ACC Morning Five: 02.08.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 8th, 2012

  1. Tallahassee Democrat: Ira Schoffel hits a home run with this profile on Leonard Hamilton. It’s lengthy, but totally worth the time it takes to read. It’s really unfortunate that it will be buried by Duke – North Carolina previews today. Schoffel spent time with many of Hamilton’s friends and family from his days in Gastonia, North Carolina. He may not look it, but Hamilton is the second oldest coach behind Mike Krzyzewski in the ACC. The FSU head coach has had a really inspirational journey from Gastonia to Tallahassee. Even above and beyond the high school story, Hamilton’s coaching resume is very impressive too. Before the year I said Bernard James might have the best story in college basketball, but I might have been wrong. His coach may have him beat.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: Lame title aside, this is a terrific piece on Austin Rivers from Jack Daly. Rivers went from being a walking cliche — the talented but selfish son of an NBA coach — when he arrived at Duke to something far more compelling once he took the court. Sure, he’s made mistakes. But he’s also Duke’s best offensive weapon. His critics jumped on his early season struggles and have tended to alter the criticisms instead of the narrative as his game improves. It’s clear he has a chip on his shoulder, but I haven’t heard that chip really expressed openly until this piece. He talks about trying to succeed in the shadow of Doc Rivers and the wealth of expectations and dearth of praise (at least at the college level) for his achievements. Daly finishes the piece with a perfect quote from Rivers:

    People always ask what makes me hungry now: I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t done anything yet. I had a great high school career, I was No. 1 – I don’t care. No one cares about that anymore. At Duke, I haven’t won a national championship, I haven’t won an ACC Tournament, I don’t play in the NBA. I haven’t done anything. I have everything that can motivate me.

  3. CBSSports.com: Continuing the DukeNorth Carolina rivalry trope, Brett Friedlander sat down with several former and current Tar Heels to talk about why they chose the school in Chapel Hill over the one eight miles south in Durham. Former Tar Heel big man Eric Montross seems to hit the nail on the head, calling the decision a “gut feeling” of one school over the other. Whether it’s North Carolina’s adjacent museum, the banners, or meeting Michael Jordan — Tar Heel players walk away from visits just knowing… On the flip side I suspect many players who choose Duke feel the same about Cameron Indoor and its many banners overhead as well. The atmospheres are undeniably different, but the two team’s histories share an excellence.
  4. Chicago Tribune: Miami is quietly building an NCAA Tournament resume now that Reggie Johnson is back in the line-up. The Hurricanes have won five of their last six games and four straight including the overtime win at Duke. That said, the “surprise” part of Miami’s bid foundation (for me) is that it’s taken this long to take hold. Certainly Johnson’s injury didn’t do Jim Larranaga any favors, but if you asked me which new coach was doing the worst job at the start of conference season, I wouldn’t have hesitated calling out the former George Mason coach. Miami still has a lot of work to do. I think it splits with Florida State and avenges a home loss to NC State. If the Hurricanes take care of that business, they’ll have 11 conference wins with the disclaimer that the ugly first half of the season was without Johnson (really 10 wins and a solid performance in the ACC Tournament could do the trick, but better safe than sorry).
  5. Fayetteville Observer: In honor of Duke and North Carolina, Stephen Schramm sat down with @thedevilwolf, one of the best trollers in the business. If you follow ACC basketball much on Twitter, you probably know his handle (but not his name). In addition to timely trolling, he’s also good for insightful comments during games and over on Duke Hoop Blog. Schramm also mentioned another mysterious Tobacco Road Twitter celebrity, @TarHeelWire, who disappeared suddenly after nearly two years of constant tweeting on North Carolina athletics when more and more people sought the identity of the man behind the handle.

EXTRA: Troy Machir over at Ballin’ Is A Habit put out his 2011-12 All-Hair-Team, and the list starts with Mike Scott and his many cornrow designs. No other ACC players make the cut (though Miles Plumlee‘s high and tight makes a defensive cameo).

