ACC Team Previews: Miami Hurricanes

Posted by mpatton on October 29th, 2012

Throughout the preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 teams. Today’s victim: the Miami Hurricanes.

Miami never really clicked last season. The team showed flashes of brilliance like in its overtime win at Duke or their home dismantling of eventual ACC champion Florida State. However, more often than not, Jim Larranaga’s team looked mediocre and inconsistent. Reggie Johnson added trying to recover from a knee injury to his ongoing weight issue, which meant he couldn’t stay on the court for extended stretches nor run the floor very well. To make matters worse, senior sharpshooter Malcolm Grant lost his stroke last season, regressing at an alarming rate to an abysmal 34% from the field. This year looks much better on paper, though history certainly calls for caution when prognosticating Miami’s season.

Shane Larkin

Shane Larkin Is The X-Factor For Miami This Season (credit: Paul Abell / US Presswire)

Newcomers

Consensus three-star center Tonye Jekiri and shooter Steve Sorenson are the only freshmen joining Larranaga in Coral Gables this season. However, redshirt freshman Bishop Daniels may prove to have the most impact, as he’s spent the most time with the team. Daniels redshirted last season after missing the first half of the season with a foot injury. He’s a very athletic combo guard known for his leaping and could provide an offensive spark off the bench backing up Durand Scott or Shane Larkin.

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ACC Summer Recess: Miami Hurricanes

Posted by mpatton on July 25th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Miami.

Where They Stand Now

Jim Larranaga Has Plenty of Talent Back in Coral Gables for his Second Year

Miami comes off of another simultaneously successful and disappointing season after finishing 9-7 in ACC play (as modestly predicted last November) last year. The mediocre season led to a two-seed in the NIT, where the Hurricanes got trounced in the second round by Minnesota thanks to a horrendous defensive effort. Still, for Jim Larranaga‘s first season — especially one damaged by the Nevin Shapiro scandal and numerous injuries — a conference record above .500 shouldn’t be taken for granted. The Hurricanes never made the jump from a good team to a great one, but two high-profile wins at Duke and against Florida State showed the potential hidden in the roster.

Who’s Leaving

Malcolm Grant and Dequan Jones hit the road after finishing their final seasons of eligibility, but don’t overrate Grant’s departure. Last year Grant took major steps backward offensively, never finding his shot. For the first three years of his career, Grant was one of the country’s best shooters. He averaged significantly over 40% from deep those years, taking over 200 threes in 2010-11. Three-point shooting made up for his poor finishing skills and lackluster mid-range game, but Grant went cold from downtown in 2011-12 finishing the year at a tepid 33%.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.19.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 19th, 2012

  1. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: This is a great story from Steve Gorten on Malcolm Grant‘s relationship with Jim Larranaga. Grant’s brother died at the end of December from a heart attack, which has put a lot of pressure on him this season. Since his brother’s death, Grant’s basketball game has struggled. But his relationship with his coach seems to be getting stronger, and, oh yeah, Grant led the team in scoring with 16 points in its win over Clemson.
  2. Washington Times: Alex Len jumped out to a torrid start after finally getting his eligibility, but ACC play has seen his production drop off sharply. First, he’s playing better teams that are bigger and more physical. Secon, he’s probably struggling with the pace. The good news is that Florida State is probably Len’s worst possible matchup. The Seminoles are long, strong and athletic. You saw them body up North Carolina’s frontcourt, so it’s no surprise that the freshman center struggled. But Maryland needs Len to produce more, both offensively and defensively, for the Terrapins to fulfill the role of “spoilers” this year.
  3. Fox Sports South: Florida State’s recent offensive explosion is just the most recent conference event to overshadow the two-loss Virginia Cavaliers. But don’t forget about Tony Bennett’s squad, which still has the third-best resume in the conference. Like his team, Joe Harris has gone under the radar for the Cavaliers this season. He’s not flashy, but the 6’6″ shooter is averaging over 12 points a game for a very slow team. His three-point percentages are slightly down from last season, but he’s significantly improved his game inside the arc, knocking down more shots and not turning the ball over. Mike Scott deservedly draws most of the attention, but don’t overlook his supporting cast.
  4. Durham Herald-Sun: The last two years he’s been at Duke, Andre Dawkins has started fast and faded in January. This year, the slump struck early. However, coming off of strong games against Virginia and Clemson, Dawkins may be surging at the right time this season. The one question I have is about Dawkins’ defense. There’s no doubt he can jump (he doesn’t dunk much, but his jams are highlight-reel worthy) and his size makes him an asset on the perimeter. But Dawkins has been a suspect defender from the get-go at Duke. I’m not sure if it’s lateral quickness or slow acceleration, but he always feels a step behind the play. If he can bolster his defense, there’s no doubt his minutes will improve as well.
  5. Carolina March: I’m not sure anyone looked at North Carolina‘s game at Virginia Tech as anything more than a potential road test before the season started. Now? There are major questions about both teams: One is reeling after losing its first three conference games against one of the weakest schedules; the other is coming off a 33-point woodshedding. The bottom line is that both teams are desperate for the win. Normally, I’d say “North Carolina is more talented and will be coming out swinging after reading about its ‘mental toughness’ and ‘intensity’ the last couple of days,” but the Hokies may be even more desperate for the win. This should actually be a very good gauge of North Carolina’s toughness, as I expect Greenberg’s squad to really battle the Tar Heels.

