ACC Mega-Preview: Duke Tops Power Rankings

Posted by Matt Patton (@rise_and_fire) on November 8th, 2013

Over the last two weeks, we have previewed each team individually to go with several more articles to get you ready for ACC basketball starting later today. Links to the previews can be found in each of the preseason power rankings listed below. Also look for our preseason conference awards later which will publish later today.

ACC Basketball Twitter Must-Follows (Chris): 

  • Part I (general ACC tweeters)
  • Part II (Maryland, Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh,  and Georgia Tech)
  • Part III (Virginia, Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina, and NC State)

Early Season Tournaments (Brad):

  • Part I (Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Clemson)
  • Part II (Florida State, North Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse)
  • Part III (Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Miami)

Seven Nonconference Games to Watch (Brad)

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

Duke Blue Devils 1. Duke (75): Unanimous selection for the top spot, Coach K hopes this year’s more athletic group of players can thrive at a faster pace of play. Duke is a national contender this season.
Syracuse Orange 2. Syracuse (67): Their loaded front court and a legendary coach will help make seamless transition to the ACC, bringing their length and vaunted 2-3 zone along with them. Frosh point guard Tyler Ennis is the difference between a very good team and a great one.
North Carolina Tar Heels T3. North Carolina (64): The development of the young frontcourt will be key for a team with plenty of upside, but a daunting non-conference schedule and the suspensions of PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald loom early.
Virginia Cavaliers T3. Virginia (64): ACC stars Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell are back in Charlottesville. If the point guard position has more offensive output than last season, this team has all the pieces to be an ACC contender.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 5. Notre Dame (52)Mike Brey has to find a way to replace Jack Cooley‘s production in the post, but the Fighting Irish bring back one of the best backcourts in the ACC. The Fighting Irish look like a border-line top-25 team heading into the season.
Maryland Terrapins 6. Maryland (48): Losing Seth Allen for a spell and Alex Len to the lottery will hurt, but Dez Wells‘ brilliance and Maryland’s overall athleticism should propel them to new heights under Mark Turgeon assuming they can cut out some of their turnovers.
Boston College 7. Boston College (43): A veteran core and a bona fide star could take Boston College to the next level, provided Steve Donahue does something about the team’s dreadful defense. If Dennis Clifford is healthy, this team has a shot at the NCAA Tournament.
Pittsburgh Panthers 8. Pittsburgh (41): The Panthers have three solid returning starters to build around, but will need their new big men to make an immediate impact after Steven Adams’ surprising decision to bolt for the NBA Draft. Also how will the new officiating rules affect Jamie Dixon‘s style?
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 9. Georgia Tech (31): The tandem of sophomores Robert Carter, Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt will prove even more effective as the Yellow Jackets look to make strides, but their young core is a few years away from making noise. Tennessee transfer Trae Golden should be an upgrade over Mfon Udofia at point guard.
NC State Wolfpack 10. NC State (29): TJ Warren could be one of the most talented players in the conference, but there is an enormous amount of departed experience to replace in Raleigh. Mark Gottfried‘s talented group of freshmen will be expected to contribute early and often.
Florida State Seminoles 11. Florida State (27): The Seminoles need last year’s newcomers to all make a big leap this year even to stay in the upper middle of the ACC. The key is getting back to elite team defense, though Okaro White is one of the better returning offensive wings in the ACC.
Miami Hurricanes 12. Miami (23): The best thing returning for the Hurricanes is head coach Jim Larranaga, an expert at putting pieces together to form a solid team. Unfortunately, the pieces leave a lot to be desired. Belgian star Manu Lacomte may surprise ACC fans, though.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 13. Wake Forest (19): For the first time since coming to Winston-Salem Jeff Bzdelik has experience, but do the Demon Deacons have the talent to finish above .500 and save his job? Conference expansion didn’t help.
Clemson Tigers 14. Clemson (11): A bad team is going to get worse as the program takes what is probably charitably going to be called “a rebuilding year.” Tune in for KJ McDaniels, whose shot-blocking makes him a good pick for ACC defensive player of the year.
Virginia Tech Hokies 15. Virginia Tech (6): Erick Green is gone, and there isn’t anyone stepping up to replace him on a team destined to rest in the ACC cellar this year. Things could be ugly for James Johnson‘s second season in Blacksburg.

