ACC M5: 03.24.14 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on March 24th, 2014

morning5_ACC

  1. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Where to begin? Since the last morning five, Buzz Williams (and Yahoo! Sports) shocked the world by taking the Virginia Tech job. And while it was clear he was unhappy at Marquette, most people expected him to hold out for a better opportunity. Even more shocking is that the Hokies will pay him less than Marquette when all is said and done. Some more details in this David Teel piece, but if nothing else the hire shows an unprecedented investment in basketball at Virginia Tech. This is a game-changer in the conference going forward.
  2. ESPN: Speaking of the coaching carousel, hall of famer Jim Calhoun (!) is reportedly interested in the Boston College (!!!) job. Now, I’d be shocked if this actually happened. For one, Calhoun will be 72 this summer and has a history of health problems; two, his public relationship with Boston College hasn’t exactly been rosy of late; and three, he had serious APR issues at Connecticut. But I’m on board with Kyle Egan that Gene Difilippo shouldn’t overlook Calhoun’s interest. At a minimum Calhoun would generate both media and fan buzz. Assuming he stayed two or three years (which seems like the maximum), he’d also probably bring a serious upgrade in talent to Chestnut Hill. Boston College needs both of those things and as quickly as possible.
  3. Winston Salem Journal: Dan Collins nails his coverage of the end of the Jeff Bzdelik tenure here (and has a great intro here). But now it’s time to look forward. And Virginia Tech juist raised the bar significantly both in terms of hype and money, which often go hand in hand. Ron Wellman needs to “win the press conference,” so to speak. A candidate who’s gaining (entirely rumored) steam–at least from my perspective — is North Carolina Central’s Levelle Moton. Moton is high energy, young and has success in the area. At a minimum you’re taking a shot on a guy who’s incredibly likable and should be able to recruit well (and might stay for a very long time). I think Wake Forest looks for a safer (more experienced) hire, but with the stakes high Wellman may need to take a risk.
  4. Backing the PackTar Heel Blog, and Duke Basketball Report: Whew boy it was the basketball apocalypse this week in the Triangle. First NC State blows a 99% lead (according to KenPom.com) to Saint Louis because it can’t buy a free throw. Then Duke‘s stars have poor games and Mercer upsets the Blue Devils in Raleigh. Then North Carolina coughs up an eight-point lead in the final four minutes to Iowa State. I’ll take these one at a time in another post, but suffice to say, it was brutal. To rub salt in the wound, North Carolina Central the best team out of the MEAC in years got demolished in the round of 64.
  5. Charlottesville Daily Progress: As expected, Virginia is the last ACC team standing (in the NCAA Tournament, at least). Tony Bennett’s team kept the ACC from missing its first second weekend since the NCAA Tournament expanded. The Cavaliers poleaxed a good Memphis team Sunday night to carry the ACC’s torch to the Sweet Sixteen in what looks to be a fascinating matchup with a very trendy Michigan State team. Truthfully, when Virginia is shooting like they were Sunday, they won’t lose. I like Virginia to go to the Final Four out of the East, but facing Izzo in March (for anyone not named Roy Williams) is nothing to sneeze at.
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ACC Team Preview: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Posted by Matt Patton on October 31st, 2013

Some members of the Wake Forest faithful put together money to fly a banner proclaiming “Fire Ron Wellman around BB&T Field at the beginning of October. Alas, at the last minute the air-advertisement company backed out, leaving the disgruntled fan sentiment grounded in a metaphor that seems perfect to describe Demon Deacon athletics as a whole. The hunt for Wellman’s job originally started because of his vocal support for head basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik. Bzdelik’s tenure in Winston-Salem has been abysmal (like, 1-24 on the road in conference play abysmal), but Wellman still supports him.

