ACC Basketball Twitter Must-Follows: Part III

Posted by Chris Kehoe on November 7th, 2013

In the third and final segment of RTC ACC’s Twitter must-follow series, we take a further look at the remaining eight teams in the ACC. This list is not all encompassing but a quick look at some of the more prominent accounts to follow for news and insight on teams around the ACC. This may include coaches, players, writers, and/or bloggers. So without any further delay, Rush the Court brings you the part three finale of our ACC Twitter rundown (click here for Part I and Part II).

Malcolm Delaney of Virginia Tech finds himself in the 'Alumni Spotlight'

Malcolm Delaney of Virginia Tech finds himself in the ‘Alumni Spotlight’

Virginia

 Cavaliers Starting Five

 Other Official Accounts

 Alumni Spotlight

  • @mikescott Mike Scott currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks and with a little over 17,000 tweets, he is certainly active on social media.

Duke

Blue Devils Starting Five

  • @dukeblueplanet The official account for Duke basketball run by their recruiting and communications coordinator.
  • @BlueDevilNation Run by Mark Watson, the publisher of Blue Devil Nation.
  • @BlueDevilLair Adam Rowe (RTC alumnus) runs this account that represents 247sports.com and provides great insight into recruiting and Duke basketball news.
  • @laurakeeley The Duke beat reporter for The Raleigh News & Observer as well as the Charlotte Observer.
  • @dukebasketball Coverage of Duke hoops from The Chronicle, Duke’s independent student newspaper with their own articles.

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It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume VII

Posted by jbaumgartner on January 31st, 2013

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…. Kansas guard Ben McLemore. I’ve been captivated this guy since the first time I turned on a KU game this year – the only comparison for pure smoothness as a freshman might be Melo at ‘Cuse. I can usually judge a guy’s talent by how willing I am to prioritize his Thursday snoozer at 8:30 PM on ESPN2. Do I delay dinner? Do I push work off till tomorrow? Do I accidentally forget about Date Night just to marvel at a net-snapping three when the Jayhawks are already up 20? If the answer to any of those is yes, I’m hooked. And for me, McLemore is that year’s player. Watch out for this KU team – they might just have all the pieces.

Mancrushing on Ben McLemore

I LOVED…. trying to figure out Duke.  27 points. TWENTY-SEVEN POINTS. The Miami Hurricanes looked like a pro team taking on the high school JV squad – running, slamming, jamming… even Barry Larkin was lovin’ it. So is Ryan Kelly that important to the Blue Devils? Is he the difference between cutting down the nets and a Hurricane doormat? Is he worth all 27 of those points? I guess we’ll find out.

I LOVED…. in a way that only a true John Calipari hater could love, the following headline: “Wiltjer, Noel Help Kentucky Upset Mississippi.” How a team full of Top 10 recruits can “upset” anyone is beyond me. They must realllllly be underachievers to pull off that one…..

I LOVED…. how the real point of this season seems to be how many teams can claim and then quickly relinquish the coveted (or maybe at this point, despised) Number One ranking. Indiana, Duke, Louisville, Duke, and now Michigan. It’s a tribute both to the difficulty of winning on the road with today’s insane fans, but also to the parity of this year’s college crop. I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting money (sorry NCAA, I mean “friendly non-financially based wager”) behind any of these teams. But it should all add up to one crazy March.

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Who’s Got Next? Williams-Goss Goes With Washington, Pollard Poised To Pick

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 31st, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Top-100 Nigel Williams-Goss Commits To Washington

Class of 2013 Point Guard Williams-Goss Is A Great Pick-up for Washington.