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ACC Team Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by Chris Kehoe on October 31st, 2013

Head coach Brian Gregory has a young team on the upswing in this year’s ACC. However, this Georgia Tech team is still too inexperienced and without enough depth to move far from the lower third of the league. The program has had its fair share of star power over the last few years, with Derrick Favors, Iman Shumpert  and Gani Lawal making the jump to the NBA. Unfortunately Tech has not quite been up to its usual standards as of late, a far cry from the 2003-04 powerhouse squad that romped its way to the national title game. Last season the Yellow Jackets were one game above .500 overall and went a relatively dismal 6-12 in conference play. They lost two starters at the guard position to graduation, but will likely be poised to be better this season thanks to the development of their duo of star freshmen and inclusion of seasoned transfer Trae Golden. Losing senior stalwart Mfon Udofia will not be easy, but he never quite played up to his high school scouting reports as a top-35 recruit and a top-10 point guard. Golden, a transfer from Tennessee, should be more than capable filling in for Udofia at the position.

Georgia Tech Preview

Georgia Tech began last season in ACC play with an 0-5 start, struggling in shooting the basketball both from two-point range and the line, finishing last in the ACC in both. This year’s team will revolve around how effectively their four best players perform. Sophomores Robert Carter, Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt will likely be the focal points, with Golden feeding them the ball early and often. Georges-Hunt is a slashing wing who is adept at finishing at the rim and not turning the ball over. The team’s leading scorer as a freshman, expect big strides from him this season. Carter Jr., on the other hand, is an interior bruiser with a soft touch who averaged close to a double-double and will only continue to grow in his second season. Matched inside with senior center Daniel Miller, Gregory will have one of the ACC’s more versatile and tough interior combinations. In terms of newcomers, none of the freshmen are expected to start this season, but highlighted arrivals  include 6’8” forward Quinton Stephens and New Hampton prep school product Travis Jorgenson. Off the bench expect athletic scorer Jason Morris to provide a needed punch in the second unit with his slashing and high-flying escapades. Backup point guard Solomon Poole should continue his career reserve duties, this time backing up Golden instead of Udofia.

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Olivier Hanlan Buries Georgia Tech and Scoring Record

Posted by mpatton on March 14th, 2013

Matt Patton is an RTC correspondent and an ACC microsite writer. He filed this report from Thursday afternoon’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro.

With about six and a half minutes left in the first half, ACC Rookie of the Year Olivier Hanlan had four points on six shots. Boston College was down 12, but its press looked lackadaisical and its offense stagnant. During the under-eight media timeout Steve Donahue told Hanlan to be more aggressive and that Mfon Udofia was breaking the press by getting off to a quick start. Hanlan cut off Robert Carter Jr.’s pass, ran right into the big Georgia Tech freshman, drawing the and-one. The game was never the same and the Eagles ended up winning by 20 points.

Olivier Hanlan Couldn't Miss and Boston College Routed Georgia Tech. (photo: Chuck Liddy / Raleigh News & Observer)

Olivier Hanlan Couldn’t Miss and Boston College Routed Georgia Tech. (photo: Chuck Liddy / Raleigh News & Observer)

Hanlan went on to hit the rest of his shots to score a ludicrous 41 points on 18 attempts. Over half his points came from beyond the arc, but his performance was so much more than good shooting. He hit runners, he hit lay-ups, he created, he spotted up, he drew fouls. Hanlan’s final shot summed up his performance perfectly. On a crisp pass from Ryan Anderson, he squared up and took his 10th three. The ball went all the way around the rim and off the backboard before falling through the net for the last of his 41 points. The performance broke Harrison Barnes 2011 scoring record for a freshman, but Steve Donahue pulled Hanlan with two minutes left, keeping Lenny Rosenbluth’s ACC Tournament record intact.

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ACC Week 1 Power Rankings

Posted by mpatton on November 16th, 2012

We’ve got a full week of game action as evidence to start evaluting these teams a bit better, so here goes…

Disclaimer: Power Rankings don’t imply which teams are best. They’re all about who has momentum right now. 