EXTRA: This is the first I’ve ever heard of it, but there’s apparently a national championship for student sections. The weird thing is, I don’t see any real reasoning behind the schools vying for the title. In the ACC, Duke, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia and Wake Forest are the representatives. I’m not sure if you’ve taken the time to watch Miami play this year, but the Hurricanes are lucky to put 200 students in the stands. Georgia Tech is also struggling with attendance in large part because of the team’s expectations and not having a stadium in which to play. Clemson is notoriously loud, but how did Maryland and NC State not make the conference cut? Consider me baffled.

That Looks Like a National Championship Student Section if I've Ever Seen One (Stadium Journey)

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ACC Game On: 01.18.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on January 18th, 2012

Florida State‘s 14 point win over Maryland is impressive because of how little it fits the template of how Florida State has played this past season. The Seminoles allowed the Terrapins to shoot 50% from the field while “only” managing 47.5% for themselves, yet still come away with the decisive win.

Bernard James Led the Seminoles To Its Third Straight Win Last Night (US Presswire)

Leonard Hamilton‘s team won this game by doing two things that they have struggled to do in the early going: prevent offensive rebounds and win the turnover battle.  Maryland managed only seven offensive rebounds despite excelling in this category for most of the season. The Terrapins also turned the possession over a total of 15 times, which isn’t exactly unexpected for a team that has struggled with ball control all season. The small surprise is Florida State’s surprisingly low nine turnovers. Granted, Maryland’s light ball pressure defense deserves a lot of the credit for that, but the win is still impressive for the statement it sends: Florida State won by overcoming its weaknesses. If the Seminoles ever manage to control their weaknesses while flexing their strengths to their fullest potential, the ACC is in trouble.

The Disappointment Bowl

  • Clemson at Miami at 7:00 PM on ESPN3.com

No matter how this game turns out, the combined ACC wins of Clemson and Miami will double after the final buzzer sounds, a sad statement on two teams that I thought would be ready to go dancing in March. Clemson’s single win comes from a surprising drubbing of Florida State, which was then bizarrely followed by a loss to Boston College, though the subsequent loss to Duke is a little more understandable. Miami comes into this game without a single conference win, but considering that their schedule started with Virginia and North Carolina on the road, the lack of a win is much less surprising. In any case, neither team has managed to come together quite like it should, but with Miami slowly but steadily coming together, I like them to get the win in their home opener. Reggie Johnson is still playing his way back to where he was last season and Malcolm Grant has been in as bad a shooting slump as he’s ever been in his career, but newcomers Kenny Kadji and Shane Larkin add an extra dimension to a team that is bursting with potential.

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Miami Vice: Hurricane Stars Clamp Up in Conference Play

Posted by mpatton on January 11th, 2012

Matt Patton filed this report from last night’s UNC-Miami game in Chapel Hill.