Huskies Off To A Good Start In Junior Class. Class of 2013 point guard Nigel Williams-Goss announced his commitment to Washington yesterday via Twitter and a player blog on National Recruiting Spotlight, giving the Huskies their first verbal in the junior class. Williams-Goss chose the Huskies over Harvard, Oklahoma, UNLV, and UCLA and held offers from a plethora of other schools including Missouri, Arizona and his hometown Oregon Ducks. The Findlay Prep point guard is a standout on the defensive end and has good stop-and-go quickness. He also has terrific range on his three-point shot and is a good passer with matching court vision. Williams-Goss already has plans to hit the recruiting trail for Washington and has named Class of 2013 standouts such as shooting guard Isaac Hamilton and power forwards Aaron Gordon and Marcus Lee as his targets. Head coach Lorenzo Romar is also chasing after shooting guard Jabari Bird and power forward Jordan Bell, among others. Gordon is a Washington lean and Bird is interested in the Huskies so if Romar can close out on those two, Washington looks to have a very good recruiting class in 2013 in the making. Washington fans will have plenty of opportunities to see Williams-Goss next year as his Findlay Prep team will likely play in multiple televised games on the ESPN family of networks.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.20.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 20th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

South Region

Midwest Region

  • Fans and media aren’t the only ones caught up in great performances by major talent among the mid-major ranks. It was recently revealed that in 2010, Baylor coach Scott Drew and then-Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl allegedly contacted Ohio‘s D.J. Cooper about transferring, which would constitute NCAA violations if the allegations are true. It will be interesting to see whether the subject is raised during Baylor’s media session this week.
  • Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde opines that even if North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall returns to the fold for a potential regional final, the odds are stacked heavily against the Heels.
  • The Tar Heels’ aren’t the only team from the state recovering from some health concerns. N.C. State will face Kansas Friday, and C.J. Williams and C.J. Leslie are recovering from fatigue. The severity isn’t even comparable to North Carolina’s situation, but a few days of rest will be especially helpful to the Wolfpack.
  • Basketball Prospectus’ C.J. Moore breaks down how Kansas topped Purdue on Sunday, from Elijah Johnson‘s fortitude to Bill Self‘s halftime adjustments.
  • There are already two coaching vacancies in the Big Ten, and Ohio coach John Groce could fit the bill at either Nebraska or Illinois after the season. Groce’s Big Ten connections, when combined with his team’s head-turning performance this postseason, make him appealing to the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is a tough job, but with a heavy commitment to hoops, Athletic Director Tom Osborne could find a catch.
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NCAA Tournament Tidbits 03.18.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 18th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

West Region

South Region

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NCAA Tournament Game Analysis: Third Round – Sunday

Posted by EJacoby on March 18th, 2012

RTC Region correspondents Brian Otskey (East), Kevin Doyle (South), Evan Jacoby (Midwest) and Andrew Murawa (West) contributed to this preview.

#3 Georgetown vs. #11 N.C. State – Midwest Region Third Round (at Columbus, OH) – 12:15 PM ET on CBS

Thompson's Team is a Real Wildcard in this Region

We originally picked Georgetown to get upset in the round of 64 by Belmont, but that was with knowledge that the Hoyas could be the biggest threat to stopping Kansas from reaching the Elite Eight if they were able to escape that opening game. Not only did Georgetown escape, but it was one of the most impressive showings of any team in the tournament thus far. The Hoyas used their length and athleticism to deny the efficient Belmont offense from ever getting started, and they were unreal at their own end offensively with a 61.2% field goal percentage for the game. This matchup will be more difficult, however, against an North Carolina State team that’s getting better every game and playing spectacular offensively. The Wolfpack have great size inside to match Georgetown, with C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell as long and athletic as any Hoya. Howell had his best game of the season with 22 points on 10-12 shooting last game, but that will also change as he goes up against much stronger post defenders. Georgetown primarily plays zone defense but will also switch things up and defend man-to-man when needed. It will be a battle inside all night as the Hoyas surely won’t let Scott Wood get open looks from three. This game, though, will be decided on the other end of the floor. NC State was not particularly strong defensively throughout the year, but they completely shut down San Diego State on Friday by allowing just 37.7% field goal shooting. The Aztecs played a lot of one-on-one ball, the exact opposite of what the Hoyas will show. It’ll be up to Henry Sims to make smart decisions in the high post, something he’s done all year. Jason Clark was great last game and is a reliable playmaker in this game, while Otto Porter remains rock solid as an X-factor offensively. Both of these teams looked great last round, but Georgetown has the advantage because it should pose a much greater defensive threat to the Wolfpack while also running a motion offense that will be difficult to defend.