Duke Blue Devils 1. Duke (2-0) stays on top of the rankings after taking care of business against Georgia State at home before knocking off the defending champion Kentucky Wildcats in the Georgia Dome. This team still has a long way to go, but they showed poise holding off a talented, albeit young, Kentucky team. While Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee owned the box score, Quinn Cook rose to the challenge and put in his bid for the starting spot. Minnesota is the next NCAA tournament-quality team on Thursday.
NC State Wolfpack 2. NC State (2-0) absolutely blitzkrieged its first two opponents, Miami (OH) and Penn State. Putting too much stock in beating the Redhawks by 38 is unwise. But that 17-point win over the Nittany Lions–despite Lorenzo Brown finishing an icy 1-12 from the field–is worth noting. Specifically, Tyler Warren was phenomenal going for 22 points (on 12 shots) and eight rebounds. The game tonight against Massachusetts should be a fun one.
North Carolina Tar Heels 3. North Carolina (2-0) looked lost on offense at times against Gardner-Webb, which is just a young team trying to learn to play together. James Michael McAdoo has been phenomenal through the first two games (he’s averaging over 20 points and 12 rebounds), and Reggie Bullock asserted himself against Florida Atlantic. This team should keep improving, but in time for the trip to Bloomington in a week and a half? That’s ambitious.
Maryland Terrapins 4. Maryland (1-1) looks a lot better than expected. Alex Len is going to be a top-10 pick. He absolutely ravaged Kentucky, which Maryland kept close to the bitter end before making mincemeat of Morehead State. Nick Faust still can’t shoot, but Seth Allen will be really fun to watch the next few years. The Terrapins need to work on consistent offense, but as Dez Wells gets more and more used to Mark Turgeon’s system, good things will happen.
Boston College 5. Boston College (1-1) played with a stacked Baylor team for 35 minutes after beating a bad Florida International team by double figures (still, that’s huge improvement over last year). This team will still struggle to win a ton of games, but Ryan Anderson‘s development into an All-ACC caliber player is accelerating the rebuilding process (he’s averaging 27 points and 12 boards a game). Dennis Clifford also got off to a solid start. The Eagles’ games against Dayton and Auburn should both be winnable this week.
Clemson Tigers 6. Clemson (1-0) beat down Presbyterian this week, which isn’t worth much on its own. But Devin Booker and Milton Jennings both played very well (combined to go 11-14 from the field for 26 points) and look like they’re ready to step into bigger roles for Brad Brownell this season. A near impossible test awaits this week in the form of Gonzaga.
Virginia Tech Hokies 7. Virginia Tech (3-0) scarfed three cupcakes this week, winning all three games by double figures. The “meat” of the nonconference schedule is still a ways off (and “meat” is used loosely to describe BCS-conference teams), but so far James Johnson‘s tenure is a success. He’ll need Robert Brown to continue producing offensively to relieve some of Erick Green‘s perimeter burden.
Florida State Seminoles 8. Florida State (1-1) is much better than its home loss to the South Alabama, but those are the kind of losses that will motivate this team to keep getting better. Michael Snaer is also in an early season slump, having only hit a third of the shots he’s taken. But the Seminoles’ 27-point beatdown of Buffalo (where they scored 95 points!) may right the ship. The next six games showcase three against possible NCAA tournament teams: BYU (today), Minnesota and Florida.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 9. Wake Forest (1-0) played decently against Radford. The game was never free from doubt, but the Demon Deacons didn’t let the Big South Highlanders get the best of them this year. CJ Harris got to the charity stripe like a pro, but Travis McKie‘s 11 points left a little to be desired–especially against a team of this caliber. Turnovers are going to kill Wake Forest in at least two conference games this year.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 10. Georgia Tech (2-0) has balance, but can’t shoot. The Yellow Jackets need someone to step up from the perimeter to keep other teams honest (right now they make a smooth 17.6% of their shots from downtown. Two of Mfon Udofia, Daniel Miller and Kam Holsey need to become go-to guys on offense. Miller doesn’t appear to want that role.
Miami Hurricanes 11. Miami (1-1) needs to be careful not to become a dumpster fire. The team lost its exhibition against St. Leo and now lost to Florida Gulf Coast to ice the cake. This team looks phenomenal on paper, but sometimes things just don’t translate the way we expect. The same Reggie Johnson who made Mason Plumlee look like a child at Cameron Indoor Stadium last year has only hit one third of his shots against middling competition. There’s still time for Larranaga to turn this car around, but time is running out.
Virginia Cavaliers 12. Virginia (1-2), if Miami has to be careful, Virginia fans may already smell that trash burning. So far the Cavaliers lost to George Mason and Delaware. These wins (or struggles) could be statistical aberrations (if your style keeps opponents within striking distance, you’re bound to lose some unfortunate games), and Jontel Evans is out.Things aren’t off to a great start in Charlottesville.
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ACC Team Previews: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by EMann on October 18th, 2012

