ACC M5: 03.13.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 13th, 2013


  1. Raleigh News & Observer: This is a phenomenal profile of Reggie Bullock and his hometown of Kinston, North Carolina from Andrew Carter. Bullock is the best player to come out of the small town since Jerry Stackhouse, whose presence is still felt throughout the local area. Carter looks at Bullock’s life, describing the impoverished town and the “it takes a village” mentality that town took to help him get to the University of North Carolina.
  2. Independent Weekly: I agree with Neil Morris in principle that the “hype” needs to be restored to conference tournaments — especially as the top conferences get more and more spread out. But I totally disagree with his solution, which is to make the conference tournament winner the only team available for a spot on the top seed line. All this does is make one seeds weaker and further cheapens the 30 games prior for a team good enough to earn a top seed despite losing in its conference tournament. The key for the ACC is picking its sites wisely (and having more competitive teams). 
  3. Charlottesville Daily Progress: Coming into this season, I was very skeptical Virginia would be able to replace Mike Scott. Last year Joe Harris was a decent second option and Akil Mitchell might have been an afterthought. This year Harris is as good a scorer as anyone in the league, becoming more efficient (specifically from beyond the arc), and Mitchell is a terror inside. He went from very good rebounder to arguably the conference’s best. The two together more than make up for the loss of Scott.
  4. Fayetteville Observer: This is a storyline that should be getting more play (although I hesitate to write that about a prominent Duke story that deserves more attention). We know Duke is much better on both ends of the court with Ryan Kelly, but neither he nor Seth Curry is healthy. More specifically, neither has practiced much this season thanks to nagging injuries. That could lead to a major conditioning issue in the rapid-fire postseason (the NCAA tournament is more forgiving than conference tournament, though). Mike Krzyzewski needs to be wary of how he uses those two guys in particular to make sure that neither runs out of gas.
  5. Washington Post: Erick Green became the first player since Len Bias to win the ACC Player of the Year for a team finishing under .500 in conference play. It was the right call, so props to the ACC media for recognizing his amazing season: Green was the first ACC player since 1957 to lead the country in scoring, and was the first major conference player to do so in nearly 20 years (Glenn Robinson, Purdue). Now Green just needs an encore to finish the season right.
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RTC Top 25: Week 17

Posted by KDoyle on March 11th, 2013

Despite dropping a game for the second straight week — this time on Senior Night against Ohio State — Indiana maintained its spot atop the rankings. It was certainly easier to put the loss to Ohio State in the back of mind after Indiana stunned Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t so much the Hoosiers’ win that was so shocking, but the manner in which they did so, as they scored six points in the final minute to win 72-71 in a sweep of the regular season series from the Wolverines. Since the return of Ryan Kelly, Duke is looking stronger than ever after demolishing North Carolina over the weekend. The Blue Devils garnered two #1 votes with Louisville securing the final #1 ballot. As for Gonzaga, despite having 30 wins and not losing since that unbelievable game at Hinkle Fieldhouse against Butler, the top team in the AP/Coaches polls checks in here at #4.

More good stuff with the Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 17

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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Set Your DVR: Weekend Edition

Posted by bmulvihill on March 8th, 2013


Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @TheMulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

With the first tickets to the Big Dance being given out this weekend and regular season titles still up for grabs in the Big East, Big Ten, ACC, and A-10, it should be one amazing weekend of college hoops. It’s the most amazing time of the year, so sit back and enjoy. Let’s get to the breakdowns!

#17 Syracuse at #6 Georgetown – 12:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN (****)

Better Make It a Double.

Boeheim is looking for answers at Syracuse.

  • Syracuse broke a three-game losing streak this week against DePaul while Georgetown lost for the first time in 11 games against Villanova. With the loss, the Hoyas dropped into a three-team tie for first place in the Big East with Marquette and Louisville. The Orange have struggled recently and had a tough time against the Hoyas defense two weeks ago at the Carrier Dome. Jim Boeheim’s team only went 4-20 from downtown and could not get anything going from their guards. The Hoyas struggled on offense as well but were able to rely on Otto Porter once again who put in 33 points. In order for Syracuse to snap out of this funk, they need to get more production from guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams. If both players can take better shots by driving the ball to the hoop, we will see a completely different Syracuse team. Georgetown put Villanova on the foul line 42 times earlier this week. Given the size of Triche and Carter-Williams, both players should be going straight to the basket in an attempt to draw fouls or get lay-ups. Keep a close on both players, as they are the keys to this game. If they are settling for jumpers, Syracuse is going to struggle again.