The RTC Certified Pick: Georgetown

#1 Michigan State vs. #9 Saint Louis – West Region Third Round (at Columbus, OH) – 2:45 PM ET on CBS

Two top ten teams in defensive efficiency. Two coaches with a well-earned reputation for X-ing and O-ing with the best of them. It isn’t likely to be one of the prettiest displays of basketball you’ll ever see, but if you like fundamentals and you like basketball as chess match, this is a can’t-miss game. The Billikens advanced to this round behind great team defense and great individual offensive performances by Kwamain Mitchell (22 points including four threes) and Brian Conklin (16 points, earned largely from his ten-of-11 performance from the line). But Conklin also turned the ball over eight times, in part due to the active hands of Memphis defenders; he’ll see more of that on Sunday and will need to take better care of the ball. Defensively, the Billikens will need to come up with some sort of answer for Draymond Green, who was brilliant Friday against Long Island, registering a triple-double with 24 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists. But perhaps the biggest battle of the game will be on Michigan State’s offensive glass. The Spartans have historically made a living creating offensive on second-chance opportunities, but the best Rick Majerus-coached teams have been proficient in securing defensive rebounds. If the Billikens can limit the Spartans’ offensive rebounding (a feat easier said than done), Tom Izzo will need to find other ways for his Spartans to score in the halfcourt, and there have been times this year when that MSU offense has bogged down a bit. While sophomore guard Keith Appling is usually excellent getting penetration, SLU is no liable to allow that very often, and there is no one else on the Spartan roster capable of creating his own offense off the dribble on a regular basis. Guys like Green, Brandon Wood and Austin Thornton have been very efficient three-point shooters, but, with the exception perhaps of Green, they need someone to create open looks for them. In short, if SLU can do what no other team has been able to do all year – keep Michigan State in check on their offensive glass – then the Billikens could drag this game down into the mud and pull out a win. But, if the Spartans do what, you know, they always do, I have a hard time seeing Saint Louis pulling this one out.

The RTC Certified Pick: Michigan State

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.17.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 17th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

Midwest Region

West Region

  • It didn’t take long for a darling to emerge in this season’s tournament. It’s been a whirlwind day for Norfolk State forward Kyle O’Quinn since the Spartans knocked off Missouri. In about an hour after Friday’s epic upset went final, O’Quinn’s Twitter account more than doubled in followers.
  • In Florida‘s opening win over Virginia, it wasn’t one of the Gators touted guards who made the biggest impact, nor was it heralded big man Patric Young. Casey Prathercame to play Friday, coming off the bench to score 14 points on a perfect 6-6 day from the field.
  • Marquette will look to take down Murray State with a fast but physical style. The New York TimesRay Glier gives interesting insight into the Golden Eagles’ calling card.
  • Card Chronicle breaks downLouisville‘s game with New Mexico. Rick Pitino‘s team is 4-1 when facing a 5-seed, which appears to bode well for the Cardinals’ chances to crack the Sweet 16 today.
  • The last team standing from Missouri isn’t the Tigers, but the Saint Louis University Billikens. Rick Majerus‘ experience, tough defense and high basketball IQ have been the stand-by’s this season.

South Region

East Region

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ATB: Absolute MADNESS – Chaos Ensues As Round of 64 Concludes…

Posted by EJacoby on March 17th, 2012

Tonight’s Lede – Thursday was a fairly slow first day of NCAA Tournament action, producing just two total upsets and leaving much to be desired in terms of thrilling finishes. Friday was a completely different story – two #15 seeds won on the same day for the first time ever, with the results coming just a couple of hours apart. We also saw a #13, #12, #11, and two #10 seeds come out victorious in one of the craziest days in Big Dance history. Half of the games on the schedule resulted in upsets, including seven of the final nine contests on this freaky Friday night. Without further ado, we provide everything you need to know in this installment of After The Buzzer…

Your Watercooler Moment. #15 Norfolk State Stuns #2 Missouri.