Wake Forest Preview 2013

Luckily, Bzdelik oozes charisma and makes great PR moves. Well maybe not. He did announce that Wake Forest won’t have a team captain this year despite having a four-year senior who has been one of the best players on the team since his freshman year. More than most jobs in the ACC, Wake Forest requires a coach that’s either willing to take a lot of risks or has that one in a million charm (put the two together, and you get the late Skip Prosser). Otherwise it’s too easy to get overshadowed by North Carolina, Duke and NC State just down the road. Bzdelik possesses none of these traits. Now it should be clear why a large portion of the fan base wants Bzdelik and Wellman gone.

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Morning Five: 10.02.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2013

morning5

  1. The drumbeat of pay-for-play continues echoing through the chambers of college athletics. The latest and greatest: Jay Bilas tweeted out an article last night called “Money Madness: Why and How NCAA Athletes Should Be Paid” from Duke Political Review, a piece that probably wouldn’t have otherwise been seen by anyone beyond a small group of policy wonks. Zach Gorwitz argues that the free market should allow for college football and basketball programs to pay its players a reasonable salary beyond the cost of a full scholarship — he suggests $10,000 to $60,000 for football players, as an example — limited by an NCAA-wide salary cap and organized through negotiations with a players’ union. It’s an interesting idea, for sure, if for no other reason than it provides specific ideas beyond the “they should be paid without consideration of cost” crowd. Expect more. This is only just beginning. Meet Jeff Kessler.
  2. Wake Forest is one of the forgotten schools in the new-look ACC. Aside from a single Orange Bowl trip in 2008, the Deacs are not a regular football power like Clemson or Florida State; nor are they a basketball power like Duke or North Carolina (or Syracuse; or Pittsburgh; etc.). Since a brief but halcyon stretch in early 2009 when Wake hit #1 in both major basketball polls, it’s been mostly downhill on both the hardwood and gridiron ever since. The football team hasn’t had a winning season in five years and the hoops program has reached a level of moribundity under fourth-year head coach Jeff Bzdelik that it hasn’t seen in nearly three decades. As such, Wake alumni and fans are none too happy with their athletic director, Ron Wellman. After sowing their oats with an anti-Bzdelik billboard/publicity stunt at last year’s ACC Tournament, they are now planning to attack this coming weekend with a an aerial banner assault circling over the school’s football stadium during a game with NC State. The details, should you choose to consider them, are posted on a public Google Doc that was sent to us by a concerned Twitter follower. Best of luck with your endeavor, Wake fans. You are a forlorn lot.
  3. As we mentioned on the national site, Oregon State’s Craig Robinson announced suspensions on Tuesday for two of his most prominent returnees, Eric Moreland and Devon Collier. For unspecified internal reasons, Moreland will sit out half of the team’s regular season games (14), while Collier will only miss one. The two forwards represent the bulk of the Beavers’ returning frontcourt this season (with both players averaging more than 25.0 MPG), and thus their benchings is quite the gamble for a head coach who might be on the hottest seat in all of major D-I college basketball. Moreland in particular is an elite rebounding presence, ranking fifth in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage last season (27.5%) and more than holding his own on the offensive window (10.5%). Luckily for Robinson, he expects to have both back at full strength in time for the bulk of the Pac-12 season in early January, and the non-conference schedule other than a trip to Maryland and a mediocre field at the Diamond Head Classic does not appear terribly daunting.
  4. One of the players that Robinson had hoped to have returning this season was former guard Ahmad Starks, a 5’9″ whirlwind of a player who took care of the ball, made free throws, and knocked down long-range shots for the Beavers. The Chicago native headed back east in May to play at a school closer to his ailing grandmother, hoping that the NCAA’s transfer exception would allow him to play immediately at his new, closer destination. He ultimately decided to play for John Groce at Illinois but, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz, the NCAA on Tuesday denied his waiver, citing the distance in mileage from Champaign to Chicago (roughly 135 miles) as too far to justify the exemption. It’s been somewhat rare for the NCAA to deny these waiver requests, so this is a peculiar turn of events given that Starks is realistically only a couple-hour drive away from his grandmother. Katz cited a “100-mile” standard that perhaps signals that the NCAA is going to use for future adjudications of these decisions, which although an arbitrary distance, would still create some much-needed clarity to the rule. Let’s see if they stick to it in future iterations of this decision. Tough break for Illinois too, seeking to replace much of its backcourt this season after the losses of Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson.
  5. Although we still find preseason material to be a bit too early for prime time on this early October date, that hasn’t stopped the college hoops writing cabal from putting in some work. We’ll mention some of the more interesting items as we get closer to the traditional time for Midnight Madness in a couple of weeks, but here are a couple of things you should see now. First, The Dagger‘s Jeff Eisenberg released his preseason Top 25 yesterday, with his top five,  in order: Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Michigan State, and Kansas. For each team he lists both their best-case and worst-case scenarios, and by our count, he lists those five teams as the group with enough upside to win the national title. Over at Sporting News, Mike DeCourcy lists seven key players who have something to prove this season. As always, the dreaded slideshow format is mitigated by strong writing and analysis by the longtime hoops scribe. Give both a look.
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New Initiative For Seeding Should Create More Stability Within The Madness