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ACC Morning Five: 02.03.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 3rd, 2012

  1. Blogger So Dear: This was an interesting discussion on Wake Forest basketball halfway through conference play. It’s long but informative, and I found the differing opinions on Jeff Bzdelik particularly interesting. While most Demon Deacon fans seem to want Bzdelik gone as soon as possible, the consensus here appears to be that he deserves one more year. With a strong class coming in next season, giving him another year definitely makes sense. However, the points remain that his team has struggled the past two years with any offensive consistency. Unlike Steve Donahue (whose lukewarm seat should only be attributed to recruiting), Bzdelik’s coaching strategy is hard to pick out. Maybe it’s a personnel issue, but he may be a little over his head too.
  2. Hampton Roads Pilot: Doug Doughty addresses Mike Scott‘s legacy at Virginia. Scott should be the favorite for ACC player of the year right now (the prohibitive favorite if you ask me), though many seem to think someone from North Carolina will take the honor by year’s end. Even then, barring an epic collapse, Scott should make the first team All-Conference. No Virginia big man since Ralph Sampson in the early ’80s can say that. Only two Virginia players in history have ever won ACC player of the year. Certainly, he’s having the best season since at least when Sean Singletary left Charlottesville.
  3. Roanoke Times: When people think of Austin Rivers, they immediately think Doc Rivers‘ son. It’s the curse of having a famous parent in the same field. There’s also an assumption that goes with it that Rivers is good because his father is an NBA coach. Mark Berman’s interview with the Duke freshman guard reminded me that Doc Rivers was away from home more often than not. The NBA season is long and all over the place. His presence may have instilled a respect for the game of basketball, but it did not guarantee his son’s success. Rivers is coming off his best game of the season against Virginia Tech. He finished with 18 points (on 10 shots), a team-leading five assists and four rebounds. He didn’t force things on offense and played very good defense throughout despite being consistently matched up with taller, more experienced players. It may be time to change his narrative yet again.
  4. Raleigh News & Observer: Bad news for Harrison Barnes and North Carolina. The sophomore star has a sprained ankle. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play Saturday at Maryland (Roy Williams tends to overestimate injuries). That said, with Duke looming I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get limited minutes.
  5. ESPN: This post is a few days old, but it’s become surprisingly relevant. Chief of officials John Adams thinks there should be more technical fouls. Since his memo dropped four days ago, I’ve seen at least four or five guys T’d up (Mark Turgeon was ejected against Miami). I’m all for enforcing the technical rules more consistently (and harshly if that keeps games from getting out of hand); however, let’s remember that technical fouls count for two free throws and a personal foul. If you’re going to call more, give players six pesrsonal fouls. No one wants to see someone sit for a single taunt. Also I’d be in favor of moving to one free throw instead of the requisite two. As an example, check out the highlights from Duke’s win over Virginia Tech, as Andre Dawkins gets a technical for taunting (though it looked like he just jogged back on defense).
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Where Is The Love? Virginia’s Mike Scott Still Under the Radar

Posted by mpatton on February 2nd, 2012

Below is a chart comparing four potential national player of the year candidates from Mike Rothstein’s media straw poll. The first two columns are ACC players. The second two are national frontrunners. Any idea who each one is?

A Comparison of Four Player of the Year Candidates (credit: Statsheet.com)

The leftmost column is Mike Scott, who received one — seriously, one — third place vote in the straw poll (along with Julian Mavunga, Arnett Moultrie and Ricardo Ratliffe). The second column is Harrison Barnes, who received one first place vote and one third place vote. The third and fourth columns are Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger, respectively. Robinson showcased a commanding lead in the poll with 37 (of 53) first-place votes, seven second-place votes, and five third-place votes. Sullinger finished in third with two first-place votes, 12 second-place votes and 12 third-place votes. If we take the poll at face value, Robinson has dominated college basketball (not an unreasonable statement), Jared Sullinger is doing moderately well and Mike Scott sort of impressed someone — but isn’t playing as well as Barnes.

