects with the dreaded ‘upside’ moniker attached, as well as to allow players to develop from both a maturity and basketball standpoint. And don’t discount the ever-important marketing perspective — it’s far easier for a team to promote a Derrick Williams after he destroys Duke in the NCAA Tournament than a Monta Ellis who nobody has ever seen play before.

Williams is a Name Brand Draft Pick (Getty/Kevork Djansezian)

This issue, along with several other “B-list” considerations such as drug screening and D-League assignments, will have to be sorted out prior to finalization of the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners tentatively scheduled for next Friday, but perhaps the most intriguing development is that, according to this Yahoo! Sports report, the league may in fact simply come to terms with the players in formulating a committee to study the matter further. Say what?

The shelving of the age minimum debate buys the league more time to deal with the high-profile and impactful issue.

How much more time does the NBA need? Not only has one-and-done been in effect since the 2006 NBA Draft (over five years ago), but couldn’t someone have put a few hours toward researching this topic during the 149-day lockout period? The league and players know what the issues are here, and they’ve known for a considerable amount of time. Yet, what’s perhaps even more perplexing is that one of the apparent motivators for studying the options available is to look at the tried-and-true MLB model where players can enter the draft after high school, but if they choose to enter college, they must stay for two or three years.

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ACC Morning Five: 12.01.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 1st, 2011

  1. Grantland – ESPN: Shane Ryan has a slightly different take on Duke‘s loss at Ohio State than I did, especially regarding Austin Rivers‘ performance. He likened the performance to Kyrie Irving’s game against Arizona last season. I vehemently disagree with the idea that Irving or Rivers gave Duke less of a chance at winning, though. I also disagree with the new criticism (not necessarily from Ryan) of Rivers that his style will work well in the NBA but not in college. How does that make sense? If someone can score against the top defenders in the world, why shouldn’t they be able to score against less talented opponents? It’s true Rivers’ game is different than the average college star, but that means Mike Krzyzewski has to find the way to best integrate his star frosh into the system, not the other way around. Ryan’s most interesting point is that “Mason Plumlee effectively played Jared Sullinger to a draw.” I agree with this, even though I think Sullinger could have been more dominant if his team had needed more from him.
  2. Greensboro News-Record: Speaking of Duke – Ohio State, did you know that Duke had won 35 straight November games dating back to 2006 before last night? Oh wait, the Worldwide Leader and many other media outlets crammed the stat down your throats. These arbitrary winning streaks are a huge pet peeve of mine because they provide very little context for the game at hand. Current winning streaks (including ones that date back to the previous year), home winning streaks and conference winning streaks matter. Qualifying it with a month doesn’t. I’m glad Eddie Wooten agrees with me.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: This might be my favorite lede of the night:

    Georgia Tech didn’t need an ACC/Big Ten matchup to find a challenge, just another day in the maiden season of Coach Brian Gregory.

    But don’t let a lopsided final score fool you; Georgia Tech hung with Northwestern for most of the first half behind an outstanding game from sophomore Jason Morris (who had a career high 21 points). Surprisingly, what let the Yellow Jackets down was defense. Georgia Tech will be very raw offensively, but they have the athletes (and coach) to play very good defense. If they don’t want to be in the bottom three of the conference, their D will have to improve.

  4. Raleigh News & Observer: Like Georgia Tech, NC State got blown out in the second half (to a fairly good Indiana team). But the Wolfpack loss should be a good learning experiment. Lorenzo Brown played very well and CJ Leslie recorded a double-double off the bench. But like the Yellow Jackets (and Duke yesterday), the Wolfpack defense struggled. This NC State team should be an interesting one to watch: It has the talent for an NCAA berth, but also has the inconsistency to miss the NIT. If I were a betting man I’d choose the former, but talk to me after a couple more tough nonconference matchups at Stanford and against Syracuse.
  5. Greensboro News-Record: In 2008 Roy Williams went off on Coach K, “I don’t give a crap what somebody else says, but coach their own damn team, I’ll coach my team.” Eddie Wooten turned that back on the Tar Heels’ coach in response to Williams most recent drama with the fans behind North Carolina’s bench. It’s surprising that Williams cares so much about the space directly behind the bench. I know those seats are reserved for boosters (a term which includes all season ticket holders), but one guy selling (or giving away) his ticket to a game out in Las Vegas does not seem like a big deal.
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Duke and UNC Will Square Off In An Alumni Game on November 17