After last night’s UNC-Miami game, Roy Williams mentioned all of the Hurricanes’ pieces. Most of the compliments went towards the frontcourt of Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson, who both held their own offensively against the Tar Heels. But in the end, Williams pointed to Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott as the engine that makes Jim Larranaga’s team run. Yet Grant and Scott combined to go 6-20 from the field in Miami’s’ 73-56 loss. A 9-0 North Carolina run to close out the first half knocked Miami flat the rest of the way. But this isn’t about one loss. It’s bigger than that. It’s Larranaga failing to adapt to North Carolina’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing the Tar Heels to run with abandon for much of the first half. Sure, a 10-3 foul discrepancy in favor of North Carolina didn’t help matters — nor did the Tar Heels’ suffocating defense — but Miami played itself out of this game.

Reggie Johnson was a moderately Bright Spot in Miami's Loss to North Carolina

Every year I overrate the Hurricanes. Scott and Grant are (on paper) one of the best backcourt duos in the ACC. Scott combines sick athleticism with size to take contact around the rim while Grant knocks down shots and can also create for himself. Juxtapose the talented backcourt with Johnson and the rapidly-developing Kadji, and the Hurricanes have a strong starting five. Shane Larkin also appears to be growing into his role as a spark plug off the bench at point guard. Oh, and Larranaga is an accomplished coach with Final Four experience. But things still haven’t come together. The team still looks like it will finish somewhere in the middle of the pack before making a mini-run in the ACC Tournament.

So what’s wrong?

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Big East Morning Five: 01.05.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on January 5th, 2012

  1. After some debate about who would start in place of injured center Chris Otule, Marquette coach Buzz Williams went with Jamil Wilson in lieu of Davante Gardner. But in the end, Gardner played 31 minutes and Wilson played just 14, and none of it mattered because neither made a big enough impact to stop Georgetown from rallying from a 14-point deficit at halftime to stun the Golden Eagles in a marquee early season conference match-up. Wilson finished with just four points and two rebounds while Gardner managed 11 points and four rebounds as Marquette lost its second straight game.  They did a good job containing the Hoyas’ underrated frontcourt, but it was Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson as usual who made the difference in the end. This would have been an excellent road win for the Golden Eagles, but alas, that will have to come from somewhere else.
  2. It isn’t every day that high-profile basketball coaches speak with true candor, but I guess when you are Villanova coach Jay Wright, and your team is 7-7 and in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight seasons, you don’t really have to worry about sugar-coating anything. Wright placed the blame for his team’s slow start squarely on himself and the rest of the Wildcats’ coaching staff, but he surprisingly lamented the loss of some of the team’s recent transfers, even going as far as to single out Taylor King and Malcolm Grant by name. The reason these players got their names in the newspaper was because Wright correctly thinks that his team is lacking leadership and toughness. They are also — at least according to KenPom — lacking in defense (#113 in Adjusted Defense ), creation of turnovers (#327 in defensive turnover percentage), and luck (#329), but who’s counting anyways? The point is, the program has fallen on hard times at least for the time being. There is no reason to believe that the Wildcats will stay down given Wright’s recruiting and coaching ability, but Villanova fans might want to start looking forward to next year rather than hoping for a miraculous turnaround in this one.
  3. One of Sports Illustrated‘s finest, Luke Winn, took the changing of the calendar to reflect on a few of his preseason predictions, including one that pegged Syracuse, Louisville, UConn, and Pittsburgh as the top four teams, and a severe drop-off after that. It’s hard not to agree with thoughts like Syracuse being the conference’s best team by a wide margin, and that the conference’s middle teams are as “soft” as they have been in a long time. I still think Louisville, despite its offensive struggles, will be a Top-10 team at the end of the year and UConn has a great chance to be in the mix as well. As for Pittsburgh, well, let’s just say that until they learn how to stop anybody, they look as soft as the rest.
  4. Yearning for more X’s and O’s links, well you are in luck, because The Mikan Drill broke down Pittsburgh‘s effective fast break and gave senior forward Nasir Robinson some high praise for his basketball IQ in the process. Much like Brad Wanamaker was last year for the Panthers, Robinson is a tough but versatile player who provides leadership, intelligence, and attitude for a team still finding its identity. I will leave the film breakdown to the more experienced, I just agreed that Robinson deserved some credit for his play and felt like highlighting it and probably will again in this space.
  5. Excellent piece recently in The Chicago Tribune about DePaul sophomore Cleveland Melvin and his journey to the Chicago after growing up on the rugged streets of East Baltimore. Melvin, the team’s leading scorer, rebounder, and shot-blocker, was the lone bright spot (23 points and eight rebounds) for the Blue Demons in their conference-opening loss to Syracuse. He will likely play another big role tomorrow night when DePaul looks to upset Pitt. In fact, I am calling it here early, I think DePaul, playing at home, against a struggling team that still doesn’t have the services of a healthy Tray Woodall, will pull off the upset tomorrow night. Of course it is just as likely that Pitt’s offense is too much for DePaul’s bad defense, even without Woodall, and this game turns into a blowout. But I will take the Blue Demons in this one.
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Checking In On… the ACC

