Posted by EMann on October 26th, 2012
- Atlantic Coast Conference: During the most recent wave of conference realignment, the academic caliber of the ACC has been stressed as a reason for why (or why not) certain schools were given invitations. Now, the ACC is not just known for its academics, but also the impressive performance of its student-athletes. Overall, the ACC had a graduation rate for its athletes in all sports of over 87%, whereas the NCAA-wide average is 80%. More specifically, in men’s basketball, the ACC was the only power conference with four schools topping the APR mark of 90, those being Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. This is a great bargaining chip for the conference and definitely bodes well for the future. A more detailed summary for all sports can be found here.
- Washington Post: After losing first-team all-ACC forward Mike Scott, Virginia is searching for answers in its quest to make consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time since 1995 (and their fourth of the new millenium). Tony Bennett expects junior Joe Harris, the team’s second leading scorer, to shoulder more of the offense. However, the team is not worried about replacing Scott, as forward Akil Mitchell said: “We don’t go into a season thinking, ‘Oh man, we gotta replace Mike.’ We go into a season looking at who we have and what we can do.” Bennett expects to have several players averaging between 8-12 points per game, which would definitely be a stark change from last season, where Scott took over 31% of the team’s shots while he was on the court.
- CBS Sports: When thinking of elite point guards in the country this year, Jeff Goodman does not want you to forget about NC State’s Lorenzo Brown. Goodman believes that Brown is in a class with and even possibly above Missouri’s Phil Pressey, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, and Michigan’s Trey Burke. Like a lot of the love for NC State as a team, it is largely based on his Sweet Sixteen run last season where Brown really excelled. If Brown is as good as Goodman thinks, then NC State should have a great chance to win its first ACC Championship since 1987 and possibly its first national title since the miracle win over Houston in 1983.
- CBS Sports: Going along with the M5 entry from yesterday, highly touted forward Andrew Wiggins has officially reclassified back into the class of 2013. His father, Mitchell, a former Florida State player, confirmed the news. Wiggins, who will likely be the top-rated recruit even despite his reclassification, is strongly linked to either Kentucky or Florida State. While it would be difficult to bet against John Calipari at this point, Florida State is definitely still a strong contender for Wiggins’ services. If the precocious player wants to be the undisputed star on his team (which he might not, owing to his humble nature), Florida State would provide him that chance. Of course, Kentucky would provide the brightest lights in college basketball, and he would join at least three of the top 10 recruits in the class of 2013 if he commits there.
- Keeping it Heel: North Carolina’s starting lineup appears to have three certainties going into its first exhibition game against Shaw this weekend: freshman point guard Marcus Paige, sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo, and junior guard Reggie Bullock. The rest of the lineup and rotation are definitely question marks at this point, a large change from last year’s team when the starting five was extremely constant (notwithstanding injuries). It is likely (at least according to Matt Hamm), that Roy Williams will tinker with his roster a lot this season, which means that there should be considerably more different lineup combinations that we are used to seeing from the Tar Heels.
Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2011
- As we’re now officially only one week from the first real games on November 7, practices have moved from the getting-to-know-you phase to setting of pecking orders and definition of roles. Unfortunately, one of the side products of two weeks of full-on practice is injuries, and a few notable names have already gotten banged up in the last few days. Louisville freshman Wayne Blackshear will miss the entire season after tearing the labrum in his right shoulder; he had already missed most of the summer with an unrelated left shoulder injury and had only been cleared to return to practice just last week. The McDonald’s All-American was expected to help the Cards supplant the loss of Preston Knowles’ scoring abilities, as Blackshear is an impact scorer from the wing. With all of the walking wounded on Rick Pitino’s team these days — Rakeem Buckles, Stephan Van Treese, and Jared Swopshire have all had injury issues — you have to wonder if the Cardinals will be able to field a complete team this year.
- In other injury news, Vanderbilt All-American candidate Festus Ezeli gave Commodore fans a fright last week when it was reported that the center sprained the MCL and PCL ligaments in his right knee and will require six to eight weeks for its rehabilitation. As we noted on the SEC microsite Friday, Ezeli’s absence from the Vandy lineup will force head coach Kevin Stallings to trust in his backups, senior Steve Tchiengang or redshirt freshman Josh Henderson, neither of whom have the athletic ability nor experience that the all-SEC player brings to the post. In news considerably less consequential, Connecticut superstar freshman Andre Drummond received a concussion and a broken nose in practice on Friday that will likely keep him out of this week’s exhibition game against American International College. Drummond isn’t expected to miss more time than that, but he will have to wear one of those protective plastic face masks for the next six to eight weeks as his nose heals. It’s already difficult enough for a freshman to become accustomed to the speed and athleticism of college basketball; it’ll be interesting to see how wearing that annoying mask might impact Drummond’s play in the early going this season.
- While on the topic of UConn, the NCAA officially announced late last week that schools wishing to play in the 2013 NCAA Tournament will need to meet a two-year APR threshold of 900, or a four-year APR threshold of 930, in order to qualify. A university source told CBSSports.com that the school’s men’s basketball APR score for 2010-11 is expected to be approximately 975, which when averaged with 2009-10’s 826, will not be good enough (900.5). The four-year rolling average (888.5) would also come up short, which begs the question as to whether the NCAA will stick to its guns by keeping one of the sports’ marquee programs out of the Dance in 2013, or whether it will allow the Huskies a waiver opportunity by virtue of it showing ‘improvement’ or some other remedial measure.
- Late last week California head coach Mike Montgomery revealed that the surgical procedure he underwent recently was because of ‘high-grade bladder cancer’ and that he’s now 100% free of the disease. The 64-year old coach told assembled media in Los Angeles on Friday at the Pac-12’s Media Days that his doctors found the disease at the perfect moment to ascertain its danger and treat it before it got out of control. With Montgomery bringing back perhaps his best team to Berkeley this season, we certainly hope that the irascible coach continues on a path of sustained wellness and remission from cancer so that he can concentrate on hardwood and basketballs rather than hospitals and bedpans.
- We plan on having more on this later today on the Big 12 microsite, but if you stumbled across ESPNU yesterday during your NFL Sunday, you may have been surprised to find Missouri playing something called Missouri Southern on that channel. The One State, One Spirit Classic took place yesterday evening in Joplin, Missouri, site of Missouri Southern State University and ground zero of a deadly F5 tornado that rocked the town on the late afternoon of May 22 earlier this year. Over 150 people were killed and hundreds of Joplin homes and businesses were decimated that day, so Sunday’s exhibition game between the state’s flagship program and the local D-II school embodied the spirit of Show-Me Staters in an outpouring of support that will never be forgotten. ESPN’s Dana O’Neil interviewed MSSU player Jordan Talbert about his reflections on that horrifying day (linked here because ESPN thought that the giant logo on the microphone didn’t identify who made the video clip clearly enough).