Posted by KCarpenter on November 8th, 2011

Even though real, meaningful basketball has started, indulge me for a bit more while we talk about one more meaningless game. Nolan Smith hinted at it on Twitter a couple of weeks ago and it turns out that the rumors are true: There will be a Duke-North Carolina alumni game featuring some of the very best players in each program’s respective histories. To return to one of the more tragic themes of this fall — the sadness of NBA fans is transmuted into joy for college basketball fans. Due to the NBA lockout, this alumni game is expected to include a sizable number of current NBA players. For Duke, last year’s stars in Smith and Kyrie Irving will team up with some of last decade’s stars, namely Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, and Chris Duhon. For the Tar Heels, the lineup is headlined by a number of stars from the 1990s: Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter,  and Brendan Haywood.

Duke Stars Together Again?

Notably lacking from either lineup is the presence of many players from the mid-2000s. While Raymond Felton is expected to play for UNC, and Gerald Henderson will suit up for the Blue Devils, some young blood might add a little more spice to the game. Some accounts, notably this one by Duke Basketball Report, suggest J. J. Redick will play, which would certainly be a welcome addition. The most conspicuous missing name, though, is Tyler Hansbrough. In the Kentucky Villains game, Hansbrough showed that he wasn’t absent from the exhibition circuit. That combined with his continued presence in Chapel Hill during the lockout would seem to make him a prime candidate for taking part in this game.

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ACC Team Preview: Duke

Posted by mpatton on November 2nd, 2011

And then there were two.

Duke is a very tough team to project this season. The Blue Devils lost their top three players (Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving) from last season, but there’s still plenty of talent and a Hall of Fame coach on the sideline in Durham. Thoughtful preseason rankings slot Duke anywhere from fourth to ninth nationally, which seem very reasonable for where Duke could finish the season — not necessarily where it should start.

The team’s two major questions are, “who will run the offense?” and “will any of the frontcourt players finally live up to his potential?” Duke’s relative success depends almost solely on these questions. Of course, one thing we forget is that both questions also faced the Blue Devils when Kyrie Irving went down after the Butler game last year. To that point Nolan Smith had not played much point guard since the first half of the 2009-10 season. During Duke’s National Championship year Mike Krzyzewski moved Smith to the off-ball position, ceding the point guard spot to Jon Scheyer. If not for Brian Zoubek’s miraculous ascension from unproductive bench-warmer to one of Duke’s most important pieces, the guard switch would have garnered much more attention. Smith excelled while working off the ball and Scheyer limited Duke’s turnovers to the absolute minimum.

Duke Needs Seth Curry to Take Over as Floor General This Year.

But once Kyrie Irving’s foot problem arose last season, Duke was again left without a quarterback. The best choice was to move Smith back to the point, although Krzyzewski experimented with Tyler Thornton and Seth Curry there briefly as well. The result was Smith leading the ACC in scoring and nearly leading the conference in assists. Of course Smith was a special player. His career arc only answers the question that it’s possible for Seth Curry to step up and lead Duke. Read the rest of this entry »

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NBA Lockout Speculation: Two-and-Through All But Certain?

Posted by rtmsf on November 1st, 2011

Today the RTC preseason All-America Team was announced, and it contains three sophomores on its first team who could have been viable 1-and-done prospects last spring had the NBA’s labor situation not been so tenuous. Those players are Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes. The second team has two more — Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb and Baylor’s Perry Jones, III. The third team has two players who may declare for the NBA Draft after this, their freshman, season — Duke’s Austin Rivers and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.

Battles Like These Between Barnes & Jones Could Become the Two-Year Norm (Getty/C.Trotman)

It’s no secret that the top talent in college basketball these days tends to skew younger, as our inclusion of seven freshmen and sophomores to our three preseason All-America teams clearly exhibits. In a different year assuming those five sophomores were already in the NBA, we might have included more freshmen such as Connecticut’s Andre Drummond or Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash on our list. But we didn’t have to, and the reason for this is that the pool of talent is deeper this season than it has been for the last five years, in the same way that the last half-decade was more talented than the prep-to-pros era of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Now, imagine if the following players were also back: Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Texas’ Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, Tennessee’s Tobias Harris, Kansas’ Josh Selby. You see where we’re going with this. And the NBA brass, always thinking about its own worldwide marketing of star players and its bottom line, does too. According to Chad Ford over at ESPN Insider, one of the few areas of consensus among the key folks in the ongoing NBA owner and labor negotiations is that 1-and-done is likely on its last legs. Two-and-Through appears to be the new standard. From Ford’s piece:

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ACC Morning Five: 10.27.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 27th, 2011

  1. ESPN (Insider): I normally avoid Insider posts, but North Carolina resident Dave Telep gives us a peek under the bleachers at the uglier side of high major recruiting in college basketball that’s really a must-read for college basketball fans. Telep cites Lebron James as the first player who really took advantage of his worth and marketed himself during high school. Without giving too much away, Telep names three types of elite prospects: the clean, the agent/runner-influenced, and the bold, who just directly asks for money. The rest of the post almost reads like a how-to guide for cheating, but the one thing I wish Telep had offered was a solution. It’s no secret that there’s plenty of dirt behind high major basketball recruiting, but informed solutions are hard to come by.
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been quite a bit of turnover as far as ACC basketball coaches go. So much that Georgia Tech junior Mfon Udofia only managed to name five and a half (he knew Mark Gottfried was “the guy from Alabama”) conference coaches, not counting his own. Four ACC coaches are entering their first years and three are on their second. Mike Krzyzewski compared the recent influx of coaches to the early 1980s when he, Bobby Cremins and Jim Valvano joined over the course of two years. Those shoes are pretty big ones to fill (six NCAA Championships, myriad Final Fours and countless ACC titles clutter the three resumes).
  3. Huffington Post: Syracuse professor Boyce Watkins takes on the NCAA’s “funny math.” Watkins points out that while 96% of NCAA revenue does go back to the schools, the NCAA fails to calculate the incredibly high salaries of coaches. Watkins also points out the hypocrisy of paying college basketball players the same as their soccer brethren without factoring in the huge discrepancy between the coaches’ respective salaries. He also lays out policies that would more fairly represent the current NCAA system: for example, no games on school nights (ironic side note: the Ivy League actually adheres to this in conference play for basketball but not for Olympic sports), and coaches shouldn’t be able to sign endorsement deals. The anti-NCAA side of things has really gained momentum over the last six months, and I don’t think this trend will stop at partial cost of attendance stipends.
  4. Searching for Billy Edelin: Nick Fasulo got credentialed to see ESPN Film’s newest documentary, Unguardable. The movie covers Boston College (and later Fresno State) guard Chris Herren, who fell from the top of recruiting rankings to truly rock bottom. If this is anywhere near as good as Without Bias, it’ll be must-see TV. And from Fasulo’s review, it might be even better. Hennen managed to survive his bout with drugs and serves as the storyteller, leaving no middleman narration to distance the audience from the subject. Unguarded airs next Tuesday at 8PM on ESPN.
  5. CBSSports.com: Kyrie Irving is using his NBA lockout time off to help keep a promise to his family and get a degree. The first pick in last year’s NBA Draft is apparently back on Duke’s campus taking courses. This isn’t to say Irving is the only one: According to CBS, 52 current locked-out players (15% of players without college degrees) are using this time to pursue degrees they left for the greener pastures (and paychecks) of the NBA.

EXTRA: This story isn’t basketball related, but Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Staples hits the ball out of the park with his interview with former North Carolina assistant football coach John Blake. Blake’s side of the story has remained largely offstage, so it’s interesting to hear it from the man himself. The Tar Heels’ date with the NCAA Committee of Infractions is scheduled for this Friday. This just goes to show, not all stories are as black and white as they seem.

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ACC Morning Five: 10.26.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 26th, 2011