Posted by BHayes on August 2nd, 2013

The college basketball news of the day on Thursday came from Ron Wellman, Wake Forest AD and current chair of the Division I men’s basketball championship committee, when he outlined significant criteria changes for how the NCAA Tournament will be seeded in the future. The new method will be put in place immediately for the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and while the change may not be as drastic as say, a 96-team field, it should have a meaningful and productive impact on the dear old event we know and love.

Brandon Davies And BYU Rejoiced After Their Comeback Victory Over Iona In 2012's First Four, But They Were The Only Team Since 2007 To Slip Two Seed Lines As A Result Of Bracketing Issues Elsewhere

Brandon Davies And BYU Rejoiced After Their Comeback Victory Over Iona In 2012′s First Four, But They Are The Only Team Since 2007 To Slip Two Seed Lines (To A #14) As A Result Of Bracketing Issues Elsewhere

Quickly, here’s the nitty-gritty: Conference foes who have only met one time during the season (conference tournaments included) can now play each other in the round of 32; if conference-mates have already played twice, their earliest possible NCAA match-up will come in the Sweet Sixteen. Finally, if teams have played three times throughout the course of the year, it won’t be until the regional finals that they are allowed to rendez-vous for a fourth time. Additionally, the top four teams from a conference must now only be separated by region if they are among the top 16 overall seeds; in the past, only the top three teams from each league were separated, period. If you want the full breakdown from the committee, you can read its press release here.

