The Best Scoring Wings in the ACC

Posted by KCarpenter on March 2nd, 2012

When we talk about the All-ACC First Team, conventional wisdom holds that a few things are certain. Tyler Zeller and Mike Scott are iron-clad locks. To a lesser extent, John Henson seems fairly likely to make the team as well. That leaves two guard spots. On some level, it seems insane that Kendall Marshall‘s probable third place finish in the conference books for the single-season assist record, but his lack of dominant scoring, defense, and a general unwillingness to place so many Tar Heels on the first team probably hurts Marshall’s chances. The worst thing about this is that the negatives against Marshall probably hurt most of the other point guards in the league as well. As good as Lorenzo Brown has been, if Marshall isn’t going to make the first team, Brown’s chances aren’t looking so great either. For now, let’s set aside true point guards.

How Many of This UNC Trio Will End up as ACC First Teamers? (News-Record)

So, for better or worse, the two guard spots on this team are probably going to go to a pair of dominant wing scorers. Among the candidates, listed in order by points per game, we have Terrell Stoglin, Harrison Barnes, C.J. Harris, Travis McKie, Erick Green, Austin Rivers, Michael Snaer, and Seth Curry. So how do we pick two? These are individual awards, so I don’t feel particularly obligated to award team success, though I know that typically the voters for these honors use that criterion rather heavily. For now though, let’s pretend that Stoglin, Harris, McKie, and Green all have an equal shot.

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ACC Morning Five: 03.02.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 2nd, 2012

  1. Washington Post: This isn’t related to Mark Gianatto’s article, but last night was not a good night for commonwealth basketball. The Virginia Cavaliers started the evening, opening up a solid lead in the second half over Florida State. A win over the Seminoles behind a man’s man performance out of Mike Scott would have worked wonders for a weak NCAA tournament resume and answer Tyler Zeller’s performance against Maryland in the ACC Player of the Year race. Long story short, Virginia blew the lead by allowing a 16-2 Florida State run to close the game before losing on a three from Ian Miller with 0.8 seconds left. Fast forward to Clemson, where by some anti-miracle neither team managed to score in the last 2:45. Watching their teams lose important games while announcers plugged the Duke – North Carolina game hurts. This screenshot of Seth Greenberg from @DarrylSlater  really sums things up.

    Seth Greenberg's Face Speaks for Virginia and Virginia Tech Fans Alike.

    Moving back to the article, Gianatto looks at the silver lining from Victor Davila’s enigmatic injury: more playing time for Cadarian Raines. Raines spent most of the last couple of years sidelined with foot injuries, but he’s stepped up big for Greenberg in Davila’s absence.

  2. Oxford Public Ledger: In the March Madness spirit, here’s a Selection Sunday-style All-ACC team. Tyler Zeller, Mike Scott and John Henson own the three “automatic bids” thanks to terrific conference play. That leaves Michael Snaer, Austin Rivers and  Kendall Marshall duking it out with CJ Leslie, Terrell Stoglin, Kenny Kadji and Harrison Barnes for the other first team spots (in case you can’t tell, I favor two of the first three). That still leaves five spots on the second and third teams available, which will be earned by “bubble” players like Erick Green, Travis McKie, CJ Harris and Seth Curry to fill out the teams (for the record, I like two of those guys to make the second team).
  3. Durham Herald-Sun: He may not be an All-ACC candidate, but Justin Watts doesn’t have any regrets about his time spent in Chapel Hill. Watts sounds like a laid-back guy who is happy to make his team better without any time under the spotlight. Veteran players like Watts are crucial to a team. Bill Simmons in an article earlier this year called Watts’ role “the chemist: “He’s the last guy every starter greets during the introductions, and he’s the guy who waits at midcourt before the opening tap for one last round of “good luck” hugs and hand slaps.”
  4. SCACCHoops.com: If you’ve ever been curious how “Game Sim” works, John Pence wrote a mini-biography of one of the most underrated tools available (especially during the offseason: I can’t count the hours I spent matching up different teams of recent greatness and trying to make sense of the resultant box score). In addition to being a fun time-waster, Game Sim has picked an impressive 80% of ACC games this season; additionally, as more and more data is compiled, it’s getting more and more accurate against the spread. So next time you have a few minutes and want to find out how this year’s Duke team would fare against the Blue Devils’ national championship team from 2010, just hit up Game Sim.
  5. Baltimore Sun: More bad financial news out of College Park. The commission appointed to address Maryland‘s athletic department’s budgetary issues called for the university to cut six more sports (men’s tennis, men’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, women’s water polo and women’s acrobatics and tumbling). Kevin Anderson has some tough decisions to make. If the football team looked stronger, one might be able to make the argument that revenues should increase and temporary budget cuts would be enough. But reality sometimes hurts. Maybe in a few years things will be different.