It was supposed to be the late afternoon game to fill the only quiet block of the evening. #15-seed Norfolk State against #2 Missouri, the exciting up-tempo team that produced the most efficient offense in the country this season with its four-guard attack. Mizzou was a very popular Final Four pick, considered the team with the greatest upside in the West Region. But then things got interesting; pesky Norfolk State was hanging around and had the game tied at halftime. Every time you looked up at the scoreboard in the second half, Norfolk was ahead or behind by a couple of points and that’s when it was time to tell all your friends that we might have a serious bracket-buster taking place. Sure enough, it happened. The Spartans of the MEAC conference became the first #15-seed to win an NCAA Tournament game in 11 years since a fellow MEAC school did it in the form of Hampton University over Iowa State in 2001. This year, it was dominant big man Kyle O’Quinn who paced the way with a monster double-double for a team that shot 54.2% from the field and went 10-19 from three. Missouri played fine offensively, shooting 52.7% itself, but the Tigers allowed the tournament’s least-efficient offense to hit shots from everywhere on the floor as well as out-hustle them to loose balls and open rebounds. Little did we know, the madness was only beginning on this night.

Also Worth Chatting About. Hours Later, #15 Lehigh Makes History

Most brackets were busted from Missouri’s loss alone, but those who happened to have the Tigers falling early in their pools surely didn’t survive the rest of the night, either. The 7:00 PM ET block of games blew the roof off of this tournament, beginning with the little guys from the Patriot League. #15 Lehigh had a terrific year led by mid-major star guard C.J. McCollum, but nobody thought this team had a chance against Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils, the most successful NCAA Tournament team of the past 20 years. #2-seed Duke, though, was vulnerable because of an injury to starting forward Ryan Kelly and an overall trend of weak recent play thanks to a porous defense. The Mountain Hawks took advantage early and often, leading this game early in the first half and continuing to put the pressure on Duke’s ‘D’. McCollum was the star of the show, Duke wasn’t hitting from the perimeter, and Lehigh really had a chance to win this game. Late in the second half it was anyone’s game, but McCollum made big play after big play while no Duke guard could counter. Seth Curry, Austin Rivers, and Andre Dawkins combined to shoot 4-19 from three. Gabe Knutson matched Mason Plumlee inside going for 17 points on 5-5 shooting. And when the buzzer sounded, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks were winners in a thorough victory that made history. For the first time ever, two #15 seeds won in the same year of the NCAA Tournament. And it all happened on the same evening, just two-and-a-half hours apart.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits 03.16.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 16th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

Midwest Region

West Region

  • CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander believes Long Beach State‘s early exit at the hands of New Mexico shouldn’t cloud the legacy of the outgoing 49er senior class. Casper Ware, T.J. Robinson, Larry Anderson and Eugene Phelps came to LBSU one season after the 49ers won six games and beat Xavier and Pittsburgh in this season.
  • Also in Portland, behind a strong game from Peyton Siva, Louisville handled Davidson and now must prepare for the Lobos. Any chances of a deep run by Louisville hinge on Siva stringing together strong performances instead of his on-again off-again style that’s drawn criticism this season.
  • A matchup of contrasting styles pits Florida against Virginia this afternoon. Expect the Gators to push the tempo on both ends with run-outs, quick threes and defensive pressure to try to throw the Cavaliers out of sorts.
  • The Missouri Tigers have won over 1,500 games in their history, but none of them have come in the Elite Eight. Mizzou’s quest to end that streak begins today when it takes on Norfolk State.
  • They may be seeded three spots better, but Marquette will be in a de facto road environment for Saturday’s tilt with Murray State, as the KFC Yum! Center hosts the third round game 3.5 hours away from the Racers’ campus.

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Previewing Wednesday Night’s Big 12 Doubleheader

Posted by dnspewak on December 21st, 2011

Although college football bowl season will occupy the Four Letter Network’s main channel for the next several weeks, we have to express our holiday gratitude to ESPN for still managing to show as much college hoops as possible. Tonight, Big 12 hoopheads get a bit of a treat with two league games on ESPN2, including a rematch of a buzzer-beater from December 2010.