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ACC M5: 03.27.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 27th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Sports Illustrated: The absolute must-read of the day comes courtesy of Luke Winn, who got pretty awesome access to follow Miami around before its games against Pacific and Illinois. My personal takeaways were that Jim Larranaga seems like a really fun guy to play for and that this team fits his coaching personality very well. It’s also not surprising at all that Julian Gamble led the team’s postgame celebratory freestyle.
  2. CBSSports.com: Gary Parrish absolutely kills it in this response to Ron Wellman‘s backing of Jeff Bzdelik yesterday. Kills it. Bzdelik is losing the Wake Forest fan base at an accelerating rate. Wellman is out pretty far out on this limb and while I understand not wanting to go back on his word (even if he won’t tell anyone exactly what that was), he has to balance that pride with Wake Forest’s present situation. I think Bzdelik is better than his record, maybe even a lot better. He’s also got a great group of players on his team. But that can’t excuse his sorry performances — both in the loss column or the public relations department. And his lack of (tangible) success at Colorado doesn’t help calm the critics. Unfortunately, Bzdelik is a coach who leaves a program better than he found it and is trending upwards but hasn’t shown the ability to achieve at the highest level. It’s a tough place to be.
  3. CBSSports.com: According to most of the national media, Chris Collins is the “heavy favorite” to land the Northwestern job after interviewing with the school on Monday. The announcement may come before or around the time this article gets posted. Duke alumni are doing well in the job market right now, as Bobby Hurley was just hired to coach Buffalo and Jeff Capel reportedly has received interest from at least two schools. Assuming at least one leaves, expect Nate James to resume his old position as a Duke assistant coach.
  4. Miami Herald: Unfortunately not all of today’s Miami news could be freestyles and celebratory dances. Reggie Johnson – apparently requiring knee surgery — won’t make the trip with the team to the Sweet Sixteen. While Johnson has played a much smaller role this year, the Hurricanes have struggled with foul trouble at times throughout the season. He was an extra body, good for a ton of rebounds and a couple of points every game. Now Julian Gamble, Kenny Kadji and Tonye Jekiri will have to find a way to replace Johnson’s productivity. Gamble sounded hopeful to get Johnson back in time for the Final Four.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: While neither have officially announced, reports came out yesterday that CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown are planning to head for the NBA (though Brown’s mother denied the rumors and Leslie vaguely denied them on his Twitter account). Their departures wouldn’t be surprising, but another name is starting to show up on numerous draft radars: TJ Warren. Warren’s loss would be a huge blow to NC State next season, but his great freshman campaign makes him a likely first round pick. IF this report is true, I’d expect all three to turn pro in a heartbeat.
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ACC M5: 03.22.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 22nd, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. ACC Sports JournalACC Sports Journal‘s Wake Forest Insider wrote the most comprehensive article on Ron Wellman and Jeff Bzdelik‘s tenure at Wake Forest that I’ve ever read. It also might be the best article I’ve read all year. The depth and knowledge the author shows is remarkable. It’s the remarkable long read where the structure of the article furthers the reader’s understanding. Before reading the article I had a totally different (and ignorant) perspective on Bzdelik’s future. There couldn’t be a better advertisement for ACC Sports Journal‘s  premium coverage. Bravo.
  2. Miami Herald: Ignoring every instinct to post the above article four more times, this article from Michelle Kaufman adds some depth to Miami‘s most surprising contributor this year–Julian Gamble. After Miami’s victory over North Carolina, Gamble charged for the stands to meet his mother and nephew. Gamble’s story is a unique one: his mother quit her job when to take care of her college-aged daughter’s newborn child (who had not one but two devastating conditions), pride be damned. Gamble grew up the father figure for his sick nephew, who helps drive him to succeed.
  3. Wilmington Star News: Marcus Paige‘s recent development is a big part of why North Carolina is a hot upset pick in its potential Round of 32 game against Kansas. Paige, one of the best interviews in the ACC, told Brett Friedlander that he expected the comparisons to Kendall Marshall to come because he and Marshall are both left-handed point guards. He also noted, “I’m sure me picking his number didn’t help stop them.” Paige is a totally different player than Marshall. He’s more of an offensive threat and the new smaller line-up leaves more space in the lane for him to attack and kick the ball out to shooters or dump it in to James Michael McAdoo. Regardless of the Tar Heels’s NCAA Tournament success this year, Paige looks to be a very solid point guard for years to come in Chapel Hill.
  4. Chicago Tribune: It looks like the two favorites for the open Northwestern job are Chris Collins and Bryce Drew, but both have obvious holes in their resumes. Collins, obviously, has never held a head coaching position (though he certainly holds a very involved role as an assistant at Duke). Drew only has two years of experience on him, and that experience is in the Horizon League. The big question isn’t whether Northwestern is interested: it’s whether Collins and/or Drew are. The benefits of Northwestern are obvious. It’s a head coaching gig in the Big Ten. The cons are that no one has had success there. That means a low bar, but it also means tough sledding.
  5. Orlando Sun-Sentinel: Speaking of players really improving this year for Miami, don’t overlook Durand Scott. He was uber-talented as a freshman but something was missing. Apparently, Scott slept through an entire day–missing everything from class to practice–which led his teammates to name him “shutter island”. Now his effort defines his play, as he’s become the Hurricanes’s go-to defensive stopper. It’s a pretty remarkable change from the past couple of seasons.

