ACC Basketball is upon us! The conference kicks off basketball with a bang tonight. Only two of the games are televised; luckily, they’re two excellent games. North Carolina is taking to the high seas to play Michigan State in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN. Meanwhile on ESPNU, Duke welcomes the talented Belmont Bruins to the unfriendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium in what many are (and should) be predicting as a potential upset at 9:00 PM EST. But on to the links!
- Columbia Daily Tribune: Former Miami coach Frank Haith‘s new job didn’t get started off as planned. In addition to cries of dismay from fans at the hire (and apparently the Columbia Daily Tribune, which offers this description of Haith’s departure from Miami: “A guy facing an NCAA Tournament-or-unemployment season at the basketball backwater of Miami was suddenly in charge of a senior-laden team built to contend for a Big 12 title”, Haith brought baggage after the Miami scandal hit like a ton of bricks over the summer. However, his luck since coming to Missouri hasn’t been the best either: Mike Anderson left him no recruits for this season; he lost an incoming transfer and had another player leave; and he lost one of the team’s most pivotal players in Laurence Bowers to injury. Ouch.
- Boston Herald: Steve Donahue is very, very patient. It’s hard to tell from reading this article whether Donahue is patient or just resigned. While it’s true you want to ground yourself in reality, it won’t help you recruit: “He’s conceded that he won’t win recruiting wars with ACC powers Duke and North Carolina for blue chip prospects.” The fact is, a good recruiter absolutely can win those battles (see: Sean Miller at Arizona or even Mark Gottfried at NC State in recent weeks). Boston College has something to offer high-level recruits that Duke and North Carolina do not always have available, though: playing time. The article also makes a great point that Donahue has a history of starting slow, as his teams faced losing seasons in his first six years at Cornell.
- Burlington Times-News: With the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the ACC won’t just see its overall basketball talent increase, but it will also have to change scheduling dramatically. Currently teams play 16 games, four of which include home-and-homes against rivals (i.e., Duke plays North Carolina and Maryland twice every year) and three other rotating home-and-home series. But the addition of two more teams will mandate the conference move to at least an 18-game conference season (basically, the same parameters would exist with two more one-time opponents factored in). Nothing is as satisfactory as a round-robin schedule where everyone gets two shots against everyone else, but conference expansion has made that impossible.
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: The writers over at the Richmond Times-Dispatch put together five trivia questions about the ACC. One very interesting fact I found was that Florida State has never won an ACC title (with the Seminoles’ last basketball title of any kind coming in 1978 in the Metro Conference). Although I’m going to disagree with number four: James McAdoo is not this year’s Harrison Barnes. Partially because Barnes came into last season so hyped (but mostly because guys like Barnes and Jared Sullinger returned for another year of college), the media hasn’t crowned any freshmen as the next big thing this year. If there’s an apt comparison for McAdoo, it’s Marvin Williams (the most gifted member of the Tar Heels’ 2005 National Championship team, who also came off the bench).
- Asheville Citizen Times: Looking for a pie-in-the-sky local preview of the UNC-Asheville vs. North Carolina game coming up this Sunday? Then the Asheville Citizen Times is your paper! The piece actually points out a couple of interesting tidbits: (1) the last time Roy Williams generously christened a non-BCS arena, the Tar Heels lost to College of Charleston in 2009 (the year after the National Championship); and (2) the Tar Heels won’t arrive in Asheville until 5:00AM Saturday morning before the Sunday game because of a cross-country flight back from tonight’s Carrier Classic. UNC Asheville is the favorite to repeat in the Big South and to receive a 16-seed for the Big Dance.
EXTRA: Former Duke basketball player Reggie Love will leave the White House by the end of the year. Love is currently working on an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of Business at Penn and cited focusing on education as the reason for his departure. In addition to missing a very valuable teammate for pick-up hoops games, President Obama will also miss Love for his cultural influence: “The president also credited Love for expanding his musical repertoire, introducing him to artists like Nas and Lil Wayne.”
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