  • Texas at North Carolina, 6 PM CT (ESPN2)
Roughly 368 days ago, Texas guard Cory Joseph stunned a partisan UNC crowd with this shot, earning the Longhorns a defining 78-76 victory. After tumbling from number one in the polls to an early exit in the NCAA Tournament the previous season, Joseph’s game-winner marked a turning point in Texas’ year, which eventually resulted in a top-five seed in the NCAAs and a successful second-place finish in the Big 12. After losing all five starters from that team, Rick Barnes now has a team in transition, and this rematch this time at the Dean Dome could once again signify a turning point in the 2011-12 season. So far, Barnes’ new-look team has experienced mixed results with guard J’Covan Brown taking a leadership role. He’s played terrific basketball, but his young teammates are still a little inconsistent. Myck Kabongo will be a star at the point soon, but in UT’s two losses to Oregon State and N.C. State in the Legends Classic in November, he finished with more turnovers (eight) than assists (six). Kabongo gained a little confidence with 18 points in a win over Temple this weekend at home, and maybe that victory will get this team on track. The big key is how Texas’s forwards perform against one of the top frontcourts in the country. On paper, Brown’s matchup with Kendall Marshall looks like must-see TV — and it is — but the Longhorns can’t win unless Clint Chapman, Alexis Wangmene and Jonathan Holmes show up to play. UNC has a significant size advantage with Tyler Zeller and John Henson on the interior, so it’s especially important for Chapman to use his 6’10” frame to try to lock them down. The Tar Heels are the obvious favorite here, but Texas will at least have a shot to pull the upset if Brown outplays Marshall and displays some heroics.

Rick Barnes Knows His Team Has a Golden Opportunity Tonight

  • Oklahoma State at Alabama, 8 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

In the nightcap of this Big 12 doubleheader, a struggling OSU team will look to remake itself in Birmingham against Alabama, which has tumbled a bit itself recently. Most of Oklahoma State’s problems have stemmed from shaky point guard play. To complicate matters, Fred Gulley transferred this week, leaving Cezar Guerrero and Reger Dowell to man the point. The Crimson Tide, which have lost three of four games, are actually having similar offensive problems. Against Kansas State last weekend, Alabama never recovered from an ugly start offensively, turning the ball over 18 times and making just two three-pointers. Anthony Grant’s team isn’t built to shoot threes or light up the scoreboard, though. As one of the better defensive coaches in the SEC, Grant’s guys will smell blood if the Cowboys’ offense isn’t clicking. That’s the problem here for Travis Ford. He needs better play out of Dowell and Guerrero, and they need help from freshman LeBryan Nash, who still looks like he’s acclimating himself to Division I basketball. Keiton Page is OSU’s top offensive option right now, but he’s more of a catch-and-shoot guy that does not carry an offense. So that’s something to keep an eye on: Will Ford’s team execute better offensively, and can it use its athletes to get up and down the floor as Ford would prefer? Also, Alabama brings a ton of size to the table in this matchup, something OSU cannot match. The Cowboys need to use their team speed to overcome that — after all, they’re as fast and athletic as any team in the nation. They’re just not sure how to use it at this point in the season.

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Set Your Tivo: 01.26.10

Posted by THager on January 26th, 2010

SYT Star System

***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

#5 Michigan State @ Michigan – 7 pm on ESPN  (***)

This rivalry game has a different meaning for these two schools, as it could be the difference between a #1 or #2 seed for Michigan State, while Michigan is fighting for its postseason life.  UM coach John Beilein refused to call the game a must-win, but he obviously thinks so as he lifted Manny Harris’ recent suspension in time for the game.  Harris, Michigan’s leading scorer at 19.2 points per contest, will need to have a performance similar to his effort against UConn if Michigan has a shot to win this game.  The Spartans, who have won eight games in a row, are a well-rounded team.  Led by guard Kalin Lucas, they have one of the highest shooting percentages of any team in the country.  They are also exceptional at rebounding and play consistent defense, holding opponents under 65 points in their last three games.  Although most fans will tell you the Spartans are top ten team, Ken Pomeroy has them ranked 16th and the RPI ranks them at #14.  If they blow out the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, they will at least make some progress towards advancing in the computer ratings.