Luckily, we don’t take straw polls at face value because the truth is far from the votes. Take the above statistics with a slight grain of salt because they don’t include defense at all (Scott, Barnes and Sullingers are all mediocre defenders). But let’s break down the stats one by one.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.20.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 20th, 2012

  1. USA Today: Nicole Auerbach sat down with Mike Scott the “dark horse” ACC Player of the Year candidate (I only use quotation marks because he should be the runaway candidate thus far, but I’m not sure the voters would agree). It’s an interesting interview that touches on Scott’s rehab, Virginia’s success and what it’s like to be a fifth-year senior. Apparently Scott put on a good deal of weight but lost 20 pounds trying to get ready for the season.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Virginia will get some help in the depth department, at least in practice, from Teven Jones. Jones went to Fishburne Military School for what was supposed to be a postgraduate year, but after a semester his coach suggested he enroll with the Cavaliers. Jones originally drew coaching eyes on the gridiron as a wide receiver, but the combo guard looks like he could be an invaluable weapon offensively in the coming seasons for Virginia.
  3. Washington Post: File this away in the obvious section. Terrell Stoglin needs help from Maryland on the scoring front. He’s responsible for 30.7% of Maryland’s points, and the attention he receives probably makes him even more important than that. Take the Terrapins’ loss to Florida State: Stoglin seemingly dominated the game, scoring 27 points, but he didn’t score at all during the Seminoles’ “game-deciding” 21-5 run. Nick Faust, Sean Mosley, and even Alex Len have all shown flashes of scoring ability, but Mark Turgeon will really need someone to step up to compete in conference play.
  4. Tallahassee Democrat: Speaking of obvious stories, Florida State‘s offense is “suddenly on fire”. After a very slow start (I’m not even sure that does credit to its 10-point half against Princeton), this group of Seminoles is the first ever to score over 80 in back-to-back conference games. Part of the key has been the addition of Ian Miller, who was forced to sit out the beginning of the season. But the real key has been valuing the basketball. If the Seminoles score 80 points this weekend, they will beat Duke more times than not even in Cameron Indoor.
  5. Winston-Salem Journal: Mark Gottfried’s team is going to have to deal with something new–success. Well, if last night’s game was any indication, the Wolfpack dealt with it very well in a big win against Boston College. The score didn’t reflect just how dominant NC State was–especially in the first half (all said and done Richard Howell managed to outrebound the Eagles’ starters). Next up the Wolfpack have a road test against Miami before Mark Gottfried’s first game from the Dean Dome.

EXTRA: I managed to overlook this earlier in the week, but Gary Williams just started analyzing games for ESPN 980 in Washington DC. Williams already works as an analyst for the Big Ten Network, but this should be a chance to get his opinions on the ACC. He’s with the station until April 3.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.13.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 13th, 2012

Before we get started, how about a pretty amazing stat from last night. Duke shot below 50% from the foul line and 25% from three for the first time in school history in its win against Virginia (to be fair, the Cavaliers went 0-11 from three in the second half in a game they lost by three).

  1. Gobbler Country: The Virginia Tech blog takes a look at the Hokies and hands out grades for the starters. Erick Green leads the way with an A followed by Jarell Eddie with a B+. Eddie, in particular, came out of nowhere for me especially. I personally thought the C- for Dorenzo Hudson was generous. True, his numbers aren’t terrible, but I sort of expected him to excel as the second option for Green. The best news from this post is that they still believe in true grades, giving a C to Dorian Finney-Smith despite the fact that “he has nearly met them and exceeded them on the boards”. Take that grade inflation.
  2. Shakin’ The Southland: While we take a jaunt around the blogosphere, this wins the lede of the night: “We just lost to Clifford the Big Red Dog and his merry band of freshmen.” Boston College gets its first conference win! The Eagles pulled off the upset over Clemson exactly how I imagined, knocking down eight threes in a slow game while their opponent went ice cold down the stretch. It’s a great win for the Eagles and a horrendous loss for Clemson coming off an exciting conference opener.
  3. Baltimore Sun: Mark Turgeon needs more out of Ashton Pankey, Terrell Stoglin, and Alex Len. Pankey played some solid games when Len was on the bench, but losing his starting spot has killed his productivity. Turgeon’s criticism of Stoglin seems harsh, but I think–like the other players–it’s really a compliment. As for Len, Turgeon just wants him to get in game shape.
  4. The Sporting News: Sorry to be recap heavy, but it was an important night in conference play. Duke pulled out the victory in the end, but give Virginia a lot of credit. It played Duke too close for comfort all night. Mike Scott showed he’s almost certainly the most valuable player thus far in the conference. On Duke’s side, Mason Plumlee would be en route to a first-team All-Conference season if not for unbelievably bad free throw shooting. Against the Cavaliers, Plumlee finished 2-10 from the charity stripe.
  5. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: About the lone bright spot from Miami’s beatdown at North Carolina was the continuing solid play from Kenny Kadji. Kadji, once a top recruit at IMG Academy, is finally starting to reach his potential. He’s developed a solid jumper in addition to solid post skills (that will certainly be improved with some more weight). Keep an eye on the Miami little-big man going forward.