EXTRA: Gene Wojciechowski points out that the ACC may actually be in the driver’s seat in conference realignment. Specifically, the Big Ten will not want the ACC to surround Penn State (which would happen if the conference added Rutgers and Connecticut). I’m not sure if I buy the ACC having that much influence (Jim Delaney, Mike Slive and Larry Scott seem to be running the show), but Wojciechowski definitely makes a strong case.

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ATB: Conference Tourneys Heat Up, Oregon Impresses, and Another FSU Buzzer-Beater…

Posted by EJacoby on March 2nd, 2012

Tonight’s Lede. On the first night of March, the college basketball slate did not disappoint. It was another packed night around the country, featuring some important Pac-12 action and bubble teams blowing opportunities in home games. We also have our first conference tournament final matchup set, as VMI and UNC-Asheville both completed 20-point victories to advance to the championship of the Big South Tournament. There was much quarterfinal action in other tournaments as well. But first, we highlight a crazy finish in the ACC that left the home team stunned and the visitors in a familiar place — victorious after a game-winning shot…

Your Watercooler Moment. Another Seminole Game-Winner.

The previous two times, it was Michael Snaer. On Thursday night, it was Ian Miller. For the third time this season, Florida State converted a game-winning three-point bucket to give the Seminoles a dramatic win. Virginia led 58-47 with under five minutes to play before the ‘Noles made a late surge that culminated in Miller’s buzzer-beater. This result also has major implications in the ACC, as FSU avoided a three-game losing streak to clinch the #3 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament. Virginia, meanwhile, is in a bit of trouble after this loss. The Cavaliers now drop to 8-7 in the ACC, tied with NC State, Miami, and Clemson. Despite still being ranked in the Top 25, UVA has to start getting a bit worried about its NCAA Tournament status. The Cavaliers are 21-8 overall but don’t have a particularly strong overall profile, with just one top-40 win that came over Michigan in November. They have the #226 non-conference strength of schedule that includes a bad loss to TCU early in the year. They have an RPI of #39 that will be falling as well — not exactly lock status anymore. Virginia should be alright going forward if it can get a win at Maryland in its season finale, but a loss in that one on Terrapin Senior Night will definitely spell some worries for Tony Bennett’s team.

Tonight’s Quick Hits…

  • Kentucky Won’t Let Up. Throughout the grueling conference season, nearly all teams end up slipping up at least once along the way. Trap games, long flights, three games in a week — there are plenty of excuses that teams use for poor performances. But John Calipari’s team has played at an elite level the entire season. UK, which leads the country in scoring margin, hammered Georgia from the start on Thursday night to remain undefeated in the SEC heading into its season finale in Gainesville this weekend. Don’t expect a letdown from this team in that one.
  • No Howland Hangover. Just one day removed from the Sports Illustrated article that shed light on Ben Howland’s loss of control over the UCLA program, the Bruins did not seem at all distracted on the court. UCLA dominated Washington State for a 32-point victory, led by Lazeric Jones’ and Tyler Lamb’s combined 34 points and 10 assists. How crazy would it be if this team shut everyone up and made a run in the Pac-12 Tournament to win the conference and advance to the NCAA Tournament? It’s certainly possible, given the Bruins’ talent and the overall weak state of the Pac-12.  Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Game On: 03.01.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on March 1st, 2012

March is here and the Madness isn’t far off. Last night, NC State won a close one against Miami, helping themselves in the hunt for a bid while taking a little air out of the Hurricanes’ bubble. Meanwhile, in less meaningful news, Boston College managed to win its fourth conference game defeating an increasingly confused-looking Georgia Tech team and pulling themselves into eleventh place. In Chapel Hill, Tyler Zeller closed out his Dean Smith Center career by putting up 30 points and playing some of the best basketball of his career in an ugly “platinum” uniform while Kendall Marshall handily broke the North Carolina single season assist record against a Maryland team that just couldn’t stop a relentless (though often inaccurate) Tar Heel attack.