Posted by mpatton on December 14th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference. You can follow him on Twitter @rise_and_fire.

Reader’s Take

 

Top Storylines

  • Wake Forest’s Dynamic Duo: The Demon Deacons may not be the prettiest team to watch, but CJ Harris and Travis McKie are lighting up the box score. We knew (even if I, in a gaffe of all gaffes, left him off my All-Freshman team last year for Ryan Harrow) Mckie was going to be one of the ACC’s top players this year, but Harris has been a very pleasant surprise. The pair are efficiently combining for nearly 57% of Wake Forest’s points through the first 10 games of the year. Harris has already made as many threes as he made all last season on 18 less attempts, and he’s significantly more effective inside the arc. It remains to be seen how Harris will adapt to the defenses of ACC play, but so far he has to be leading the “surprise of the year” category.
  • Duke’s Post Presence: That’s right: after two solid years of berating the Plumlees as overrated and generally poor basketball players, it’s time to give credit where it’s due. Mason Plumlee has developed into a very good big man. No, he can’t make a free throw to save his life, but he’s much better offensively everywhere except the boards than he’s been the last few years. He developed a couple of solid post moves, stopped turning the ball over as much and learned to hold his ground on defense. If he can either learn to crash the offensive glass or hit 60% of his free throws, I’m confident in saying he’ll be one of the top three or four bigs in the ACC this season.
  • That’s right, the ACC Digital Network launched this season. Check out JR Reid break down North Carolina‘s softness and the conference power rankings. So far the coverage is fairly limited, but as it expands this could become one of the better sources of information for ACC fans.

Power Rankings

  1. North Carolina (8-2) stays atop the rankings with a hard-fought win over Long Beach State, which better get rewarded by the Selection Committee in March for playing such a tough non-conference schedule. The Tar Heels dominated on the inside with John Henson and Harrison Barnes leading the scoring, but it is worth noting that this is  another game where four Tar Heel starters played more than 30 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Morning Five: 12.09.11 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 9th, 2011

  1. CBS Sports: Virginia Tech‘s Blacksburg campus was under lock down yesterday after a gunman killed two people before taking his own life. It’s been five years since the horrific shooting that shook the campus as well as the nation. If any small solace can be taken from the tragedy, it’s that Virginia Tech was uniquely well-prepared for dealing with this kind of emergency and the lock down and subsequent search for the shooter went about as well as could be expected. This is obviously a story bigger than basketball, but Seth Greenberg, aside from being stuck in his office for most of the day, seemed calm and unworried during the lockdown once he made sure his daughter, a student and cheerleader at Virginia Tech, was also safe.
  2. Sports Illustrated: Luke Winn is at it again with his power rankings. For those interested in North Carolina, Winn breaks down the results of Tyler Zeller‘s second half possessions against Kentucky, as well as Anthony Davis’ second half possessions against North Carolina. The frustrating thing for Carolina fans will be the confirmation that yes, Zeller gets the ball in great position, but he often squanders it.  For Duke’s power ranking commentary, Winn shares an interesting Mike Krzyzewski anecdote from the Sportsman of the Year profile and somehow ties it to Austin Rivers.
  3. Testudo Times: Pe’Shon Howard‘s recovery is going much quicker than most expected. The school posted a photo of Howard with his cast off and reports have him practicing with the rest of Maryland‘s team. The folks at Testudo Times are, in fact, incredibly optimistic about the recovery of Howard, speculating that he might play as soon as December 23. Howard, a sophomore point guard, could provide a great lift for this team. In his freshman campaign, the guard showed a real talent for distributing the basketball as well as hitting three-pointers. Last year, Howard famously hit a buzzer-beater to lead the Terrapins to victory against the College of Charleston.
  4. Soaring to Glory: Boston College was the only ACC team to play last night and though they walked away with a loss against Providence, there is reason for hope. The Eagles finally started to look like a team playing with a consistency and chemistry that hadn’t been evident in past games for more than few minutes. Despite the loss and the ugly-looking statistics, I find myself agreeing with the author that this was perhaps their strongest team performance to date.
  5. Sun Sentinel: Kenny Kadji has been effective coming off the bench for the Hurricanes. The Florida transfer isn’t starting, but he is averaging plenty of minutes at center, where Miami has been missing the excellent Reggie Johnson as he recovers from an injury. The 6’11″ sophomore’s strong play has been an early highlight for a team that too often relies very heavily on guards Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant to carry the load. Kadji is one of three transfers who join Miami this season.
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Checking In On… the ACC

