ACC Summer Recess: Maryland Terrapins

Posted by mpatton on July 19th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Maryland.

Where They Stand Now

Mark Turgeon’s Second Year Doesn’t Look Any Easier Than His First.

Unfortunately it appears to be “two steps forward, two steps back” for Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins. Last season Maryland became a darkhorse contender on the backs of a solid coach, Terrell Stoglin, Alex Len‘s improvement, and a very good recruiting class. Then Stoglin was suspended for violating team rules, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the sophomore guard who had many public confrontations with Turgeon last season went pro rather than sit out next year. Maryland also suspended Mychal Parker, who took his talents to Loyola though he probably won’t be academically eligible there. With a disappointing 17-15 season in the rearview mirror, Turgeon’s Terrapins need immediate improvement to keep the suits in College Park from getting nervous. Speaking of suits in College Park, keep an eye on athletic director Kevin Anderson, who was reportedly headed to Stanford before everyone denied the claim and leading to this tepid retraction.

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Terrell Stoglin Will Actually Enter the 2012 NBA Draft

Posted by mpatton on May 1st, 2012

It was only a few weeks ago that some were (optimistically) projecting Maryland as a Top 25 sleeper out of the ACC next year. Sure the Terrapins lost Sean Mosley to graduation, but the combination of Terrell Stoglin‘s return, Nick Faust‘s development and a very promising recruiting class brought plenty of hype. But some reports suddenly connected the ACC’s top scorer with the NBA Draft again earlier this week. Since the initial release, more details have come out: Stoglin was suspended for the year for violating the University of Maryland Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. In essence, the suspension tied his hands and forced him to sit out next year or give the draft a try. Patrick Stevens’ source provided background on the suspension, saying it was connected to failed drug tests. The “code of conduct prescribes a one-year suspension for three failed drug tests.”

Terrell Stoglin Will Not Be Returning To College Park Next Season.

Stoglin’s departure is obviously a huge blow to Maryland’s prospects next year. Specifically, the Terrapins will need to replace his 20 points per game and face defenses that no longer have to focus extra energy on stopping one player. The silver lining for Maryland fans is that Stoglin had a rocky relationship with Mark Turgeon, which couldn’t have helped team chemistry. With Stoglin and Mosley now gone, I expect the torch to be passed to Faust and (possibly) Pe’Shon Howard to act as team leaders. I also expect Maryland to struggle a lot offensively, especially early in the season. But this team will be more talented than last year’s version and significantly better on defense. The question is how much Mark Turgeon can develop his young frontcourt.

It should also be noted that sophomore wing Mychal Parker was also suspended for a full season and will transfer elsewhere. Parker averaged four points and three rebounds in 18 minutes a game last season.

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Considering Maryland’s Perimeter Surprise: Pressure Defense

Posted by KCarpenter on February 6th, 2012

The Terrapins lost to North Carolina on Saturday after a valiant and hard-fought game where it looked like Mark Turgeon had his old mentor Roy Williams on the ropes early on. How did Maryland get the jump on the Tar Heels? By relying on a tactic that Turgeon has been reluctant to embrace all season: perimeter pressure. On the season, Maryland has forced fewer turnovers than almost every team in the country, posting a defensive turnover percentage of 16.9% which puts them at somewhere around the 325th best in the country in this category. Worse, when it comes to steals, Maryland is the second worst team in the entire country, managing a takeaway on only 5.8% of defensive plays.

Mark Turgeon Should Consider Letting His Team Gamble More On Defense

Yet, going into the under-eight minute timeout in the first half, sure-handed Tar Heel Kendall Marshall already had five turnovers. Mark Turgeon unleashed the dogs on the Tar Heels and their perimeter pressure rattled North Carolina. It was an effective tactic that kept UNC’s guards off-balance and helped key an early lead for the Terrapins. Certainly North Carolina rallied to win the game and Kendall Marshall going forward only turned the ball over once more on his way to a 16-assist game. Still, the game was competitive when it probably shouldn’t have been.

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ACC Game On: 02.02.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on February 2nd, 2012

Wednesday night was a night of valiant efforts, but no surprises. Despite the underdogs’ collective success at keeping games close, Goliath withstood David’s slings and the ACC standings are starting to finally look understandable. Without Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech was no match for the still-hot Florida State Seminoles who put the Yellow Jackets in the rear view with a dynamic closing stretch. Boston College, formerly a high-octane scoring attack, tried a more traditional underdog approach with a hideous burn offense that slowed the game with North Carolina State to a crawl. Despite some notable efforts to try to give away the game in the second half, Boston College still faltered in its end-game execution and Mark Gottfried and his crew walked away with the win.