#11 Kansas St. @ #24 Baylor – 8 pm on ESPN360  (****)

Tonight's Game of the Night (AP/Charlie Riedel)

This is tonight’s only matchup between two ranked teams, and it should be a good one.  Not many people saw KSU’s loss to Oklahoma State coming, but now they will try to avoid their first losing streak of the season.  The Wildcats are 16-3 and ranked #11 in the latest poll, but the Bears are 15-3 and are playing at home where they are 10-0 this season.  Baylor features a few impressive players in LaceDarius Dunn, who averages over 19 points per game, and Tweety Carter, who ranks third in the nation at 6.7 assists per game.  Lost in the mix is Quincy Acy, a sophomore who leads the country in field goal percentage at an outstanding 71%.  As a team, Baylor ranks fifth nationally in field goal shooting, while the Wildcats rank 69th.  On Saturday, the Wildcats went over seven minutes without a field goal in the loss to OSU, and they will lose again if Jacob Pullen is held below his season average.  Both teams are struggling right now following their 13-1 starts, as Baylor has gone 2-2, while KSU has gone 3-2 since.  Tournament seeds and conference standings are on the line, and look for Baylor to give the Wildcats a second consecutive loss.  With a game against Kansas on Saturday, are the Wildcats in the midst of a three-game losing streak?

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Checking in on… the ACC

Posted by jstevrtc on December 21st, 2009

Steve Moore is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

ACC teams lost just three times in the last week – and all were interesting/entertaining games in their own right. Two losses were inevitable, thanks to a pair of conference games.  The other was Texas-sized, in more ways than one.

ACC POWER RANKINGS (record as of Sunday, Dec. 20)

1. Duke (9-1, 0-0)

PAST:  Let’s skip right over the gimme win over Gardner-Webb and move on to Saturday’s game with Gonzaga.  The Zags were bad, that much is true.  But some of Gonzaga’s 23.8% shooting percentage needs to be credited to a stifling Duke defense.  Gonzaga came in averaging almost 80 points, and were held to half that.  The win was enough to put Duke atop our rankings, but the Devils still need to show a little more – because Gonzaga was just that bad.

FUTURE: No games this week.

2. North Carolina (8-3, 0-0)

PAST:  The Tar Heels have been getting plenty of credit here for playing some real pre-conference foes, and that didn’t change on Saturday, when UNC faced No. 2 Texas in the monstrosity that is Cowboys Stadium.  There was also more than enough up-and-down, fast-paced hoops to keep any hoops fan happy, just not the “W” to keep Heels fans happy. More on this game later.

FUTURE:  UNC hosts Marshall on Tuesday.

3. Wake Forest (8-2, 1-0)

PAST:  The Deacons survived a classic trap trip to UNC Wilmington, then took care of North Carolina State at home on Sunday.  Wake freshman C.J. Harris continues to chip in for the Deacons, earning his third ACC Rookie of the Week honors with 10 points and four boards against N.C. State, and 11 points against UNC Wilmington.

FUTURE:  The Deacons complete their “N.C.” trifecta this week when they travel to Greensboro to face UNC-Greensboro.

4. Georgia Tech (8-2, 0-1)

PAST:  Tech dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Florida State, 66-59, that could come back to bite them come seeding time. Sure, the Seminoles are a solid team, but you can’t lose home conference games like that. Especially in your ACC opener.

FUTURE:  Tech hosts always-tough Kennesaw State on Tuesday.

5. Florida State (10-2, 1-0)

PAST:  The Seminoles jump up two spots this week after going 3-0 with wins over Georgia State, Auburn, and the most impressive of all:  AT Georgia Tech.  No, FSU doesn’t leap past the Yellow Jackets just yet (I still think Tech is the better overall team), but the Seminoles sure improved their tourney resume in a week that saw most everyone else take a cupcake break.

FUTURE:  The Cupcakes come now, however, for FSU, which faces Tennessee-Martin, Alabama A&M and Texas A&M-Corpus Christie in its next three games.

6. Clemson (10-2, 0-0)

PAST:  The Tigers slip a spot, despite two wins this week over East Carolina and the College of Charleston.  But they will have plenty of time to rise, especially if their defense continues to force an absurd 11.7 steals per game.

FUTURE:  Clemson has two more cupcakes before a Jan. 3 date at Duke.  The Tigers host Western Carolina on Tuesday.

7. Miami (12-1, 0-1)

PAST:  Four cupcake wins, including a 20-point road romp at Stetson, likely didn’t reduce the sting of that one-point loss to Boston College earlier this month.