Speaking of North Carolina and Miami, I failed to notice something about the game. Fred Black, a contributor at Chapelboro, thought the North Carolina crowd has been “boorish” the last couple of games. I was at one of those games and the last thing I would’ve described the crowd as is “boorish.” Also, I love the vague “school up the road” (coughDUKEcough) with a reputation for “boorish” fans [Author's Note: For the record, some people think he's referring to NC State, which could be true and would be equally funny.].

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Set Your TiVo: 01.12.12

Posted by bmulvihill on January 12th, 2012

Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Tonight we’ll see two match-ups that may be previews to conference championship games in the ACC and the WCC. All four teams are in the RTC Top 25 and both games should be fantastic. Let’s take a look at how things break down.

Senior forward Mike Scott takes his efficient offensive skills into Cameron Indoor for UVA's toughest test of the season (The Sabre)

#19 Virginia at #8 Duke – 9:00 PM EST on ESPN HD (****)

  • Virginia has only lost one time this season and is looking for its 13th consecutive win. Playing at Duke will be UVA’s toughest test of the season. The Cavaliers play at a sloth’s pace. While their offense is nothing more than average, their defense has been stellar. They are holding teams to 27% from beyond the arc and are in the top 10 in the country in defensive rebounding. Although offense is not the Cavaliers’ strong suit, 6’8″ forward Mike Scott is one of the most effective scorers and rebounders in the country. Considering how slowly Virginia plays, Scott should be considered one of the top big men in the country. Keep a close eye on how he matches up with Duke’s Mason Plumlee. It should be a great battle between two future NBA forwards.
  • Duke still possesses one of the top offenses in the country. The Blue Devils shoot an outstanding 41.7% from downtown. Much like Virginia, Duke knows how to get to the line. The free throw battle in this game will be extremely important. In both of Duke’s losses, two key statistics emerged. They did not get to the line and their opponent shot the lights out. On the season, the Dukies have a free throw rate of 51.5%, which is good for third in the nation. In losses to Ohio State and Temple, Duke had a free throw rate of 25% and 27%, respectively. Virginia does not put teams on the line, so it will be interesting to see how the free throw situation plays out.
  • While it appears that this game will come down to Duke’s offense versus Virginia’s defense, the UVA offense actually may hold the key to the win. In Duke’s two losses, OSU and Temple both had an eFG of over 60%. Look to see if Virginia’s Sammy Zeglinski can hit his threes. Zeglinski is the Cavaliers’ top three-point shooter, hitting 31-of-74 attempts (41.9%). Also, keep an eye on Duke’s offensive rebounding. The Cavaliers’ defense will contest Duke’s three-point shots and the Blue Devils are a poor offensive rebounding team. If Mike Krzyzewski’s squad goes one-and-done too many times, the Cavaliers could pull the upset at Cameron Indoor. However, it may be too much to expect for the Virginia offense to win in such a tough environment.

#16 Gonzaga at #25 St. Mary’s – 11:00 PM EST on ESPNU HD (****)

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Five Thoughts Before ACC Action Tips

Posted by KCarpenter on January 7th, 2012

I can’t help but be deliriously and feverishly excited about the beginning of intraconference play, but before we get down to brass tacks, there are a few things that we should probably be talking about before we settle up the conference pecking order. Let’s go over a few suggested topics of conversation before actual basketball begins.

1. Virginia is for real. The Cavaliers’ national ranking is totally deserved and barring injuries or collapse, this team is poised to make some noise in March. Mike Scott is the flavor of the week amongst the college basketball stat-erati because, well he is kind of killing it, but Virginia’s slow pace means that he’s not getting enough credit for it. The Cavaliers are certainly capable of taking down Duke or North Carolina and the team’s consistency is something that every other team in the conference envies.