Battle of the Second Tier

  • #19 Florida State at Virginia at 7:00 PM on ESPN2

The Seminoles are two and half games up on the Cavliers in the conference standings with only two games to go so this isn’t really a battle for third place in the conference, but it sure feels that way. The two defensive powerhouses of the ACC met once before this season in Tallahassee where the home team managed a tough one-possession win. The fact is that these tough, close losses to good teams are starting to catch up to Virginia. Outside of a win against Michigan, what else can the Cavaliers point to? Beating Miami and Drexel? Virginia is a very good team, but they don’t really have an impressive résumé. Beating ranked Florida State would help to strengthen the Wahoos position heading into the ACC tournament. Meanwhile, the Seminoles have faltered down the stretch losing their past two games, which is equal to the number of losses they had in 2012 before the skid. Barring a total collapse,  Florida State probably is already a near-lock to go dancing. It would be nice for Florida State to win this game, but the Seminoles don’t need it like the Cavaliers do. At home, I like Mike Scott to close out his time in Charlottesville with a bang.

Crouching Tigers As Hidden Dragon?

  • Virginia Tech at Clemson at 9:00 PM on ACC Network Affiliates and ESPN3.com

Very quietly, the Clemson has reached the .500 mark in conference play. With wins against Florida State, Virginia, and Saturday’s win over NC State, the Tigers have put themselves in a very interesting position. If Clemson wins tonight against the Hokies (no guarantee since they lost their first match-up) and manages to win again against Florida State to finish out the season, Brad Brownell‘s team will be positioned to play two very winnable games in the ACC Tournament and have a shot at snagging another marquee win or two. Looking at the Clemson’s list of bad losses, the Tigers look very sketchy. Still, though it’s a long shot, I think the Tigers do have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. Or at least getting tantalizingly close just in time to get shot down on Selection Sunday. In any case, this long shot is going to make tonight’s game a little awkward. Seth Greenberg knows.

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ACC Bracketology: Virginia’s Resume

Posted by mpatton on March 1st, 2012

Over the next week we will be taking a look at the ACC teams whose names should be called on Selection Sunday. The series started with Duke (seed prediction: #1-#2), North Carolina (seed prediction: #1-#2) and Florida State (seed prediction: #5-#8).

Virginia came within a possession of knocking off Duke at Cameron, Florida State in Tallahassee, and most recently, North Carolina in Charlottesville. But the fact is that the Cavaliers came up short each time. Now Tony Bennett‘s team has a resume featuring one very good win (Michigan at home in November) and a few more decent wins (against Drexel, NC State and Miami). That’s not a lot to work with. The Cavaliers also own one horrible loss against TCU early in the year and an unfortunate loss at home against Virginia Tech.

Mike Scott and Virginia Need To Close Out Conference Play with Two Wins.

The good news for Virginia is that its RPI profile looks slightly better, as it owns a 7-5 record against the top 100 (5-1 against #51-#100, 2-4 against the top-50). Additionally, the committee knows the Cavaliers played the ACC contenders close.

The issue for Virginia won’t be getting to the NCAA Tournament: The issue will be getting off the #8/#9 seed line. This is a team that has an elite defense. The offense has dry spells, but Bennett’s team can hang with almost anyone in the country. Still, I’m sure he’d rather avoid a top seed in the round of 32. If Virginia beats Florida State at home, I think that moves the Cavaliers to a seven. If it loses, probably a nine. The biggest issue is that nothing happens in a vacuum, especially around conference tournament time. Between now and Selection Sunday, Virginia needs to beat Duke, North Carolina or Florida State at least once to solidify a good seed.

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ACC Morning Five: 03.01.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 1st, 2012

Be warned: there will be a lot of ACC Player of the Year talk.