  1. ClemsonTigers.com: In celebration of 100 years of Clemson basketball, the athletic department nominated 72 Tiger alumni of whom 25 were chosen based on most fan votes. The roster is a little heavy with recent graduates, which comes as no surprise: Clemson was mostly irrelevant in basketball until the last couple of decades; and fans most likely voted for players they saw play. Trevor Booker, Horace Grant (Clemson’s lone ACC Player of the Year), KC Rivers and last year’s star Demontez Stitt headline the list.
  2. CBSSports.com: Jeff Goodman checks in after watching Duke practice with ten thoughts that include some doubts about the Blue Devils’ chemistry. Notably, Goodman agrees with Mike Krzyzewski‘s statement that Austin Rivers has a lot of maturing to do before living up to his high expectations; he also notes that despite his demonstrated success in China, Ryan Kelly can’t be expected to be this team’s star because of problems with inconsistency and defensive liabilities. The bottom line is that this Duke team is talented, but there are far more questions with it than with Duke teams of the past. It could be one of Coach K’s toughest coaching challenges, especially with the talent residing down the road in Chapel Hill.
  3. Washington Post: Duke might have questions, but Georgia Tech has legitimate rebuilding to do (both literally and on the court). The Yellow Jackets are looking at a depleted roster, a new coach and an under-renovation stadium. However, Brian Gregory is trying to look at the silver lining of splitting time at two arenas: “My hope is that, even for home games, we’ll start to build some of that chemistry that only develops in hotel rooms and on bus trips and in locker rooms, sitting on bad chairs, those type of things.” It’s an interesting point, though the lack of talent and experience will probably hurt the team more than its chemistry. Still this season is important for Gregory’s program to take that first step towards a better future.
  4. Yahoo: Marc Spears caught up with Harrison Barnes to talk about his decision to return to Chapel Hill this season. In many ways the lockout gives Barnes’ decision a “hindsight is 20/20″ look, but the quotes from Barnes definitely point to someone who really wanted to return to school. Spears also talked to Barnes about Kyrie Irving and his decision to turn pro: “We talked a lot about what it would mean if we left, what it would mean if we stayed. He played in 11 games and they had him slotted so high that it was kind of hard to turn it down. I felt like I had to make up a lot of ground. I don’t think another year would hurt me [sic].” It’s certainly better for college basketball that a guy as talented as Barnes is coming back, but you definitely can’t fault Irving for recognizing his moment and realizing a lifelong dream.
  5. Boston.com: Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik is looking to improve on last season, which seems like an attainable goal. He stresses his team’s maturity, both physically and mentally, compared to last season: “We have a team that works hard, a team that is together, a team that is hungry and humble and a team that is feeling the pain from last year, as I am,” Bzdelik said. I still think the Demon Deacons are a year or two away from truly turning things around, but I definitely agree that they should be better (I mean, they can’t get much worse).
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ACC Morning Five: 10.19.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 19th, 2011

  1. ESPN – Grantland: Grantland‘s “Why ____ Will Win the National Championship” series continues with Duke, the weakest team of the five profiles. But don’t let the title keep you from reading the post, which does a great job at assessing the outlook for this year’s team. To sum things up, no one really knows how good Duke can be this year (though he projects a Sweet Sixteen). The one point I disagree on is that Coach K should not have played Kyrie Irving during the NCAA Tournament. Yes, Nolan Smith carried Duke on his back for most of the season; and yes, Nolan Smith played terribly once Irving came back. But if you look at Smith’s progression (minus the ACC Tournament championship game), he began struggling in March. I think Krzyzewski knew that to win he had to put the best team on the floor, and Kyrie Irving was a part of the best team he had. Not to mention if Arizona plays that  second half against any college team, it wins by a lot. But read the article: it’s funny, informative and insightful.
  2. Charlotte Observer: Mark Gottfried had his old boss, former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, at practice with him yesterday. Harrick is a somewhat controversial figure, as he’s seen NCAA trouble nearly everywhere he’s been. NC State athletic director Debbie Yow was quick to point out that Harrick is serving as a “mentor” and “personal adviser,” and not a “university employee” to avoid any rumor or innuendo. But Harrick’s presence was also a reminder of Gottfried’s former success: in addition to a solid head coaching career, Gottfried was an assistant on UCLA’s 1995 National Championship team.
  3. Miami Herald: New Miami coach Jim Larranaga isn’t playing games. Durand Scott earned 20 minutes on a stationary bike after showing up to practice with his shoelaces untied in a motivational statement that appears to be along similar lines to Mark Gottfried referring to CJ Leslie as “Calvin.” While FrankHaith comes across as a player’s coach, Larranaga is decidedly old school: he’s stressing discipline and fundamentals. I for one am very interested to see how his system works, as he’s inherited a talented team from his predecessor. Look out for the Hurricanes come January with Reggie Johnson back in the line-up.
  4. ESPN Boston: In case you haven’t seen Boston College‘s updated roster, they’ve added a lot of guys since Steve Donahue took over a little over a year ago. The team has nine freshmen slated for next year. His monster class is headlined by ESPNU Top 100 recruit Ryan Anderson, but a lot of the other players were more under the recruiting radar. In an interview with ESPN Boston, Donahue expressed his excitement at being able to offer scholarships for the first time, but also made things clear: “Down the road maybe we redshirt one or two of those guys, but we’ve got guys that are high-character, skilled and can play, and in a couple of years they’re gonna be really good.” This is raising a couple of red flags for me personally, as NCAA scholarships are renewable on a year-by-year basis. It makes sense that Donahue would seek to fill up his roster, but what happens if there’s another top 100 recruit up for grabs next season?
  5. Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest recruit Devin Thomas wants to be an instant impact player when he suits up as a Demon Deacon next season. Thomas is joining a large 2012 class that looks to be Jeff Bzdelik’s best bid to right the ship. According to his coach Thomas has matured considerably over the last year, and should be a solid rebounder from the start. Based on Wake’s rebounding percentages last season (they ranked an absolutely abysmal #283 in defensive rebounding and #321 in offensive rebounding, according to Ken Pomeroy), and their increased off-the-court troubles, Bzdelik should be thrilled with both.
And now for the image of the day:

Awesome Image of Muggsy Bogues and the Wake Forest Basketball Team (credit: SI Vault)

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Morning Five: 10.05.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 5th, 2011

  1. Official practices start in a little over a week, but players around the country are already involved in conditioning and individual instruction as the season quickly approaches.  As a result, we’ll start to see an uptick in unfortunate injury news as was reported Tuesday that Missouri senior Laurence Bowers has torn his ACL and will miss the entire 2011-12 season.  The 6’8″ forward is a massive loss for a Tiger team already thin across the front line, and it will be felt particularly in the hustle areas of offensive rebounding and blocked shots where the bouncy Bowers excels.  Kim English will more than likely to slide over to Bowers’ position at the four, while center Ricardo Ratliffe, the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year in 2010-11, will be asked to considerably increase his production of 11/6 per game.
  2. Missouri was the epicenter of college basketball news on Tuesday, as one day after the Big 12 unveiled its new revenue sharing plan for Tier I & II broadcast television rights, the school’s board of directors announced that it had unanimously authorized chancellor Brady Deaton to explore its conference affiliation options.  The backroom snapshot of this, of course, is that Missouri thinks that will receive an invitation to become the SEC’s fourteenth member institution, bringing along the 21st and 31st largest US media markets with it (St. Louis and Kansas City).  Whether this sets off another free-for-all of rapacious deal-making/breaking that sets the Big East and Big 12 completely on fire remains to be seen, but if Missouri ends up following Texas A&M southeast, the Big 12 will have to answer in kind.
  3. Western Michigan sophomore forward and Fab Five progeny, Juwan Howard, Jr., is transferring back to his hometown of Detroit to play at Detroit Mercy for his remaining three seasons of eligibility.  Howard had a very successful freshman campaign at WMU in 2010-11, averaging 9/4 off the bench in just over 23 minutes per contest, and he will be eligible in 2012-13 at his new school.  If Ray McCallum, Jr., is still playing for his father next year, a team that was already on the rise looks even better with Howard and McCallum in the lineup.
  4. With the NBA lockout continuing indefinitely (talks on Tuesday reportedly did not go well), Jeff Goodman checks in with several former NCAA stars who are currently back on campus earning a few more credits toward their college degrees.  Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Texas’ Tristan Thompson, Tennessee’s Tobias Harris, and UCLA’s Kevin Love are but a few of the names current students are shocked to find in some of their classes this fall.  Obviously, we think this is great and highly encourage these guys to continue along that path — we only wish more of them would see the value in it while they’re still in college, but alas… maybe the new NBA collective bargaining agreement will take care of that issue for us.
  5. We’re late to this article, but RTC alumnus John Gorman at GossipSports gets out his tin foil hat and begins connecting some of the open and notorious dots between the power players behind the scenes in the conference realignment discussions.  His target: the marriage between IMG College and its client schools, ESPN and its conference affiliations, and all of the dollars flowing back and forth between them.  It’s a really interesting piece, just try to not pay attention to the person opening his umbrella on the grassy knoll while you’re reading it.
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