Mike Scott Is Really Good

2. Scheduling is a double-edged sword. Both Maryland and North Carolina State have the talent to make the NCAA Tournament, but both also have some scheduling issues that might get in the way of these aspirations. Maryland has a daunting conference schedule that includes two shots apiece at Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke, as well as a non-conference tilt with Temple. That gives the Terrapins plenty of chances to register signature wins, but it also means that there are seven games on the schedule that are more likely to be losses than not. Conversely, the NC State Wolfpack has two games apiece against Wake Forest, Boston College, and Georgia Tech. Mark Gottfried’s team is likely to rack up plenty of wins, but they have far less opportunities to make an impression with a certain tournament selection committee.

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Set Your TiVo: 01.02.12

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 2nd, 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.

It’s a relatively light night of hoops but two interesting games in the South should have your attention this evening.

Texas A&M at #5 Baylor – 7:00 PM EST on ESPNU (***)

  • The Baylor Bears keep winning as they head into a conference showdown with in-state rival Texas A&M tonight. This figures to be a good match-up for Baylor although it needs to ensure it controls the pace. Texas A&M gets 65.2% of its points from two-point range (third in the nation) but interior defense happens to be Baylor’s biggest strength. The Bears allow only 39.3% shooting from inside the arc with Perry Jones III and company patrolling the paint. Defensively, look for Scott Drew’s team to try to pick up the pace and pressure Texas A&M’s guards. The Bears force a turnover 24.6% of the time although both teams don’t handle the ball particularly well.
  • Texas A&M is not comfortable playing at a faster pace but therein lies the dilemma. The Aggies don’t run efficient enough half court offense to succeed in a slower-paced game, especially against the strong Baylor defense. Billy Kennedy’s team should take a page out of Louisville’s playbook against Kentucky. A&M should pressure Baylor and try to get turnovers at certain times, but not throughout the entire game. Texas A&M may actually hurt itself while trying to force Baylor into turnovers, something that will speed up the game where the Bears’ superior athletes can take over. Texas A&M has to establish Ray Turner and David Loubeau inside while Khris Middleton uses his versatility to stretch Baylor’s defense, opening up seams. Getting Elston Turner going from long range would also be advantageous for A&M, a team that doesn’t rely much at all on the trifecta. Turner had 20 points on 3-5 shooting from deep in a loss against Florida last month.
  • For Texas A&M to have a chance on the road, it must rebound, rebound, and rebound some more in addition to controlling pace. If the Aggies don’t score inside off second chance opportunities or in transition, Baylor will win this game easily. Keep an eye on Baylor’s perimeter shooting. Texas A&M ranks #6 in three-point defense and will look to shut down Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson. Even if the Aggies are successful in that regard, they need to do a whole lot more to pull the upset.

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ACC Game On: 01.02.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on January 2nd, 2012

After a weekend of largely uneventful blowouts, lowlighted by the Ivy League getting the best of the ACC in an impromptu and unofficial interconference challenge that saw Harvard smash Boston College, Yale come within one point of defeating Wake Forest, and Miami losing to Princeton in triple overtime, the teams of the ACC face their final non-conference tune-ups before the beginning of league play. It has been an odd time for the conference and the balance of power is very much in the air. While North Carolina and Duke appear to still be the class of the conference and Boston College looks to be the joke of the conference, the other nine teams have yet to stake out clear identities or even a presumptive pecking order. With ACC play on the near horizon, teams are running out of opportunities to make statements in inter-conference play.

A Defensive Showdown

  • Virginia at LSU at 7:00 PM on ESPN3.com

The Cavaliers are one team that has done a pretty good job in staking out an identity in the ACC. They are the clear third best team in the league, featuring a tenacious, unyielding defense and a probable All-ACC player in Mike Scott. Ironically, when Virginia takes its trip down to the bayou to take on the Tigers, they will be facing one of the most hard-to-pin-down teams in the nation. LSU’s early losses to Coastal Carolina, Northwestern, and the University of Southern Alabama were discouraging losses, but the fact remains that these Tigers have rebounded and haven’t lost a game since November. LSU has been getting it done on defense and despite the team’s youth and utter rawness on offense they have managed some impressive wins including a win over a very good Marquette team. Virginia is probably the better team and their tough defense figures to make life far too difficult for an LSU team that struggles to score against mediocre defenses. Still, Virginia is playing on the road, and Lousiana State certainly has enough talent to pull off an upset making this a game that should prove to be fairly intriguing.