  1. Sports Illustrated: But before we get to ACC Player of the Year banter, it’s time to talk Kendall Marshall. Marshall is really hard to pin down. He’s the lynchpin in North Carolina’s offense, maximizing the efficiency of Roy Williams’ very talented machine, but he rarely scores himself. Luke Winn took a look at four crucial (but very different) point guards to analyze their turnovers. If you have ever watched a North Carolina game, it won’t surprise you 80% of Marshall’s turnovers come on “bad passes.” More surprising is that Marshall hasn’t traveled all season. Like always, Winn’s articles are worth a read.
  2. ESPN: Robbi Pickeral picked her ACC Player of the Year and Coach of the Year yesterday (a larger panel of experts picked without explanations too). Tyler Zeller is in a two-man race with Mike Scott, but Coach of the Year still has plenty of contenders. Pickeral chose Zeller and Leonard Hamilton; the experts overwhelmingly chose Zeller and picked Mike Krzyzewski by a 7-3 margin over Hamilton (Tony Bennett and Jim Larranga also received votes). I’m not sure why Pickeral makes multiple allusions to the fact that North Carolina is really talented and will split votes. It’s true that John Henson and Zeller will probably steal votes from one another, but saying that’s the only reason Scott would win is a huge disservice to the season Scott put together.
  3. SCACCHoops.com: In a related note,this article looks at Mike Scott’s case for Player of the Year. Zeller’s numbers appear better at a glance, but the Tar Heels have played 400 more possessions than Scott. This is the problem with comparing points or rebounds a game at face value. Scott’s 17 points and eight rebounds a game carry more weight in an offense that uses fewer possessions than Zeller’s 16 and nine. For effect, Will Ojanen falsely inflates Scott’s stats by adjusting for North Carolina’s tempo and deflates Zeller’s to Virginia’s tempo: Scott would “theoretically” average 21 points and ten rebounds a game; Zeller would average 12 and seven. In reality stats don’t scale like that, but you should also understand that Scott’s 17 points and Zeller’s 16 points are different too. The most understated part of this article is how much better Zeller is on defense.
  4. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Norm Wood profiles Scott, looking at the influence of his father. Growing up the son of a 20-year veteran taught Scott discipline, but also how to adapt to new environments. There’s no doubt both qualities were instrumental in making Scott the success he is, having gone through multiple coaches and a season-ending injury on the way to his hallmark season.
  5. Poynter and Awful Announcing: You might have heard about the media “controversy” where Shane Ryan (of Tobacco Road Blues and formerly Seth Curry Saves Duke fame) was denied a credential to the Duke – North Carolina game this weekend, even though he requested it through Grantland. Poynter does a phenomenal job following up on the details (how many credentials were issued, Richard Deitsch’s follow-up reporting and Duke’s response). Awful Announcing covers more background on Ryan including tying the current events back to what originally got Ryan noticed (his terrific rant, which in my opinion remains the best of his work even if he apologized for it later).

EXTRA: Suffice to say Virginia‘s student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, joined the club of Cavalier fans not happy about the officiating in the loss to North Carolina. My favorite part is the philosophical rant on flopping and excellence.

EXTRA EXTRA: Boston College won the game for the #11 seed in the ACC Tournament against Georgia Tech 56-52 thanks to a hot start and the fortitude to just hold on as the Yellow Jackets made their run late in the second half. You can relive the game through the eyes of Eagle fans with all of its ups and downs.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.27.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 27th, 2012