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March Losing Streak Suddenly Raises Doubts About Canes

Posted by BHayes on March 7th, 2013


Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

The Miami Hurricanes spent January and February making believers out of skeptics, filling a bandwagon that had never, ever been even close to full. It takes no stretch of the imagination to believe in a Duke or a Carolina team that races out to a hot ACC start, but Miami? A program with just six NCAA Tournament appearances in its history? For us to trust the Canes, they had to be spectacular – and spectacular they were. Thirteen ACC wins in a row, including a sweep of UNC and a blowout win over Duke, practically sealed the ACC regular season title, and all this before the first day of March. They looked like the best team in the league, and a legitimate national title contender to boot.

Jim Larranaga Could Not Have Loved Miami's Effort This Evening, But The Canes And Their Head Man Still Harbor Large Tournament Hopes

Jim Larranaga Could Not Have Loved Miami’s Effort This Evening, But The Canes And Their Head Man Still Harbor Large Tournament Hopes

Both those proclamations may still be true, but back-to-back losses to begin the most important month in college basketball will again have the magnifying lenses hovering over the Canes. The loss at Cameron on Saturday (by just three points and with Ryan Kelly not only active but also having the game of his life) did little to damage Miami’s long-term prognosis. They still looked like the tough, veteran team that had ripped through this ACC slate — no problems there. But with that defeat now a part of a losing streak after tonight’s egregious home loss to Georgia Tech, we start to worry a little bit. There are questions again, and the doubt seeps back in with disturbingly little difficulty, because why did we really believe in the Miami Hurricanes to begin with?

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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on March 5th, 2013

It was a boring penultimate weekend of Atlantic Coast Conference play where everything went according to plan and nothing exciting happened. Just kidding: It was a in fact a sensational weekend of games with some big time performances and massive upsets. There were also a couple of dull games where teams with “North Carolina” in their name easily defeated overmatched foes, but let’s try our best to ignore that as we examine some late lessons of the season.

  1. Boston College Really Likes Playing Teams That Just Beat Duke. In fact, the Eagles have proven themselves as the masters of the hangover game. A win over Virginia is more impressive than a win over Maryland, but what remains far more interesting is BC’s penchant for killing other team’s vibes. All but one conference victory (an early season tilt against Virginia Tech) has come after an opponent has won its previous game. Does this mean anything? Probably not, but if I was going to face Boston College after I had just won a game, I would do my best not to overlook the Eagles.
  2. Duke’s Win Over Miami Was Surprising For The Wrong Reasons. Let’s be totally clear: Ryan Kelly’s 36 points on 14 shots was one of the most sensational individual performances in all of college basketball this year. It also probably feels good for Duke fans to get revenge after Miami’s victory early in the season. Still, if I’m a Duke fan, I’m a little concerned. The Blue Devils were supposed to win this game, with most betting lines putting the team as a 5.5 point favorite. Kelly puts in one of the single most impressive and surprising performances of the year… and Duke only wins by 3 points at home? It was a big victory, no doubt, but shouldn’t it have been a lot bigger?

    While Ryan Kelly's outstanding performance was great in the Duke win, the narrow victory might be a cause of some concern (Lance King)

    While Ryan Kelly’s outstanding performance was great in the Duke win, the narrow victory might be cause for some concern. (Lance King)

  3. Wake Forest Has Become Ridiculously Good At Drawing Fouls. Technically, Boston College and NC State have been better than the Demon Deacons in conference play, but you wouldn’t know that by watching the game against Maryland. In the first half, Wake was in the bonus with 9:47 to go in the period. In the second half, they were in the bonus with 16:13 left. That’s right. They reached the bonus before the first official timeout of the second half. James Padgett fouled out after 17 minutes, and in 10 minutes of play, Shaquille Cleare tallied four fouls. The Deacons ultimately lost this game, but this kind of foul-drawing performance suggests that this team might be particularly well-positioned to exploit the teams that foul the most in the conference — namely Virginia Tech, Virginia and Duke. Read the rest of this entry »
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Ten Tuesday Scribbles: On Virginia, North Carolina, National COY, and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on March 5th, 2013