EXTRA: Roy Williams left Kansas fans with a bad taste in their mouths when he left for North Carolina (though it shouldn’t have been too bad, considering they turned around and hired Bill Self). But his love for the Jayhawks is still very real. They gave him his shot and he put in 15 years taking that program to the penultimate level. Who knows what his reception will be this year in Kansas City, but time heals all wounds (last year’s Elite Eight victory probably helps too).

An aside: This is real satire. Take note Yes! Weekly.

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ACC M5: 12.18.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 18th, 2012

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  1. News & Observer: Everyone agrees that Duke is the best basketball team in the nation. As silly as the rankings in the media and coaches poll can be, for many schools, a place at the top of one of these lists is a rare feather in the cap. Yet in Durham, the top of the polls isn’t anything worth getting excited about, a reasonable stance when a team has topped the polls so frequently. Of all the numbers that speak to Duke’s dominance in this area, I think this is the most stunning: During Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure, Duke has played more games as the top-ranked team than they have as an unranked team. That is nothing short of incredible.
  2. CBS Sports: In more numbers-related news, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim achieved his 900th win last night against Detroit. Boeheim is in rarefied air, and it seems very likely that the Orange coach will easily retire with the second spot in all-time career wins (Krzyzeski is all but uncatchable at this point). Boeheim, with his incredible win total (and win percentage!), is one of the true living legends of the college basketball world. It’s worth taking a moment to realize what a big deal it is that this man is going to be coaching in the ACC next season and beyond.
  3. Washington Post: A short Virginia Tech rotation just got even shorter. Freshman Marshall Wood has broken a bone in his left foot and will be out indefinitely. Wood was in the midst of a fairly successful opening campaign of his college career, playing 18 minutes a game off the bench, and serving as the third big man in the Hokies’ frontcourt rotation. While fellow freshman Joey van Zegeren has seen some playing time at this spot, his propensity for fouling may mean that Virginia Tech embraces a smaller line-up with swingman Jarell Eddie seeing some time at power forward like he did last year.
  4. Wilmington Star News: Speaking of impressive freshmen campaigns, it’s time to talk about T.J. Warren‘s impressive start for NC State. Garnering a second ACC Rookie of the Week nod, Warren has barely missed since the beginning of his time with the Wolfpack. Shooting 69.1% from the field, he’s easily been the most accurate player in the conference as well as posting the third best field goal percentage nationally. While it’s unlikely that Warren will continue to shoot the ball at such a torrid pace, right now it’s amazing to watch a forward shoot from all over the court and never expect to miss.
  5. Blogger So Dear: Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman recently tried to address the dismal state of Demon Deacons basketball. While Wellman’s defense of coach Jeff Bzdelik reflects admirable loyalty, it also underscores the main issue that has been bothering many Wake Forest fans: It doesn’t seem like anyone employed at the university sees what is so obviously happening to what was once one of the best basketball programs in the nation. Martin Rickman does a great job breaking down the complete failure of leadership in Winston-Salem.
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ACC M5: 12.11.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 11th, 2012