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

Brian Gregory’s first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets was a struggle in more ways than one, although not all of this was due to things Gregory could control. Because of Georgia Tech’s renovation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum to the new McCamish Pavilion during the season, Georgia Tech was forced to split its home games between the Atlanta Hawks’ Philips Arena (all ACC games and premier non-conference games) and the Gwinnett Arena in the suburbs (five non-conference games).  Being homeless, however, surely does not account for all of Georgia Tech’s struggles during the 2011-12 season. Paul Hewitt didn’t exactly leave the cupboard full of stars when he was let go after the 2010-11 season, and Georgia Tech’s best returning player, Glen Rice, Jr., battled disciplinary issues all season and was suspended for three games at the beginning of the season and six at the end before being kicked off the team in March.  Tech managed only a 4-12 finish in league play (with its only win of note a victory at NC State), and finished 11-20 overall (beating VCU, but losing to the unholy trinity of Kennesaw State, Mercer, and Fordham), polishing off their season by scoring only 36 points in the ACC Tournament’s first round against Miami.  Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, things cannot really get much worse, and the team returns all five of its starters.

Brian Gregory searches for answers in his second season in Atlanta.

Newcomers

Georgia Tech adds five new players to its roster this season, and has Scout.com’s 19th-ranked recruiting class coming to Atlanta. Four of these players are freshmen, led by five-star 6’9” center Robert Carter, in addition to four-star 6’6” small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, three-star 6’3” shooting guard Chris Bolden, and unrated guard Corey Heyward. They are all Georgia natives. Georgia Tech also adds Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole, Jr., who will become eligible after December 17. Carter, a top 25 recruit, should immediately compete for starter’s minutes with returning center Daniel Miller. The other players are likely to add depth and compete with the incumbent starters (none of whom were particularly efficient offensively) for minutes this season. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC Summer Recess: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by KCarpenter on July 12th, 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: Georgia Tech.

Where They Stand Now

Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory Has His Work Cut Out In Atlanta

Last season was a season of transition for Georgia Tech. After the firing of longtime coach Paul Hewitt, Brian Gregory took over a program that had spent the last few years slowly slumping to the bottom of the ACC. As the Yellow Jackets prepared a new home court, his team was left without a true home, forced to make use of Phillips Arena along with a few other venues. A new coach, no home court,  and a legitimate talent deficit made it no surprise that Georgia Tech faltered. In a season when their best moments come in December and January, Georgia Tech didn’t have a lot to celebrate as conference play went on. Still, the future seems promising for Georgia Tech: McCammish Pavillion is finally set to open and Gregory will better know what to expect from his team in the second year.

Who’s Leaving?

The nice part about having a young team is that you don’t have to worry about losing a lot of players to graduation. The Yellow Jackets will lose Pierre Jordan and Nick Foreman, a pair of back-up guards who each averaged about 10 minutes a game in the past season, but that’s the only toll from graduation. Sophomore big man Nate Hicks has transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University. Hicks didn’t get a lot of playing time in Atlanta, averaging a paltry 7.7 minutes per game. The biggest departure is the dismissal of Glen Rice, Jr., from the team. The troubled swingman was benched at the end of his freshman season by Paul Hewitt and served a pair of suspensions last season under Gregory. He was finally dismissed from the team after a run-in with the law that featured Rice driving under the influence while one of his passengers discharged a gun.  Rice was the leading scorer and rebounder for Georgia Tech, but his off-the-court troubles certainly seem serious enough to make his departure seem like the best option for Rice and the team.