Brian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. If there is one team that personifies this rollercoaster season of unpredictability, it is probably Virginia. Last week was the Cavaliers’ season in a nutshell as they toppled Duke in Charlottesville before laying an egg at Boston College on Sunday. At 20-9 (10-6), Virginia sits squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble with two regular season games to play. In my heart of hearts, I believe this is a tournament-quality team. Virginia has impressive victories against aforementioned Duke as well as NC State, North Carolina and a huge road win at Wisconsin earlier in the season. Additionally, the Cavs sport wins over bubble buddies Tennessee and Maryland (on the road). Unfortunately for Virginia, the story doesn’t end there and turns sour rather quickly. Tony Bennett’s team has lost a stunning seven games to sub-100 RPI opponents, six of them coming on the road or at a neutral site. The loss to #315 Old Dominion is particularly puzzling. With just a 2-6 road record in conference play, an RPI in the 60s and an embarrassing non-conference strength of schedule, Virginia is not in a great spot despite its good wins. Joe Harris and the Cavs need to take care of business against Florida State and Maryland before putting together some kind of ACC Tournament run. This is one of the more bizarre NCAA resumes I’ve ever seen and one sure to create a lot of debate in the committee room.

    Joe Harris and Virginia haven't been consistent

    Joe Harris and Virginia haven’t been consistent

  2. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s comments after his team’s loss to Virginia created a stir throughout the college basketball world over the last few days. Coach K complained about his team not being able to safely get off the floor while Virginia’s students rushed the court after their team’s big win. While the video does show the Duke team unable to enter the tunnel and head to the locker room, I feel Krzyzewski is out of line. His team was protected by multiple arena security personnel who formed a human wall between the Duke team and the Virginia students. At no time were the Duke players in any danger. I understand why things this man says get noticed, after all he is the sport’s winningest coach. But why does everything Coach K says have to be taken as gospel? Let the kids have some fun and stop with the “get off my lawn!” attitude. Unless your team is in danger of being hurt, comments like these serve as a distraction and quite honestly look like sour grapes to me.
  3. After suffering the loss to Virginia, Duke rebounded in a big way by taking down Miami and exacting a measure of revenge for the blowout loss earlier this year in Coral Gables. It was a struggle though as the Blue Devils needed a career-high 36 points from Ryan Kelly (in his first game back since January 8) just to win by three on their home floor. While Kelly clearly sparked Duke offensively in this game, he makes a bigger difference on the other side of the basketball. Kelly is an outstanding defender because he’s a tall, agile forward who can get up into a player on the perimeter and force him to shoot over or pass around Kelly, often going east-west instead of north-south. Kelly’s presence on the floor did not make a huge difference in this particular game when it comes to Miami’s offensive efficiency but he did frustrate the Hurricanes from the three point line. Miami shot just 6-21 from deep and a big reason for that was Kelly and his length. As we head into postseason play, Kelly’s return will make a huge difference on the defensive side of the ball for Duke. Anything he does offensively is gravy for this team. Duke is undefeated with Kelly in the lineup and that bodes well for the Blue Devils as they look to grab a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and make a run at the program’s 16th Final Four appearance. Read the rest of this entry »
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Will Kansas Get a Number One Seed? Handicapping the Race…

Posted by KoryCarpenter on March 4th, 2013

Less than a month ago it seemed ridiculous to mention ‘Kansas’ and ‘#1 seed’ in the same breath. They had lost three in a row for the first time in forever and dropped a game to the worst team in a power conference, falling to #14 in the AP poll on February 11. But then things started happening between then and now that needed to happen for Kansas to be in the discussion for a top seed so late in the season. Teams ahead of the Jayhawks started losing. Butler lost three times. So did Michigan State. Arizona and Syracuse each lost three games. Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, and Miami (FL) lost twice, as did Duke (although they were without Ryan Kelly in both instances). Kansas, on the other hand, is 6-0 since losing to Oklahoma on February 9. Louisville and Gonzaga are the only other teams from the top 14 in the AP poll three weeks ago that are undefeated since. And neither Louisville nor the Zags have the resume of Kansas in that stretch. The Jayhawks have beaten then #10 Kansas State at home and #14 Oklahoma State on the road — both RPI top 50 wins — as well as Iowa State on the road, a likely NCAA Tournament team with a #53 RPI ranking.