FUTURE:  No games this week after Monday’s date with North Carolina A&T.

8. Virginia Tech (9-1)

PAST:  Easy win over Charleston Southern doesn’t really help or hurt the Hokies this week.  But junior Malcolm Delaney certainly is.  He continues to dominate the league scoring stats, averaging 22 PPG, which ranks just outside the top 10 in the nation.

FUTURE:  The golden Retrievers of UMBC come calling Tuesday night.

9. Maryland (6-3, 0-0)

PAST:  All that Hawaiian sun must have worn the Terrapins out after the Maui Invitational, because Maryland has played just three games in all of December and hasn’t played since a win on Dec. 12.

FUTURE:  Maryland hosts two gimmes this week in Winston-Salem State and Florida Atlantic.

10. N.C. State (8-2, 0-1)

PAST:  The home loss to Wake Forest was no real crime, especially since the Wolfpack hung around most of the night. But if they want to move up in the rankings, the Pack will have to score a little more.  They are averaging a league-worst 67.3 points – and that’s against the pre-conference cupcakes.

FUTURE:  N.C. State does play the only real interesting game of the week in the ACC, as it heads to Arizona on Wednesday.

11. Virginia (5-4, 0-0)

PAST:  After a game against UNC-Wilmington was snowed out, the Cavaliers had two full weeks between games going into Monday’s date with NJIT.

FUTURE:  Wednesday against Hampton (corrected).

12. Boston College (7-3, 1-0)

PAST:  The cruising win over Bryant wasn’t enough to get the Eagles out of the cellar.  Not with home losses to Harvard and Rhode Island on the resume.  Say it again:  Harvard and Rhode Island.

FUTURE:  BC hosts UMass Wednesday night, with the Minutemen coming off a solid win over Memphis on Saturday. Watch out for another in-state defeat.

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WEEK THAT WAS…

  • UNDER THE BIG TOP:  Much has already been written about the UNC-Texas shootout/circus at The-House-That-Jerry-Built.  The 103-90 Texas win proved that Roy Williams’ Tar Heels still have plenty to do on the defensive end, as UNC gave up 100 points in regulation for the first time in Williams’ tenure there.  Does this mean that UNC is not good enough to reach the Final Four?  Absolutely not.  If there’s any team that needs time to find its identity, it’s this one, considering all the new faces.  I may have bumped UNC out of the top spot this week (and I may think Roy Williams is a crybaby), but I still expect the Heels to rise back to the top of the ACC (notice how I’m already backing off my crazy Maryland prediction from earlier in the year).
  • ACC-TUAL LEAGUE GAMES!  Florida State’s dramatic overtime win over Georgia Tech was the first real key ACC game of the year, and the first real upset, as well (except for maybe BC over Miami).  Is it January yet?  I’m tired of seeing everyone beat up on UNC-Greensboro and Stetson.
  • RAMBLING RANT OF THE WEEK:  If I was a Duke fan who, you know, actually lived anywhere near Tobacco Road, I’d be growing real tired of what seems like 55 “home” games each year at Madison Square Garden.  I know what it does for exposure, and mostly I know what it does for the wallet, but this is a team with one of the best – if not the best – homecourt advantage in the nation.  Why the heck do they need to play in New York so much?
  • BONUS RAMBLING RANT OF THE WEEK (Jerry Jones Edition):  Like many college hoops fans, I am attracted to the game due to the atmosphere of a great college building. I haven’t attended a ton of raucous games, but I can tell you that the 2002 America East finaland games at the Palestra are among the top sporting events I’ve attended.  So it kills me to see so many key games in March played in sterile football stadiums with half a million seats.  I understand the money, and I know the Final Four has been in those buildings for years, but now we’re starting to see regional games, sub-regionals, and even regular season games played in huge buildings.  I’ll take a bandbox gym any day.

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WAITING IN THE TUNNEL…

GET YOUR SHOPPING DONE:  There really isn’t any must-see TV this week in the ACC.  Outside of N.C. State’s trip to Arizona on Wednesday night, you should have plenty of time to bake that doorstop of a fruitcake.  And just think, waiting for you just after New Year’s?  Another great season of ACC hoops. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

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