Posted by mpatton on December 6th, 2011

Matt Patton is the ACC correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter @rise_and_fire.

Reader’s Take

 

Top Storylines

  • Kentucky and North Carolina: College basketball’s “Game of the Century” lived up to the hype coming down to the last possession (even if it ended bizarrely) and was fun from start to finish (well, almost finish for Tar Heel fans). The game was a reminder that North Carolina can be the team people thought it would be coming into this season. The Tar Heels were aggressive, knocked down perimeter shots, and controlled a little over half of the game. Harrison Barnes was outplayed by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but Kendall Marshall was passable on defense [Author's Note: That wasn't meant to be a bad pun. He actually played solid defense on Teague most of the game.] and his usual self on offense (though I was very surprised he saw as much time guarding Marquis Teague as he did, considering Teague’s turnover woes). I’m not sure any college basketball fan would mind seeing a rematch this spring.
  • Terrell Stoglin Can Score: Unfortunately, his teammates are struggling to keep up their end. Only three BCS-conference teams (Penn State, Washington, and Utah) have players with higher usages, and none have players more likely to take a shot (shot percentage). Stoglin is the only player on the team averaging over 20 points a game with 22.4. His field goal percentage could be a little higher, but right now he’s the best scorer in the conference. For more on Stoglin, check out our post from yesterday on his scoring ability.
  • Sportsman of the Year: Mike Krzyzewski and Pat Summitt joined the prestigious ranks of Sports Illustrated‘s “Sportsman of the Year” winners and are only the third and fourth college basketball coaches to be chosen for the honor (Dean Smith and John Wooden are the other two). Both are worthy choices, as they both signify excellence over the course of 73 combined years of coaching.

Terrell Stoglin is Maryland's Offense.

Power Rankings

1) North Carolina (6-2) lost to the #1 team in the country on the road by one point. But it was the second straight game that the Tar Heels were unable to control the tempo. Is this a problem going forward, or is the defense good enough to win ugly?
Ken Pomeroy Fun Fact: The only player in Roy Williams’ rotation that is not averaging over a point per possession? James Michael McAdoo (fellow frosh PJ Hairston leads the team with a 129.0 offensive rating).

2) Duke (7-1) hasn’t played since last week. My guess is this means a lot of quality time watching film on Ohio State.
Ken Pomeroy Fun Fact: Duke has the third worst free throw defense in the country, as opponents are shooting a whopping 80.6% from the charity stripe against the Blue Devils this year.