Turgeon Got Run, But Maryland Proved It Has Some Fight

The real excitement of the night was in the Maryland at Miami game. While it looked like it was going to be a by-the-numbers blow out, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon took exception to a referee call late in the second half, kept arguing, and finally got ejected. The Terrapins, rallying behind the guy who stood up for them, suddenly started playing some inspired ball. That combined with the absence of any true post players for Miami (Kenny Kadji was injured while both Reggie Johnson and Raphael Akpejiori fouled out) resulted in a remarkable turnaround that turned a double-digit deficit into a double-overtime thriller. It wasn’t the prettiest game, and before all was said and done, Durand Scott, Sean Mosley, and Nick Faust also fouled out of the game. Scott’s 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists would prove to be the deciding line of the night. Though Terrell Stoglin scored an impressive 33 points, he did so only after taking an I-still-can’t-believe-it 20 three-point shots. Though Maryland lost, Stoglin’s will, and the key defensive play of Alex Len means that the Terrapins leave Coral Gables feeling that their team is tough enough to hang in the big games and that their coach believes in them.

The Only Game In Town

  • Duke at Virginia Tech at 7:00 PM on ESPN
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Set Your TiVo: 01.25.12

Posted by EJacoby on January 25th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC contributor and correspondent. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

There are no Top 25 matchups or truly ‘great’ games on tonight’s schedule, but it is another packed Wednesday of important conference battles so there will be plenty of action worth monitoring.

Villanova at Louisville – 7:00 PM ET on ESPN (***)

Peyton Siva Looks to Get Louisville Back on Track Tonight Against Another Top Point Guard (Getty Images/A. Lyons)

  • In what would have been billed as a big-time matchup at the beginning of the season, this game now features two unranked teams (Louisville is still #25 in one poll) with a combined 6-9 record in the Big East. But this will still be a fun game to watch, and the away team is playing its best basketball of the season. Nova has won two straight games and lost by only four points at Cincinnati in the game before, as Maalik Wayns has finally taken his game to the next level. His averages over the past three games are an insane 30.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He’s also gone 30-33 from the free throw line in that stretch. He’s second in the conference in scoring (18.7 PPG) and leads the Big East in free throws made. Nova needs other players to be strong with the ball against Louisville’s high-pressure defense, as the Wildcats average a terrible 17 turnovers in conference games, worst in the Big East. If Jay Wright’s team can take care of the ball and get to the rim instead of settling for outside shots, they have a chance in this game. Jayvaughn Pinkston will play a key role as an emerging threat (18 points, 11.5 rebounds in his last two) at the forward position that can attack the rim.
  • If Louisville wants to get back into consideration as a ranked team, they must win this game at home. The Cardinals continue to deal with injuries but have all of their key cogs healthy in this one, as leading-scorer Kyle Kuric (13.4 PPG) returned from an ankle injury to score 21 points against Pittsburgh in their last game. Louisville has the advantage on the wings with Kuric, Russ Smith (12.5 PPG), and Chris Smith (10.1 PPG) and they will try to swarm Villanova defensively, who only has one true ballhandler in its lineup. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng have tough matchups with Maalik Wayns and Mouphtaou Yarou, respectively, that are worth watching to see who has the edge on the perimeter and in the paint. Overall, Louisville’s depth and defensive pressure should prove too much for the Wildcats.
  • Louisville is a nine-point favorite at home in the KFC Yum! Center and cannot lose this game if it wants to be taken seriously in the Big East. The 10-10 Wildcats come in with some confidence and will look to play the role of spoiler as Wayns tries to prove he’s the best point guard in the conference. Expect the Cardinals to wear out Villlanova in the second half and come out with the win.

#8 Duke at Maryland- 9:00 PM ET on ESPN (***)

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ACC Morning Five: 01.17.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 17th, 2012

Well, you may have heard that Roy Williams‘ early departure got more time in the news when North Carolina released his account of the incident. Condensing the story, Williams didn’t realize his walk-ons were still on the court after the rest of his team left the floor and apologized to them today. This immediately resulted in backlash from both local and national media for being late and a little weird (it’s not like it made him look better). My thoughts are this (admittedly having no more actual information than anyone else): Williams was livid with his team’s performance and legitimately concerned for its safety, so he went to the locker room and did not even see who was following him. Now, if I was handling the situation, I would’ve put my walk-ons right by the bench, had everyone sit down as soon as the game was over and watch the court rushing from the relative safety of a folding chair. Princeton did this last year in its road loss to Harvard (admittedly, the Harvard crowd was significantly smaller than Florida State). Not only would this prove a point, but I also think players sitting on the bench would be perfectly safe and could leave in peace once the students were on the court. Anyways, that’s my two cents. Here are Tar Heel Fan Blog‘s (with Williams’ comments from his radio show).

