- Sports Business Daily: It was only a matter of time for this, but word has leaked that the ACC is looking into a conference channel like the Big Ten Network or Pac-12 Networks. Currently, ACC ratings are actually surprisingly strong in football (although without many huge games) considering the conference’s recent play. But a network wouldn’t be easy to pull off. My guess is that any ACC network would get pushed to the back burner until after the SEC’s network gets distributed.
- Raleigh News & Observer: Not enough love for Richard Howell‘s performance was given here in the aftermath of NC State’s win over Duke. In the first half the Blue Devils kept things close (and looked like they might run away with the game for a while) thanks to strong work on the boards, but Howell grabbed almost every available board in the second half. He’s one of the strongest players in the league and he’s finally found a way to use his exceptional motor without also fouling. The Wolfpack need Howell to give them more games like that one if they want to finish on top of the league this season.
- CBSSports.com: Ryan Kelly‘s injury may have opened the ACC race up. The biggest related questions are: (1) Can NC State play with the intensity it played with Saturday on a regular basis; and (2) Can Miami avoid its trademarked losing streaks? Based on the Wolfpack’s first two ACC games, their prognosis is troubling, but the game against Duke was excellent all-around. Miami is a bigger question mark. Its ceiling is decidedly lower than Duke or NC State’s, but it’s also a proven commodity on the road. In the end, look for Duke and one other team to vie for the top spot if Kelly is out of the lineup for more than two weeks.
- Baltimore Sun: Mark Turgeon is starting to see familiar signs plaguing his point guard. The Terrapins are reeling after two straight losses and have gone from popular darkhorse contender to completely overrated in the span of a week. Now Turgeon is looking at a brutal four-game schedule that is like this: against NC State, at North Carolina, against Boston College, and at Duke. Those are three very losable games (I’d be surprised if Maryland was favored in any of them) with a classic trap game stuck in there too. Now’s not the time for dramatic changes, but Turgeon doesn’t have a lot of choice. The results of these four games will likely determine where Maryland’s postseason will be decided.
- Daily Tar Heel: And in the inane Letters to the Editor category (from an alumnus no less), we have a letter calling for the firing of UNC head coach Roy Williams. Now, a pessimistic case could be made for Williams’ talent-driven system being disrupted by one John Calipari’s annual raids on the five-star recruit pantry. A much more reasonable argument would see this year as Williams getting burned by Kendall Marshall departing for the NBA early (something few expected) and the Wear twins transferring back home.
Poll Thoughts: There was a lot of discussion about who the new number one team should be after the last of the unbeatens, Michigan, went down over the weekend. The ACC part of the argument essentially came down to the fact that Duke is a very different team without Ryan Kelly on the floor and should be ranked as such. This (essentially a small sample size eye test), to me, is just as good an argument as basing your rankings entirely on resume. The one caveat to such a standpoint is that once Kelly returns, Duke should — assuming he’s at 100% — jump back to its previous standing. This is where the justification is flawed, as voters rarely jump teams near the top of the rankings without a loss. Luckily polls mean nothing but pride for college basketball.
EXTRA: In case missed the Miami-Maryland brick-laying contest, this GIF sums the game up remarkably well.