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ACC Game On: 01.25.12

Posted by KCarpenter on January 25th, 2012

Last night, Miami slammed a terrible-looking Georgia Tech team. The key with this game was the once again the sterling play of Kenny Kadji who has emerged as one of the clear breakthrough players of this season. The Hurricanes played defense and Georgia Tech’s attack basically degenerated into Glen Rice, Jr., and Mfon Udofia chucking shots like they were the only two players on the team. One day both will get hot simultaneously and the pair will annihilate some hapless team. Most days these two take all the shots, however, Georgia Tech will lose.

The Meanest Rivalry in the ACC

  • Duke at Maryland at 9:00 PM at ESPN

Could This Be the Scene in College Park Tonight?

Luckily, the Blue Devils don’t have to play at a hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium, and that’s one of the most underrated bonuses of Duke’s yearly schedule. Year in and year out, the most hostile conference venue for Duke is not in Chapel Hill, but rather in College Park. The Terrapins fans are ferocious at home and their hatred for Duke seems to reach beyond the confines of mere rivalry. For the Blue Devils, this is a tough follow-up after the hard loss at home to Florida State, but there is no doubt that Mike Krzyzewski will have his team ready to play. Maryland hasn’t shown they can play the kind of defense needed to stop Duke, but Terrell Stoglin is the exact kind of player who has the skill set to take advantage of a Duke defense that is softer on the perimeter than in years past. Duke wins this game on paper, but if Stoglin gets hot or the crowd gets really into it, this could be a tough road trip for Austin Rivers and company.

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ACC Game On: 01.24.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on January 24th, 2012

After a weekend where Florida State proved it was for real and Virginia Tech showed they weren’t a lost cause against in-state rival Virginia, we get a thoroughly un-sexy Tuesday night match-up between a pair of teams who have been underachieving. It’s not glamorous, it probably won’t be pretty, but the game should at least be competitive.

The Only Show In Town

  • Miami at Georgia Tech at 9:00 PM on ESPNU

Udofia and Georgia Tech Need a Win Tonight

Fun fact about Georgia Tech: they have won exactly one game in the past month, an increasingly perplexing win over what appears to be a good NC State team. This bright spot, for what it’s worth, still resides in the shadow of underwhelming losses to Mercer, Fordham, Maryland, and Clemson. Still, star Glen Rice, Jr., has generally played well, and plans to give him a greater share of the point guard duties is good news for a team that requires Mfon Udofia to stay on the court for far longer than he needs to.  Meanwhile, Miami has underperformed, even with the return of Reggie Johnson (who looks good when looking at tempo-free stats, but significantly worse on the court). Although the Hurricanes only have a single ACC win against woeful Clemson, this team looks like it is slowly but surely getting better. Despite this, Jim Larranaga‘s team seems to have a traveling problem: Miami is 8-1 at home and 1-7 on the road. Granted, somehow Miami has managed to play true road games against the likes of Purdue, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina already, but even so, teams have to prove they can win on the road before they’re taken seriously. It’s a little late in the season to be slowly getting better and if Miami wants to bust out of the conference’s bottom class, taking care of fellow cellar-dwellers on the road is a simple necessity.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.16.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 16th, 2012

