Only one game last night, but tonight we resume full-on Atlantic Coast Conference action. Last night was the debut of Alex Len, a 7’1″ big man from the Ukraine who is as skilled as he is giant. He looked pretty good in his debut for Maryland. Then again, this picture from his Twitter account is even better:
I, for one, am excited for a season with 100% more Alex Len.
- Shelby Star: North Carolina State is moving the ball incredibly well. Over the past four games, 75% of Wolfpack field goals have been assisted. As a team, they are averaging 17.4 APG, good for second best in the ACC, behind only North Carolina. This is pretty impressive, but the article doesn’t get into how good NC State looks in terms of tempo free statistics. According to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, the Wolfpack actually leads the ACC in percentage of field goals assisted (62.8%) and are the 26th passing-est team in the country. For reference, last year the team only assisted on 55.3%, not even ranking within the top one hundred nationally. The statistics seem to back it up: the culture of the Wolfpack is really changing.
- Boston Globe: It’s easy to disparage Matt Humphrey, the shot-hogging, terribly inaccurate inexplicable focal point of Boston College‘s terrible offense. That’s a shame too, because it’s easy to forget that Humphrey is a person, in truth, just another college kid. He had a hard time fitting in at his old school and after an awkward year of waiting is having a hard time fitting in at his new school. Julian Benbow’s profile of the swing man is a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand one of the most confusing players in the ACC.
- Washington Post: Paul Jesperson made his college debut on Tuesday, playing for short-handed Virginia which lost two players to transfer over the weekend. Jesperson, this time last week, had expected that he wouldn’t be playing until next season, taking a redshirt. This profile goes over how Jesperson made the decision to step up for his team and take to the big stage of college basketball.
- Baltimore Sports Report: The ACC is not very good this year. The typically excellent league is in a down year, and the conference’s combined non-conference record reflects the overall weakness of this year. While Duke and North Carolina appear to be as strong as ever, the ACC middle class appears to have fallen through the basement. Still, the non-conference schedule isn’t completely finished and the article includes some speculation about how a number of teams (notably Miami and Maryland) might be able to finish strong.
- ESPN: A nearly twenty year old record is poised to fall. Between 1992 and 1994, North Carolina won 25 home games in a row, setting a Dean Smith Center Record that remarkably stood up, even in the midst of two national championship runs. When the Tar Heels take on Elon tonight, they have a shot of tying a record that neither Vince Carter, Raymond Felton, or Tyler Hansbrough could match. A win on Sunday against Monmouth would break the record. These kinds of streaks are ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a nice reflection of what this team has accomplished so far.