Bill Self Could Capture His 5th #1 Seed In 7 Years (Photo credit: AP Photo).

Bill Self Could Capture His 5th #1 Seed In 7 Years (Photo credit: AP Photo)

Barring two losses through the Big 10 Tournament (between three and five games), Indiana is a virtula lock for a #1 seed. Here’s what the other top teams look like, with resume boosters in bold and resume killers in italics.


  • 25-4 overall
  • SOS: 13
  • RPI: 4
  • 9-3 in road/neutral games
  • 9-3 vs the RPI top 50
  • Good Wins: St. Louis (RPI #30), at Ohio State, at Oklahoma State, Kansas State (twice)
  • Bad Losses: TCU
  • Remaining Games: Texas Tech, at Baylor

Miami (FL)

  • 23-5 overall
  • SOS: 4
  • RPI: 3
  • 10-5 in road/neutral games
  • 6-2 vs the RPI top 50
  • Good Wins: at North Carolina State, North Carolina (twice), Michigan State, Duke
  • Bad Losses: Wake Forest, Florida Gulf Coast, Indiana State
  • Remaining Games: Georgia Tech, Clemson

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RTC Top 25: Week 16

Posted by KDoyle on March 4th, 2013

Despite dropping a game at Minnesota last week, Indiana remains the #1 team in the RTC25 for the fourth straight week. In fact, Indiana was the clear choice for the top spot by garnering six #1 votes and three #2 votes. Duke and Gonzaga both follow the Hoosiers, but their average rank was 4.00 compared to Indiana’s 1.33, showing just how confident RTC voters were in picking the Hoosiers. Interesting to note that #4 Louisville also picked up a first place vote, and the argument can certainly be made that they deserve more consideration as the #1 team. Since losing three straight in late January, the Cardinals are 8-1 with their lone loss coming in five overtimes at Notre Dame. Further down in the RTC25, North Carolina finally makes a return tied at #23. The Heels were ranked #14 in the preseason poll, but have been unranked ever since Week Three. Winners of its last five games, North Carolina is playing their best ball of the season.

More good stuff with the Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 16

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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ACC M5: 03.04.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 4th, 2013


  1. New York Times: In one of the best, most entertaining college basketball games of the season, Duke outlasted Miami 79-76 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. There are two important notes from the game: one–which trumps everything by a wide margin–was Ryan Kelly‘s unbelievable return; the other was Miami‘s comeback that wasn’t meant to be in the final two minutes. Kelly was phenomenal, and Miami clearly had no idea what to do to stop him. Without him, Duke might have been blown out again. The second story is how the game changed in the final 120 seconds. Duke went from up ten to giving Miami a chance to tie or take the lead down the stretch. Free throw shooting woes (the Blue Devils went 4-8 from the charity stripe after going up ten) and turnovers were at the center of the collapse. Duke had a chance to execute and win by 10-15 points. Instead, Miami charged back and got two good looks at overtime. That says a lot about both teams.
  2. Roanoke Times: It seems like a long time ago, but Erick Green couldn’t always score at will at the college level. His freshman year he averaged 2.6 points on less than 30% shooting in less than 13 minutes of play a game (with an offensive efficiency of 81.5 using 15.5% of his team’s possessions). This year he’s averaging 25.0 points a game on 48% shooting in over 35 minutes (with an offensive rating of 121.2 using a ludicrous 31.5% of possessions). That’s some terrific development. Green doesn’t get a lot of help from his teammates, Virginia Tech just isn’t deep or talented enough to compete on a nightly basis in the ACC, but he’s worth the price of admission on his own.
  3. Charlottesville Daily Progress: Joe Harris got much deserved love for his career performance in Virginia’s win over Duke last week. He’s one of the most underrated players in the ACC, and talented seniors like him (think Jacob Pullen or Mike Scott) deserve their chance to dance. But he’s not even the most underrated player on his team. Junior Akil Mitchell is a huge part of Virginia’s success. Against Duke he finished with 19 points and 12 boards (and held Mason Plumlee to a pedestrian ten and seven). Like two of Charlotte Christian’s other famous alumni (Steph and Seth Curry), Mitchell never got offers from the North Carolina schools. He ended up at Virginia, and his athleticism and strength anchors Tony Bennett’s pack-line defense.
  4. Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest retired Chris Paul‘s jersey at its loss against Maryland. Paul may be the most fluid basketball player in the world (though Kyrie Irving has a lot of his playground ball-handling), and he’ll always be one of my favorite ACC point guards (right up with Ty Lawson, Greivis Vasquez, Tyrese Rice and many more). He led Wake Forest to two of the best offensive seasons in recent memory and was the best–and most fitting–player to suit up for Skip Prosser. Paul’s likability (save the Julius Hodge incident) is as strong as any player in the NBA. This was a good move by Wake Forest.
  5. Charlotte Observer: The ACC Tournament is up for grabs this year. Duke and Miami are the definite favorites to cut down the nets in Greensboro, but don’t cut out a surging North Carolina team, a dangerous NC State team or a better-than-its-resume Virginia squad. At the bottom half of the league there’s a mirrored cluster of teams with Florida State and Maryland in the middle. Seeding is far from decided and it will be complex (expect a comprehensive post later this week), but the conference tournament should be a lot of fun.