  1. BC Interruption: Let’s get started with the most important story of the weekend. Boston College has an ACC winning streak! I’m not sure whether this says that the Eagles are better than I expected (probably true), or that Virginia Tech and Clemson are much worse than I originally thought (also likely), but it sure does make ACC play more interesting. Oh, and by the way, Virginia Tech fans don’t need to worry about the bubble this year. Just for those keeping score at home the Hokies already lost to Wake Forest, Boston College and Florida State; the bad news is they play North Carolina, at Virginia, at Maryland and against Duke for the next four conference games. Seriously, that’s a very possible 0-7 start to conference play (though I’d put the over/under at one). Not good. But congratulations to the Eagles, who are a remarkable 2-1.
  2. Searching For Billy Edelin: The other conference shake-up of the weekend came out of Tallahassee, where the Seminoles took the Tar Heels behind a woodshed and clubbed them for two hours to the tune of a 90-57 final score. At the heart of the Florida State offense was an unconscious Deividas Dulkys. Dulkys is a better shooter than people give him credit for (truthfully, I just assumed he couldn’t shoot because he’s on Florida State). The Lithuanian is actually one of the better shooters in the conference, and proved it with an 8-10 performance from the three-point line. He may not do it again, but Florida State fans will remember Dulkys’ career performance for a long time.
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: Speaking of the beatdown, the other story (or diversion, in my opinion) from Tallahassee was Roy Williams taking his players off the floor before the end of the game to avoid potential injuries during the court rushing. Leonard Hamilton says it was his idea. That left five walk-ons to face the masses of Seminole faithful streaming onto the court solo. Obviously the move drew a lot of criticism. It also drew this awesome photoshop.
  4.  Washington Post: Maryland‘s poor attendance has been documented this year. The same is true of the athletic department’s financial woes. Mark Turgeon is going to be a huge part of trying to overcome the department’s huge deficit over the next few years ($2.8 million this year alone). If he wins, people will come. It’s no coincidence that the basketball team’s revenue has declined since 2006. The school is also investigating outfitting the Comcast Center for concerts or adding ad ribbons between the upper and lower decks. I still think the most important thing is to start winning games. If Turgeon gets this program back in the upper echelon of the conference, the team should make much more money.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Speaking of guys who should be getting more attention, Mfon Udofia is playing much better in Georgia Tech’s recent games. Glenn Rice, Jr., gets most of the press because he is a better scorer and has name recognition, but Udofia may be more important. His current role is to “just be the coach on the floor, pretty much.” He’ll need to be more consistent if the Yellow Jackets want to make a run at finishing somewhere in the middle of the conference.
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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 Team Previews: Georgia Tech

Posted by mpatton on October 19th, 2011

Georgia Tech finally fell on the double-edged sword of Paul Hewitt and his immense buyout this offseason. It was a move long called for by Yellow Jacket fans, as his recent inconsistency and perceived underachievement slowly overshadowed the team’s 28-win title game season in 2003-04. Hewitt consistently recruited some of the best talent, especially local stars like Derrick Favors. Unfortunately, in four of the subsequent seasons Georgia Tech failed to finish with a .500 record. Even when the team was rife with NBA players in 2009-10 the Jackets limped to the NCAA Tournament before only winning one game.

Enter Brian Gregory. Gregory was an assistant under Michigan State legend Tom Izzo before being hired away by Dayton. Under Gregory the Flyers managed to make the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT three times in eight seasons. In most mid-major conferences, making the Big Dance a quarter of the time is very respectable, but the A-10 routinely winds up with multiple seeds come Selection Sunday. Gregory’s relative lack of success in getting the Flyers into the NCAAs regularly isn’t the only red flag.

Brian Gregory has a Tough Inaugural Season Ahead of Him at Georgia Tech.

Another warning sign is the response from Dayton fans when his Georgia Tech hiring was announced. It was mixed, but definitely trended towards relief. Unless you run a modified version of the Princeton offense, fans of winning programs shouldn’t want their coach to leave. If I had to hypothesize why the Yellow Jackets didn’t hire someone like Richmond’s Chris Mooney (and I ignored a budget hamstrung by Hewitt’s buyout), I’d guess it came down to style. But just because a coach plays with a more open style of basketball doesn’t mean it’s any more pleasing to watch. Dayton’s best teams under Gregory made their money with solid defense, not attractive offense.

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Conference Report Card: ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 28th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

Conference Recap

The ACC had a down year though North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall-led resurgence and Florida State’s Sweet Sixteen appearance helped a little bit. Before and during the season, Duke was the runaway favorite in the conference: Kyrie Irving’s toe injury obviously was the pivotal point that brought Duke back down to earth. Equally pivotal (in the reverse direction) was Marshall’s move to starting point guard for North Carolina. With Larry Drew II at the helm, there is no way the Tar Heels could have come close to surpassing Duke for the regular season title. The down year did not really surprise most people, and despite lofty preseason expectations (read: people forgot how highly rated North Carolina was to start the season) I think the perception is that the league at least lived up to preseason expectations with a couple of notable exceptions: NC State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. NC State had NCAA Tournament talent, but did not come anywhere close to sniffing the Big Dance; Wake was arguably the worst major conference team in the country; and Virginia Tech once again found itself very highly seeded in the NIT. On the flip side, Clemson and Florida State both exceeded expectations.

Roy Williams and Kendall Marshall led a mid-season resurgence that resulted in a trip the Elite Eight. (News Observer/Robert Willitt)

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