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Checking In On… the ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 2nd, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

Reader’s Take

 

Top Storylines

  • ACC/Big 10 Challenge: I’m not sure we can call it a challenge this year, as the ACC was dismantled 8-4 (with two of those wins being upsets). I don’t put much stock in the Challenge results although I do think it’s the best of the conference duels. I also think the Big 10 is a much better basketball conference than the ACC. The lone conference highlights came from Wake Forest and Virginia. The Demon Deacons got their second straight BCS-conference victory over Nebraska (on the road no less). To put the milestone in perspective, last season, Wake Forest didn’t win any road games against BCS competition and only won two home games against major conference schools. Meanwhile the Cavaliers rebuffed their critics (read: me) by beating a talented, well-coached Michigan squad.
  • Tar Heel Questions: North Carolina may be the best team in the country, but  any aura of invincibility was shattered by UNLV bum rushing the Tar Heels out in Las Vegas. UNLV played extraordinarily well: it exploited mismatches, slammed North Carolina inside and knocked down open shots. The Tar Heels left with major questions about who will take over games in tough spots, and whether John Henson and Tyler Zeller could step up inside in big moments. The big men reverted back to earlier seasons’ form, Henson settling for ill-advised jumpers and Zeller settling for no shots at all.
  • Austin Rivers Criticism: High profile recruits going to high profile schools generate high profile expectations. But less than ten games into the season, in my opinion, is a little early to say that Austin Rivers cannot fit into Duke’s system. The statements are coming from Duke fans, Duke haters, and journalists alike. It’s true that Rivers hasn’t seamlessly moved to the college game, but he’s been Duke’s best offensive threat so far this season. Watch the Duke – Ohio State game: the only two offensive factors for Duke were Rivers and Mason Plumlee. Rivers has a well-documented crossover that allows him to get to the rim at will. With a little better shot selection and the occasional pass to open teammates, he’ll be near the top of college basketball’s offensive players relatively soon.
  • Pre-Season Tournaments: We know Duke won the Maui Invitational for the fifth time, but how did other ACC schools fare in tournament play? Boston College took sixth at the 76 Classic (which, for the record has been a “Classic” since 2007) thanks to an overtime win over UC Riverside. Clemson has yet to take place in the Diamond Head Classic (est. 2009), but will take to Hawaii in late December with the possibility of playing a very talented Xavier squad. Florida State struggled at the Battle 4 Atlantis, getting beat by Harvard in the second round before losing a very close game against defending national champion Connecticut in the third place game. Georgia Tech had a mixed trip to the Charleston Classic (est. 2008), losing to St. Joseph’s and LSU with a win against VCU thrown in. Maryland struggled in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, getting blown out by likely NCAA Tournament teams Alabama and Iona. Miami will join Florida, Texas A&M, and FAU at the Orange Bowl Classic in mid-December. North Carolina came away with its first loss from the Las Vegas Invitational. NC State got some very valuable experience from the Ticketcity Legends Classic (est. 2007) losing to Vanderbilt in a close game but coming from behind to beat Texas. Virginia took fourth at Paradise Jam highlighted by a close (but bad) loss to TCU in the first round. Virginia Tech was competitive at the NIT Season Tip-Off, winning the third-place game over Oklahoma State after playing well in a loss to Syracuse. Finally, Wake Forest lost a very close game to Dayton, was blown out by Arizona State, and bounced back with a win over Texas Tech to take seventh at the Old Spice Classic (est. 2006).
  • Boston College’s Identity: Boston College isn’t good, but the Eagles might be better off if Matt Humphrey passed the torch to Patrick Heckmann. Regardless, the Eagles will probably struggle a lot this season, but Heckmann has proven to be very efficient offensively so far.

Seth Curry And Duke Got Undressed By The Buckeyes On Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Power Rankings

  1. North Carolina (6-1): The Tar Heels may have suffered their first loss, but they’re still the best team in the ACC. They got a very good win at home against Wisconsin on Wednesday night, and did it playing Wisconsin’s style. That’s good and bad as it means they succeeded playing a very uncomfortable game thanks to very good defense, especially from Dexter Strickland. However, it also means Wisconsin controlled the tempo. The good news is Kentucky is a very young team that likes to run. This plays right into North Carolina’s hands as it has much more experience running fast, but staying in control.
  2. Duke (7-1): The Blue Devils got absolutely handled at Ohio State on Tuesday, but they still have the best wins in the conference (at least number of quality wins). The worst news in the loss was Ryan Kelly’s disappearance on offense. He and Seth Curry absolutely have to have a positive impact on that end of the floor for Duke to live up to expectations this season. On a more positive note, Mason Plumlee looks like he’s made at least part of the leap people have been expecting since he arrived (still too many turnovers, but very solid otherwise). Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On.. The ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 22nd, 2011

Matt Patton is an ACC microsite writer for RTC.