EXTRA: Court rushing became a topic of much conversation after Mike Krzyzewski blasted Virginia security for not protecting his team from the throngs of students. First, Coach K has a history of deflecting attention after losses (though Kelly’s performance against Miami did more than this ever could). But there are very real safety concerns with court storming. Fans often get hurt, and it’s a surprise more players aren’t injured. Also, what would happen if a fan charged a player and the player retaliated? Most of the time, the onus is put on players to ignore bush league behavior from fans. But when things get physical, that’s not fair to the players. I hope the ACC doesn’t establish a fine for teams rushing the court, but implementing a uniform procedure across the league with potential fines for not maintaining safety is something more attractive.

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Set Your DVR: Weekend Edition

Posted by bmulvihill on March 1st, 2013


Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @TheMulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

This weekend has several important conference re-matches and as well as first time clashes between conference leaders. It should be an action packed weekend. Let’s get to the breakdowns!

#10 Louisville at #11 Syracuse – 12:00 PM EST, Saturday on CBS (*****) 

  • Syracuse has lost two straight and five of their last nine. They have been inconsistent on offensive, particularly from the outside. They go up against a Louisville squad that is no stranger to struggles this season either. The Cardinals hit a three-game slide at the end of January that had a few folks questioning where this team was headed. Since that time though, they are 7-1 and only one game back in the Big East. Syracuse beat Louisville 70-68 in January in a close contest that came down to the final possession. The Cardinals have clearly struggled against long, athletic teams. Asking 6’0″ Russ Smith and 6’0″ Peyton Siva to guard 6″6″ Michael Carter-Williams and 6’4″ Brandon Triche is a tall order to say the least. Look for the Orange to exploit the mismatch at guard all night. Rick Pitino must game plan to help his guards, otherwise it could be another tough one for Louisville. The Cardinals also need Gorgui Dieng to contribute more on the offensive end. His size will help free up Smith and Siva on the outside. Expect another close battle at the Carrier Dome as these two teams battle for conference and tournament seeding.

    Peyton Siva orchestrated Louisville's offense with 10 points and 10 assists

    Peyton Siva has a lot to prove in the second go around with the Orange.

#20 Butler at Virginia Commonwealth – 12:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN2 (****) 

  • While Butler has amazing wins against Indiana and Gonzaga, they have struggled against the top Atlantic 10 teams. They are 0-3 against Saint Louis and LaSalle and now face VCU for the first time this season. VCU is also winless against Saint Louis and LaSalle, so Butler is not alone in their struggles. The key to this match-up will be turnovers. VCU creates turnovers on 27.3% of an opponents possessions. Butler turns the ball over on 20% of its offensive possessions. The Bulldogs cannot afford to empty possession in this game, otherwise they will lose. They must get into the half-court offense and establish 6’11” Andrew Smith early. Smith’s match-up against VCU’s Juvante Reddic will be critical. Butler needs Smith’s offense to win this game. 

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