  1. Streaking The Lawn: Virginia lost a brutal game to North Carolina on Saturday. Mike Scott played poorly, going 3-of-13 from the field, but he never got into the flow of the game because of foul trouble. What didn’t impress Brian Schwartz (or most Cavalier fans) was the acting from John Henson on two of the calls against Scott. I fall somewhere in between Schwartz and Roy Williams’ opinion: I think Scott got hosed by the officials, but that’s not what cost them the game. You could just as easily argue that not having Assane Sene because of injury cost them the game. The deciding factor was Virginia missing shots down the stretch. Calls would’ve helped, but it’s all for naught if you don’t knock down those shots.
  2. Baltimore Sun: James Padgett is too nice. He’s developing into one of Maryland’s better players, but he just isn’t aggressive enough to become the Terrapins’ second option this season. There’s also the question of why his defensive rebounding lags so far behind his offensive rebounding. The obvious reason is that Alex Len and Ashton Pankey clean up the glass for the Terps, but with Len often going for blocks you’d assume Padgett would have plenty of defensive rebounding opportunities.
  3. Charleston Post and Courier: Milton Jennings woke up after Brad Brownell suspended him for a couple of games in early February. The former McDonald’s All-American is proving to be a (somewhat inconsistent) creator, averaging just under 12 points a game in the Tigers’ last five contests. But Brownell wanted to be clear that the Tigers’ recent success wouldn’t affect Jennings’ off the court struggles: “He knows he’s walking on thin ice with me.” At least for now the suspension seems to be effective. Obviously, we can’t see Jennings life outside of games, but his improved production is certainly a good sign.
  4. Fayetteville Observer: NC State‘s bubble burst after falling to Clemson over the weekend. The Wolfpack are heading back to the NIT barring a very strong run to the ACC Tournament finals (beating Duke or North Carolina on the way). The team showed spurts of promise, playing with the best teams in the conference, but even a 20-point second half lead against Duke resulted in the loss column. More than anything, Mark Gottfried’s talented recruiting class should give his team critical depth for competing against top schools in conference play.
  5. ACC Sports Journal: I found this breakdown of the DukeFlorida State game very interesting, mainly because it points to why Duke was so effective shooting threes, even against elite defenses like Florida State. The Seminoles smothered Duke inside, but the Blue Devils knocked down perimeter jumpers to answer every Florida State run. Denny Kuiper points to help defense leaving Duke shooters wide open, which certainly created plenty of open looks for Andre Dawkins against Florida State. But Austin Rivers and (to a lesser extent) Seth Curry have both shown the ability to score at the rim this year. Not helping to stop Rivers seems like a recipe for disaster, though I can almost guarantee you that would be the strategy that Mike Krzyzewski would employ if he had to craft a game plan to guard his uber-freshman.
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Night Line: Virginia Falling Fast, Failing to Score

Posted by EJacoby on February 15th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. Night Line will run on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

Remember when Virginia played Duke to a one-possession game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in mid-January, then followed that up with a 32-point road win at Georgia Tech and was ranked No. 15 in the succeeding AP Poll? That Cavaliers team looks completely different from the one that scored just 48 points in a 12-point loss on Tuesday night at Clemson to fall to 6-5 in the ACC. What once looked like a surging team with top four NCAA seed potential has turned into a squad in a bit of a free fall. UVA has not only lost starting center Assane Sene to injury, but also three of its last four games and four of their last eight overall to drop to sixth place in the ACC. Virginia needs to turn things around if they want to make the Big Dance with a chance to win in the postseason. They’ll have that opportunity with both North Carolina and Florida State coming into John Paul Jones Arena in the next two weeks.

Virginia Has Had Trouble Making Shots Recently (AP Photo/J. Bounds)

Back on January 16, the then-No. 15 Cavaliers were not only on a nice winning streak but also had developed a strong identity as a slow-paced, defensive team that was difficult to execute against. Their average game includes 60.5 possessions, one of the 20 slowest tempos in the nation. Led by fifth-year senior Mike Scott, who has developed into one of the best all-around forwards in the country, Virginia had the goods to beat opponents in a grind-it-out style that came down to whose offense could be most efficient in the half court. At 15-2, the results showed that they were making it work. However, the downside to that style of play given the tempo is always the potential to allow teams to hang in a game. And when you’re not executing well enough on your own end of the court, then the style can turn ugly in a hurry. That is exactly what has happened to Virginia.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.14.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 14th, 2012