  1. BC Interruption: The US Department of Education published athletic revenues and profits for athletic departments. A quick note before looking at these numbers: profit can be very misleading. Athletic departments aren’t designed to turn profits, as in many cases, all revenue goes towards paying debts, contracts and travel. The revenue numbers can be misleading too, though less so. Case in point: Louisville’s basketball revenues nearly double those of Duke and North Carolina. How’s it possible for an admittedly strong regional brand to almost equal the sum of two of the three most popular teams in the country? The answer: the Yum! Center. The school’s state-of-the-art downtown arena brings in quite a deal of revenue, which presumably counts towards the basketball numbers. It’s still really interesting stuff.
  2. Duke Basketball Report: Ken Pomeroy (and many others) have pointed to Duke’s apparent struggles on the glass as a potential Achilles heel this season. Duke Basketball Report went back into the archives and checked on the rebounding figures from Coach K’s tenure in Durham. The reality is that neither one is wrong. Duke‘s rebounding is at its weakest point this year, but does that mean it will come back to haunt the Blue Devils? Probably at some point. But also remember that Krzyzewski has had great success without great rebounding teams and Marshall Plumlee should help augment the Blue Devils’ board-crashing upon his return.
  3. College Hoops Daily: How did Wake Forest go from being a regular contender in the ACC to a perennial conference doormat? Well, Skip Prosser died; Dino Gaudio signed a team full of players with off-court issues and didn’t win enough to merit the exceptions; and athletic director Ron Wellman hired his friend Jeff Bzdelik. Bzdelik hasn’t improved in his three years leading the team and isn’t likable enough to mask his less than stellar results with charm. This season’s freshman class is really his first real step forward, but the product on the court looks largely the same. Bzdelik may be a great basketball coach, but he’s got to start showing progress right now if he wants to stick around much longer (see: Mark Turgeon).
  4. Washington Post: Speaking of Turgeon, he’s trying some new ways to avoid turnovers. Now, whenever a Maryland player commits a turnover in practice, he performs five push-ups. One interesting thing about the Terrapins’ turnover problem is that it’s not just one player responsible for all the miscues. Eight — yes, you read that right — Maryland players are averaging at least 1.5 turnovers a game. Do the math, and it’s not hard to see why the Terps are last in the conference in turnover margin.
  5. Hartford Courant: Connecticut never really stood a chance in conference realignment. At least not against Louisville. Despite the two schools’ recent head-to-head results, the Cardinals are obviously a football program headed in the right direction. It’s harder to say that is true with Connecticut. Attendance is struggling and strong academics can’t make up for lukewarm fan support. Less importantly, the Huskies don’t share a border with Indiana (Notre Dame, anyone?) or Ohio, a football talent hotbed.
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Jeff Bzdelik: “I’m Not Going to Make Excuses,” But…

Posted by mpatton on November 28th, 2012

Wake Forest was embarrassed last night, losing by 16 to Nebraska in Winston-Salem — the same Nebraska that just eked out a home win over Tulane before getting blown out by Kent State (also at home). The game was close at the half with the Demon Deacons only trailing by four, but Nebraska came out blazing in the second half and scored on 19 of its first 23 possessions over a span of 15 minutes. In case you prefer advanced stats, Nebraska scored 40 points on those 23 possessions. That’s 1.74 points per possession, for those of you wondering.

Nebraska Manhandled Wake Forest at the Joel Last Night. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

When asked about the game, Jeff Bzdelik offered the Winston-Salem Journal‘s Dan Collins this jewel:

“I’ve tried everything. I’m not going to make any excuses. Tuesday is their toughest day academically. It starts at sun-up. I was aware of that, and I was trying to give them rest. I tried a different approach today, just giving them some rest. I don’t know.”

For those of you keeping score at home, Bzdelik’s team was embarrassed at home by a Big Ten basketball doormat because the players had a hard class day. It’s really hard to believe that Wake Forest was considered a national contender a few years ago. But Bzdelik isn’t making excuses. Well, other than blaming an abysmal home loss on academics and “rest.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Morning Five: Independence Day Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 4th, 2012