The Last Likely Win For Boston College

  • Rhode Island at Boston College at 1:00 PM on ESPN3.com

Boston College is going to have a hard time winning games in the ACC. Looking at Boston College’s conference schedule, it is hard to pick out games where the Eagles could be called the favorites, or failing that, even a reasonable pick. Outside of a home game against Wake Forest, the spring of 2012 could be a very tough time for fans in Chestnut Hill. It’s a bleak prospect, so hopefully this game will offer some succor to the Eagles’ fans. Rhode Island is having an equally disastrous season as BC, and with the game being played at home, I don’t think it would be crazy to call the Eagles the favorites. That’s something worth savoring, since this might be the last time this season that I can say that.

For Fans Only

  • UNC Greensboro at Miami at 9:00 PM on ESPN3.com
  • Wofford at Wake Forest at 7:00 PM on ESPN3.com

Miami’s tough loss against Princeton on Friday seems like bad news for UNC Greensboro. The Hurricanes will be out to prove that the loss was a fluke and will be eager to crush their over-matched Southern Conference foe. If you change the home team to “Wake Forest”, the previous result to “a narrow win against Yale”, and the Southern Conference opponent to Wofford, you will likely have a creeping feeling of déjà vu.

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ACC Game On: 12.28.11 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 28th, 2011

There was only one game on last night and it wasn’t exactly thrilling or unexpected as Virginia, led by the machine-like Mike Scott, destroyed the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks. The win is only the latest in a campaign that has the Cavaliers ranked in both national polls and off to their best start in a decade. While soundly beating the teams that you should beat doesn’t impress most people, it’s what Tony Bennett‘s crew has done after bouncing back from the tough loss to TCU early in the season.

Mike Scott Has Been A Consistent Star For Virginia

The Duel and the Debut

  • Albany at Maryland at 8pm

In the Albany Great Danes, the Terrapins should see more than a bit of themselves. Like Maryland, Albany is a mediocre team defensively, but a  much better offensive team powered by a star scoring wing who has a real talent at getting to the free throw line. Terrell Stoglin averages 21.5 PPG while drawing an incredible 7.5 fouls per forty minutes. For the Great Danes, Gerardo Suero averages 21.5 PPG and draws an even more stunning 8.4 fouls per forty minutes. Suero is bigger and gets more rebounds than than the smaller Stoglin, but he also turns the ball over much more. In any case, both players are scoring dynamos with a talent for drawing contact and it should be a joy to see them try to one-up each other. More important, perhaps, is that this game will feature the debut of Alex Len, the promising freshman big man who was serving an NCAA mandated suspension related to his amateur status and time playing with a professional team in Ukraine. While Len will come off the bench, his play should at least give the Terrapin faithful some glimpses of what the future might hold.

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ACC Morning Ten: 12.20 & 12.21 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 21st, 2011

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the absent Morning Five yesterday. I hope a double-dose of links will help ease the pain.

  1. Run The Floor: In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of defensive charting. Michael Rogner has charted the defensive work of Bernard James, John Henson, Josh Smith and Anthony Davis. Putting on your ACC goggles, you can also check his piece over at Tomahawk Nation that ignores the non-Seminole players. The findings are very interesting. Basically, without Chris Singleton, the Seminole defense is elite with James in the game and above average with him on the bench. With James on the court, Leonard Hamilton’s squad allows only 0.75 points per possession, but with him on the bench it allows 0.91 points per possession. That’s a gigantic difference. For comparison’s sake, Henson “only” affects North Carolina’s defense by 0.11 points per possession.
  2. Durham Herald-Sun: James Michael McAdoo is off to a relatively slow start for North Carolina this season, and Roy Williams thinks it’s his lack of aggression to blame. Against UNCG, “Williams turned to the bench and said that if the 6’9″ freshman didn’t dunk the ball next time, everyone on the team would run sprints while he sat McAdoo on a lawn chair and served him lemonade.” McAdoo’s talent is undeniable, but his transition to the college level has been far from smooth.
  3. Washington Post: Coaching legend Larry Brown made another short stop (zing) to visit his former player, Mark Turgeon, at Maryland’s basketball practice recently. Despite playing for North Carolina, Brown called Maryland a “special place” with a “special coach.” The only coach in history to win an NCAA championship (1988) and an NBA championship (2004) also gave some advice to Turgeon.