  1. Duke Magazine: This is a very, very good profile of Mike Krzyzewski by Bridget Booher. She covers his love for gardening, his hiring at Duke, his surgery and his future retirement. The article looks at the challenges Krzyzewski has faced as a coach, and the solutions he and his family came up with to deal with them. How many articles are you going to read with an A Farewell To Arms reference today? I wish the article talked about his Olympic coaching, but this is definitely the must-read article of the day.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Stephen Schramm and Bret Strelow picked their mid-season ACC awards. First, I agree completely that player of the year is a two-man race between Mike Scott and Tyler Zeller. Scott holds the edge because of his relative importance for the Cavaliers, but Zeller is definitely gaining ground. For coach of the year I think Steve Donahue is a legitimate choice despite his team’s struggles. The Eagles are demolishing expectations despite being inexperienced, unathletic and untalented (that’s a little harsh but only by a little). I would give a little more love to Bernard James for defensive player of the year, though I think John Henson and Jontel Evans are strong candidates as well. For most improved, Mason Plumlee and Richard Howell also probably deserve mentions.
  3. Mobile Press-Register: Tommy Hicks checked in with Mark Gottfried about his new job at North Carolina State, sandwiched near Duke and North Carolina. Gottfried compared the intensity to a hypothetical situation of Alabama having LSU 20 miles away and Auburn 10 miles away. If he was being historically accurate, I think NC State is more like Auburn (minus the Cam Newton experience).
  4. ACC Sports Journal: Rivalry games are funny things. They’re built up and built up, but in the end it’s one win or one loss and takes no longer than any other game. That’s what Duke and North Carolina are trying to deal with right now. Coach K used footage from Duke’s wins over UNLV and Kentucky from the early 1990s (en route to national championships) to try to teach sustained effort. Meanwhile Roy Williams tried to move past the disappointing loss and on to greater tests.
  5. Orlando Sentinel: “You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.” That’s the adage Mike Bianchi used to describe former Florida State athletic director Dave Hart, who hired and stuck with head coach Leonard Hamilton. It still blows my mind that, even this year, Seminole fans have called for Hamilton’s job. Sure hindsight is always 20/20, but Hamilton has Florida State with its best chance to win an ACC regular season title for the first time ever. That’s pretty good.
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Set Your TiVo: 02.11.12 – 02.12.12

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 10th, 2012

Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Plenty of top 25 games are on Saturday’s slate while conference races heat up and bubble teams look for key wins.

#20 Virginia at #5 North Carolina – 1:00 PM EST Saturday on ESPN FullCourt/ESPN3.com (****)

  • Coming off the crushing home loss to Duke on Wednesday, how will the Tar Heels respond? Without P.J. Hairston (sore foot) in the lineup, things could get a little dicey for #5 UNC. Hairston’s absence severely limits Carolina’s already thin back court depth. This game is going to be all about pace. Virginia plays at one of the slowest paces in the nation while North Carolina is one of the fastest teams. Point guard Kendall Marshallhas to get his team running as much as they can but we’ve seen time and time again how it is much easier to slow a game down than it is to speed it up. Wisconsin did this effectively at the Dean Dome earlier this season and you’re going to see the same blueprint from Virginia. The Cavaliers do a great job defending the three-point arc so UNC will likely get almost all of its points from inside or the free throw line. The Tar Heels are among the bottom five teams in America in terms of threes attempted to begin with and get 61.8% of their points from two-point range on average. Marshall and his teammates must be able to penetrate and move the ball well against Virginia’s strong half court defense.

    How Will Marshall & The Tar Heels Respond To Tuesday's Last Second Loss?

  • Virginia’s biggest strengths are its defense and play of forward Mike Scott. At 60.3% from the field, Scott is among the best interior players in the nation, but will have to receive some help from a thin UVA front line in this game. Led by Tyler Zeller and John Henson, North Carolina has a ton of height up front that could give Scott a lot of problems. With Assane Sene still out with an ankle injury, the burden of helping Scott against UNC’s imposing front line falls to Akil Mitchell. His presence will be needed more on the defensive end to limit Zeller and Henson but Virginia is not going to win if Scott doesn’t score. Mitchell must be enough of a threat to prevent quick double teams on Scott, allowing him to maneuver around the UNC trees. Defensively, Virginia will look to pack its defense in and prevent Marshall from penetrating and dishing to Zeller and Henson. Making opponents take tough shots is something Virginia does really well and the Cavaliers will need to do it again. Harrison Barnes will likely oblige but Mitchell and Scott must force Zeller and Henson into shots outside the paint or falling away from the basket. If you allow those guys to receive the ball in the paint, you’re finished.
  • Even though Virginia will likely slow the game down to a pace of its liking, the Cavaliers still must score the basketball. Sammy Zeglinski is five for his last 19 from the floor over the past three games and Jontel Evans has to have a good game at the point guard position. Virginia can’t turn the ball over and fuel the Carolina transition attack. It would also help if Joe Harris was knocking down triples, especially if Zeglinski can’t get out of his funk. Keep an eye on rebounding. North Carolina did a great job against Duke, showing some toughness on the glass that we haven’t always seen this year. Virginia is fourth nationally in defensive rebounding percentage but the Cavs really struggle on the offensive end. If the shots aren’t falling, Virginia will have a lot of one and done possessions if it can’t do a better job on the offensive glass. Good rebounding also helps a team control tempo and that’s exactly what Virginia needs to do in order to win this game on the road.