  1. Happy ID4 to you and yours, folks. Try to stay cool out there but make sure to enjoy the barbecues, fireworks and time with family and friends that this holiday has come to represent. From our perspective, the Fourth isn’t just a celebration of the nation’s birthday (Happy 236th USA!), but it also marks just about the halfway point of the college basketball offseason. It’s been 93 days since Kentucky cut down the nets in New Orleans, and we’re just under 100 days until practice tips back off again with Midnight Madness. It’ll be here before you know it.
  2. People are still talking about last week’s NBA Draft, and with good reason. One of the top post-draft storylines among the blognoscenti has been how Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones, and especially Perry Jones, III, and Jared Sullinger made poor financial decisions to stay in school for their sophomore seasons. It’s an easy ex post facto argument to make, but it ignores the fact that there are other extraneous values to sticking around campus for another year. Mike DeCourcy points out this very thing with respect to Jones and Sullinger through the prism of Indiana’s Cody Zeller, who, along with UNC’s James Michael McAdoo, is the top returning sophomore in college basketball next season. The key takeaway here is that even though players may have lost some of their elusive and fleeting upside by returning to school, they became better basketball players and more mature young men because of it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and could pay additional financial dividends down the line.
  3. The Cody Zellers of tomorrow are of course already in the pipeline and it won’t be long before the Class of 2013 dominates all the recruiting news as elite prospects come off the board. As of today, only 15 of the Rivals top 50 prospects have committed anywhere, and only four of the top 25. But two names populating the top 100 recently made their decisions, and their ultimate destinations are places more familiar with the matriculation of elite academic types rather than athletic ones. This week Northwestern received a commitment from Jaren Sina, a player ranked #86 by Scout and #106 by Rivals, who is the highest rated player that Bill Carmody has ever signed in Evanston. This comes on the heels of the March decision by Zena Edosomwan to play basketball at Harvard after doing an additional college prep year, making it possible that the Ivy League school that reached its first NCAA Tournament in generations last year will garner its first top 50 recruit in program history (Edosomwan is currently #66 on Rivals and moving up).
  4. In a mid-major episode of the high stakes world of conference realignment, you may recall that Boston University announced last month that it was leaving the America East Conference for the Patriot League. As a result, the America East announced yesterday that BU would not be allowed to participate in next year’s men’s or women’s America East Tournament in Albany, NY. Citing league bylaws that were instituted in the mid-2000s after Northeastern’s departure to the CAA, BU will suffer the punishment no matter how good next year’s team might be. On the above-linked article, a commenter named “BU Athlete” said that he is “a BU Athlete and I feel absolutely heartbroken that someone who doesn’t even know the amount of effort I put in to my sport can ban me from playing my senior season.” It certainly sucks for the student-athletes such as this player (assuming his legitimacy) who probably doesn’t want to waste his senior year but also likely has no interest in transferring elsewhere at the last minute. Realignment — isn’t it fun?
  5. Finally, the 2013-14 NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has announced its next chairman, Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman (the 2012-13 chairman, in case you’ve forgotten, is Xavier’s Mike Bobinski). Wellman has two decades of experience as an AD for the Demon Deacons and is widely respected in the industry for building a strong athletic program despite Wake’s status as one of the smallest schools in the FBS (Division I-A). Wellman will need to see considerable improvement in his basketball team, though, if he hopes to have a chance to walk out of the room as his school is discussed next year — Jeff Bzdelik’s squad has a miserable two-year record of 21-42 (5-29 ACC).
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ACC Morning Five: 02.29.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 29th, 2012

  1. The Classical: This is a terrific article on Skip Prosser and his legacy at Wake Forest. Media and fans alike reference the Demon Deacons’ recent history of success a lot. They also talk about Dino Gaudio with mixed opinions. But rarely do they really talk about Skip Prosser. Maybe it was just too soon to have an honest conversation, but his death became the story. Matt Gallagher’s piece looks at the hope Prosser brought with him to Winston-Salem, the pride, the success and eventually the huge hole he so tragically left behind. If you don’t read anything else today, read this.
  2. ACC Sports Journal: Speaking of Wake Forest, Ron Wellman is in a tough spot. Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum is outdated and too large. Recently, reports surfaced that Wake Forest might buy the arena from Winston-Salem. It was originally built to compete with the Greensboro Coliseum, but falls in the awkward 14,000-seat range that’s much too big for small “college” bands, but far too small for the big-time acts. If there was more interest, a large capital campaign might allow for a new arena to be built, but it’s going to be hard to raise ~$100 million for basketball right now. Between the lack of success on the court and the economy, now is just not the right time.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It may not be getting nearly as much publicity as Duke and North Carolina, but the Georgia TechBoston College battle tonight is for last place in the ACC. The bad news for the Yellow Jackets is they will be without their best player, as Glen Rice, Jr., will be suspended for the game. That said, they’re coming off their best win of the season against Maryland (without Rice), and beating the Eagles by four at home three weeks ago. Can they win their first road game since stunning NC State early in conference play? Is Brian Gregory’s system starting to take root? Tune into Raycom or ESPN3 at 7:00 PM to find out.
  4. Orlando Sentinel: Florida State struggled mightily to defend the perimeter against Duke and Miami. Before they get too down on their effort, I want to point them to a series of articles that Ken Pomeroy has posted recently on defense’s effect (or lack thereof) on three-point percentage. Those should be comforting, but don’t ignore the problem. Miami played small-ball against FSU because of Reggie Johnson’s injury, which proved difficult for the Florida State bigs to guard — especially on the perimeter. Duke also played an extra-three-point-threat-heavy offense because of Plumlee foul trouble. Is playing small the best way to beat the Seminoles?
  5. Duke Basketball Report: In honor of the date, Barry Jacobs took a look at all of the leap day games in ACC history. Duke is 3-1 in February 29 match-ups, with two wins coming against North Carolina. Meanwhile NC State has played seven times, losing four games on this date.