  4. Basketball Prospectus: Drew Cannon evaluated Kendall Marshall as the 70th best basketball player in the country during the offseason, which was substantially below where pretty much everyone else places the unique North Carolina point guard. But Cannon realized that “[he] was evaluating players in terms of ‘how many wins would this player add to a randomly assembled team of college players?’ while everyone else was evaluating players in terms of ‘how many wins will this player add to his team?'” It’s an important distinction to make, and a valuable one. I still think he had Marshall a little undervalued (and most have him overvalued), but it certainly provides some food for thought (also, don’t be surprised to see some more content this week in a similar vein).
  5. CollegeHoops.net: It’s probably not surprising that three ACC teams are in the Top 25 this week. What may be surprising is which three teams made the cut. Instead of Florida State, Virginia‘s hot start earned the Cavaliers the conference’s third spot in the AP and Coaches polls. This raises the question of which team is actually better. Florida State has played a tougher schedule, and definitely has the athletic advantage on defense. But Virginia’s offensive and defensive numbers are a little better at the moment. This debate will definitely be something to keep an eye on moving forward. The second half of today’s links is after the jump.
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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week Six

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 19th, 2011

Here’s a look at the power rankings that Drew and I have compiled after the sixth week of Pac-12 games. Here we go!

1. Stanford, 9-1: Stanford took care of business in their only game of the week, a 20-point drubbing of a mediocre San Diego club. The Cardinal defense has been outstanding in these types of game so far this season, as they have not given up more than 59 points to a non-power conference team. They have two more chances to keep that streak alive before Pac-12 play begins. Up Next: 12.19 vs. Bethune-Cookman

Dwight Powell can smell other player's arms AND average 3.6 RPG. (credit: Richard Drew)

2. California, 9-2: Across the bay we have our number two team, who also went 1-0 this week with a 20-point win over a mediocre team. The Golden Bears defeated Weber State 77-57, making them the first Pac-12 team to reach the nine-win plateau. While the Wildcats as a whole are mediocre, they are home to the nation’s leading scorer, Damian Lillard. The Bears held Lillard to 14 points, 11.4 under his season average. Up Next: 12.19 vs. UC Santa Barbara

3. Oregon State, 9-2: On paper, Oregon State’s 289-193 outscoring of their three low-major opponents this week looked great, but I didn’t like most of what I saw, especially against Portland State on Sunday. On offense, the Beavers looked great. They were shooting the ball with ease, passing with great efficiently, and flying high on dunks. But those plays led to too much celebrating and not enough getting back, making the Beavs look slow against the already-quick Viking guards. If they do this in Pac-12 play, opponents will be scoring in the 7os and 80s instead of the 60s, leading to more losses and making their chances of an NCAA Tournament bid even smaller. Up Next: 12.21 @ Chicago State

4. Arizona, 7-4: The Wildcats hold steady after dropping a 71-60 decision to Gonzaga in Seattle. Most will look at Arizona’s four losses and think they are a middle-of-the-pack team, but considering those four have come against Mississippi State, San Diego State, Florida, and Gonzaga, they don’t seem that bad at all. Group that in with the growing pains coach Sean Miller has had to endure so far, I really like UA at fourth. Up Next: 12.20 vs. Oakland

5. Oregon, 6-3: The Ducks opened up the week with an ugly nine-point win over Portland State, but the real challenge was to come six days later when Virginia came calling. Oregon was able to stay with the Cavaliers for 30 minutes, but Virginia used a stifling defense and hot shooting down the stretch to pull away for a 13-point win. Virginia forward Mike Scott led all scorers with 17 points. Up Next: 12.20 vs. North Carolina Central

6. Washington State, 7-4: The Cougars only game of the week was a less-than-stellar win over DII Western Oregon, but they trade places with rival Washington anyway. The Cougars have now won five in a row going into the Cougar Hardwood Classic. Up Next: 12.22 vs. Pepperdine in Seattle Read the rest of this entry »

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