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ACC Morning Five: 02.09.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 9th, 2012

  1. Florida Today: Well, you can tell this article was written early yesterday (an evening article would probably look the exact opposite of this). Overlooked largely because of Duke’s epic comeback against North Carolina was the Seminoles’ equally epic defeat to Boston College. The same Florida State that knocked off Duke on the road and North Carolina by more than 30 couldn’t handle the lowly Eagles. But the thesis from this article remains: Florida State has a very favorable schedule to take at least a share of the ACC title. It was even better before Leonard Hamilton’s team went and coughed up a free road win in Chestnut Hill. Now the questions are about the Seminoles going forward. Are they the team that lost to Boston College and Clemson, or are they the team that beat Duke and North Carolina? Was this game a product of losing focus, or was it a brutal regression to the mean?
  2. Hampton Roads Pilot: Mike Scott continued his under-the-radar quest for ACC Player of the Year with a record-tying 9-9 shooting performance over Wake Forest. Scott finished with 19 points in a rout of the Demon Deacons, and boy was it a rout. Virginia led 40-19 at the half (after shooting a ludicrous 70.8% from the field). That lead only got bigger, moving to 56-23 early in the second half before they coasted.
  3. Sports Business Daily: Well, the verdict is in. ACC schools will reportedly be making one to two million dollars more a year than currently after the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the league. The extra money will push the ACC towards being more competitive with the Pac-12, Big 10 and SEC in that regard. This should at least table the “conference expansion won’t make more money” argument for the time being.
  4. Wall Street Journal: Speaking of money, the Wall Street Journal took a look at the richest schools and conferences based on NBA earnings (for players drafted since 1985). North Carolina and Duke top the list, as the only schools whose alumni NBA salaries surpassed the $800 million dollar mark. Surprisingly, Arizona was third on the list. Even more surprisingly Georgia Tech is seventh. I would have guessed Duke and North Carolina on top, but I never would have suspected Georgia Tech cracked the top 10 (ahead of Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA).
  5. ESPN and Yahoo Sports: Speaking of the Tobacco Road rivals, Austin Rivers hit a pretty big shot last night. The ESPN story is an interview with Doc Rivers, who got to attend the game. It’s worth a watch just to see the pure excitement on the elder Rivers’ face as he jumps up and down hugging his daughter after the shot falls. For a more conventional recap, I suggest Pat Forde’s write-up from the Dean Dome. I’m not sure any story can do the last two and a half minutes justice, but his piece attempts to do so.

Video of the Week:

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ACC Game On: 02.08.12

Posted by KCarpenter on February 8th, 2012

Maryland kicked off a week of excellent ACC matches by eking out a win against struggling Clemson. Terrell Stoglin‘s Superman act remains impressive as he put up 27 points on 11 shots with four steals. Maryland needed every one of those points too, as Clemson took 63 shots while the Terrapins managed only 47.  Winning a game despite such an overwhelming loss in the bottle of possessions is impressive, but I still can’t help but feel that Maryland should be able to beat Clemson without such heroic offensive and defensive efforts.

The Big Game

  • Duke at North Carolina at 9:00 PM on ESPN
Next Stop: Prime Time

It's About That Time Again

The Blue Devils come into this game after suffering the wrath of a suprisingly feisty Hurricanes team. Miami isn’t a bad squad, but Duke should have handled the game without any problem. Their offense is as good as ever, but the defense ranks as the ninth-best in the conference. Meanwhile, Duke is inhabiting a special kind of match-up hell. Robbi Pickeral talked about the defensive problem that 6’8″ Harrison Barnes creates at small forward, but a tougher challenge in my mind will be stopping Carolina’s shooting guards. Austin Rivers might claim to be up for a spell against Barnes and Tyler Thornton is at least a partial answer to Kendall Marshall, but who’s going to spend the game trying to stop the athletic Reggie Bullock? If anyone can crack this match-up puzzle, it’s Mike Krzyzewski, who may have to reach deep onto his bench for solutions (free Michael Gbinije?). Regardless, Duke’s ability to make threes will give the Devils a chance against a North Carolina team that still surrenders too many perimeter shots. Make no mistake, Duke comes into this game as the underdog against a confident Tar Heel team that expects to win this game.

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