EXTRA: Jay Smith wrote an op-ed piece in the Raleigh News & Observer on the importance of the “student” half of student-athlete. The piece is directed specifically at North Carolina after there was backlash against a “statement of athletic principles” from a group of North Carolina professors. In the world of high-major athletics, my guess is that professors at most other ACC schools would agree. I personally think Smith undercuts the value of athletics, but I also understand his frustration.

EXTRA EXTRA: If you missed Duke’s game against Wake Forest last night, you missed the announcers and Blue Devils checking out late in the second half, as the Demon Deacons nearly erased a 23-point lead with a 19-2 run. Despite the remarkable run, the announcers kept talking about Saturday’s game. (h/t @RnR_NCSU)

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ACC Morning Five: 02.24.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 24th, 2012

  1. Duke Basketball Report: It’s not often that you will see someone come to the aid of officials–especially those officials as visible and effervescent as Karl Hess (or Ted Valentine, Jim Burr, Roger Ayers, etc.). But “the Playcaller” does a good job taking a step back and writing a very thoughtful piece on Hess. The thesis is worth extending to almost any official you can name. It’s also a good reminder that officiating is really difficult. The primary difference between high-level high school basketball and college is the speed of the game. Players are faster, better coached, and more experienced. That certainly doesn’t make a game easier to call.
  2. Blogger So Dear: Sitting behind a bench is always a fun experience. You hear things and see things that television cameras miss (nervous tics, profanity-laced tirades and the general “aura” of the team. You can learn a lot from how players leave a game, or how involved the end of the bench is in the game. From the sound of things, Wake Forest is in a decent place. No one likes losing so the positive attitude on the bench is definitely a good sign for Jeff Bzdelik and his staff.
  3. Winston-Salem Journal: In less ideal news (it’s actually amusing these stories were published at the same time) for the Demon Deacons, Ron Wellman apologized to the Miami fan that Jeff Bzdelik swore at during Wake Forest’s loss last week. The good news is the fan seems happy with the university’s response. The bad news: it’s in the news. Coaches swearing at fans behind their benches isn’t good advertising.
  4. Associated Press (via Washington Post): Former Georgia Tech great Javaris Crittenton is back in the news. Crittenton was already out on bail for allegedly killing a woman in a drive-by shooting in August. He was arrested this time for speeding and obstructing justice (he refused to get out of his car).
  5. Cavalier Insider: Jerry Ratcliffe takes a look at the ACC’s bubble. Obviously Duke, North Carolina and Florida State are locks at this point. Virginia is very close to joining that group. But major questions lie in NC State‘s and Miami‘s resumes. Both teams are close, but both need work (NC State needs more than Miami). That’s why next Wednesday’s game at NC State is so huge for both teams.

EXTRA: John Gasaway does a great job looking at the RPI. He looks at its history, both past and present. “The RPI is not the best metric that anyone has come up with so far, but it did represent a great leap forward in 1981.” That’s just it. The RPI was (and still is for many Olympic sports) the best tool available 30 years ago. Now, there are more accurate rating systems. End of story. But you should definitely read this in the meantime. It’s long but worth the time.

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