 

Reader’s Take I

Top Storylines

  • Coach K Gets 903: Mike Krzyzewski made basketball history by passing his mentor Bob Knight on the all-time wins list. The record is a testament to Krzyzewski’s consistent excellence over the last three decades. It was an incredible accomplishment and dictated the better part of a week’s coverage.
  • Eligibility and Injuries Plague ACC: The ACC has five players out with eligibility issues, seven are out with significant injuries, and one is out after violating team rules. Alex Len (Maryland) may have his eligibility after he sits out ten games (he’ll be back in late December), but DeQuan Jones (Miami) is out indefinitely because of the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into allegations of the Nevin Shapiro scandal; Shane Larkin (Miami) is awaiting word on his eligibility after transferring from DePaul; Thomas de Thaey (NC State) is waiting for his amateur status to be reviewed; and Ian Miller (Florida State) will miss at least first semester due to eligibility issues. On the injury front, JT Thompson and Marquis Rankin (Virginia Tech) are out for the season while Pe’Shon Howard (Maryland), Antwan Space (Florida State), Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson (Miami), and Leslie McDonald (North Carolina) are out indefinitely with various injuries. Wake Forest’s Ty Walker is suspended for violating the team’s honor code but is expected back against Seton Hall. Yikes.
  • Virginia Hype Came Too Soon?: Kellen Carpenter hit the nail on the head in his preview of the Cavaliers. He pointed out lack of offensive balance and inability to make twos as the two biggest questions facing Tony Bennett’s squad. The team has had success from inside the arc in its wins, bu looking at the boxscore from their loss to TCU reveals the Cavaliers shot less than 40% on two-point attempts. Mike Scott was still solid, but the rest of the team struggled a lot. The other problem is Virginia’s crawling tempo makes it very difficult to come back from deficits.
  • Mark Gottfied Can Recruit (and possibly coach, too): Mark Gottfried came into Raleigh with high expectations from the Wolfpack fanbase. So far, he has lived up to all of them. Gottfried has a top-five recruiting class sealed up thanks to signing TJ Warren, Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Lewis in the early period; he has another potential star possibly joining the ranks in Amile Jefferson. He also managed to get NC State its best non-conference win in quite a while with a huge comeback against Texas. One of the biggest problems with last year’s team was it could not come from behind. I generally chalked it up to effort or general pessimism that comes with frequent losses. Gottfried seems to have turned things around at least a little. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Game On: 11.16.11 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 16th, 2011

ACC Game On will periodically review recent games involving ACC teams and take a look forward at key upcoming matchups.

Mike Krzyzewski has surpassed Bob Knight’s record of all-time wins. He did so on the appropriately grand stage of Madison Square Garden, defeating Michigan State. It’s a great accomplishment for the man and for Duke University. What’s not so great? The job that Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly did to prove Mitch McGary wrong.  Combined the three were responsible for seven recorded field goal attempts. This total ties Seth Curry and Austin Rivers, who individually each took more shots. This total is also less than half of the total shots taken by Andre Dawkins, who made six three-pointers in the game. The team won, so there’s no sense in raising a fuss, but box scores like that make it hard to disagree with the diagnosis that “all their big men do is set screens and rebound and that they don’t get a lot of touches.”

Mr. 903

The rest of the ACC was rather dull last evening as Virginia Tech, Miami, and Virginia all walked away with relatively easy wins. Unsurprisingly, All-ACC candidates Mike Scott, Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant put up good but not incredible numbers to lead their teams to easy wins.

Things were a little more interesting in Blacksburg, however, as Dorenzo Hudson went off for 31 points on only thirteen shots. He got to the line twelve times, and didn’t miss from the charity stripe. It was a bravura performance against an overmatched Florida International team. Meanwhile, Dorian Finley-Smith continues his campaign as the ACC’s most intriguing freshman, leading his team in rebounding, assists, and steals while scoring fifteen points. If Seth Greenberg can adapt his team to the style and talents of this point-power-forward, the Hokies have a real chance to shake things up in the ACC.

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