  1. TechSideline.com: Chris Coleman offers a brutally honest diagnosis of Virginia Tech basketball. It’s also an indictment of Seth Greenberg (one really interesting stat is that Greenberg had more NBA players in six years at Long Beach State than in over eight years at Virginia Tech). As much as I want to remind Hokie fans that Greenberg brought them to new heights, it’s not unreasonable to think he might be on the hot seat. Not on fire, but the points Coleman makes about the team’s personality and falling ticket sales are real issues.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Duke’s Austin Rivers has really struggled the last few games. Ironically, the national media seems to be ambivalent at this point. Rivers has the right attitude about his slump though, pointing to the team’s undefeated conference record and working more in practice instead of grumbling about getting less playing time. The freshman is still averaging over 14 points a game and is by far the best shot-creator Duke has.
  3. Washington Post: Mike Wise takes a look at Sean Mosley, who is really the main link between Maryland’s past and present. Mosley started with the likes of Greivis Vasquez, and now he provides necessary leadership for a very young Terrapin team this year. Mosley does the crafty things, mainly shot fakes and steals, as well as the fundamental things, like hitting free throws. He’ll almost never wow you from the stat line, but it’s hard to watch Maryland and think there’s a more important intangibles guy.
  4. Soaring To Glory: Is it time to re-evaluate the ceiling for Boston College? I certainly think so (now that the Eagles have reached the prediction I set in the preseason). Now, do I think that BC will win five conference games? I’m not so sure. I think three or four conference games sounds about right (winning against Wake Forest and Miami at home if I had to guess). Still, the fact that we’re even having this discussion is a sign of how much the Eagles have improved over the last month.
  5. Lynchburg News & Advance: If you want to get in the Morning Five, just use the phrase “he’s pretty popular with the ladies on a campus notorious for its attractive women.” That’s what Nathan Warters did, describing Deividas Dulkys. It’s actually a very good article on the Lithuanian assassin, who came to the Seminoles via Findlay Prep. Wait, this article was written in 2010? Whatever, it’s still worth a read following the career performance from Dulkys.
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Checking In On… the ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 2nd, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the ACC.

Reader’s Take

 

Top Storylines

  • ACC/Big 10 Challenge: I’m not sure we can call it a challenge this year, as the ACC was dismantled 8-4 (with two of those wins being upsets). I don’t put much stock in the Challenge results although I do think it’s the best of the conference duels. I also think the Big 10 is a much better basketball conference than the ACC. The lone conference highlights came from Wake Forest and Virginia. The Demon Deacons got their second straight BCS-conference victory over Nebraska (on the road no less). To put the milestone in perspective, last season, Wake Forest didn’t win any road games against BCS competition and only won two home games against major conference schools. Meanwhile the Cavaliers rebuffed their critics (read: me) by beating a talented, well-coached Michigan squad.
  • Tar Heel Questions: North Carolina may be the best team in the country, but  any aura of invincibility was shattered by UNLV bum rushing the Tar Heels out in Las Vegas. UNLV played extraordinarily well: it exploited mismatches, slammed North Carolina inside and knocked down open shots. The Tar Heels left with major questions about who will take over games in tough spots, and whether John Henson and Tyler Zeller could step up inside in big moments. The big men reverted back to earlier seasons’ form, Henson settling for ill-advised jumpers and Zeller settling for no shots at all.
  • Austin Rivers Criticism: High profile recruits going to high profile schools generate high profile expectations. But less than ten games into the season, in my opinion, is a little early to say that Austin Rivers cannot fit into Duke’s system. The statements are coming from Duke fans, Duke haters, and journalists alike. It’s true that Rivers hasn’t seamlessly moved to the college game, but he’s been Duke’s best offensive threat so far this season. Watch the Duke – Ohio State game: the only two offensive factors for Duke were Rivers and Mason Plumlee. Rivers has a well-documented crossover that allows him to get to the rim at will. With a little better shot selection and the occasional pass to open teammates, he’ll be near the top of college basketball’s offensive players relatively soon.
  • Pre-Season Tournaments: We know Duke won the Maui Invitational for the fifth time, but how did other ACC schools fare in tournament play? Boston College took sixth at the 76 Classic (which, for the record has been a “Classic” since 2007) thanks to an overtime win over UC Riverside. Clemson has yet to take place in the Diamond Head Classic (est. 2009), but will take to Hawaii in late December with the possibility of playing a very talented Xavier squad. Florida State struggled at the Battle 4 Atlantis, getting beat by Harvard in the second round before losing a very close game against defending national champion Connecticut in the third place game. Georgia Tech had a mixed trip to the Charleston Classic (est. 2008), losing to St. Joseph’s and LSU with a win against VCU thrown in. Maryland struggled in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, getting blown out by likely NCAA Tournament teams Alabama and Iona. Miami will join Florida, Texas A&M, and FAU at the Orange Bowl Classic in mid-December. North Carolina came away with its first loss from the Las Vegas Invitational. NC State got some very valuable experience from the Ticketcity Legends Classic (est. 2007) losing to Vanderbilt in a close game but coming from behind to beat Texas. Virginia took fourth at Paradise Jam highlighted by a close (but bad) loss to TCU in the first round. Virginia Tech was competitive at the NIT Season Tip-Off, winning the third-place game over Oklahoma State after playing well in a loss to Syracuse. Finally, Wake Forest lost a very close game to Dayton, was blown out by Arizona State, and bounced back with a win over Texas Tech to take seventh at the Old Spice Classic (est. 2006).
  • Boston College’s Identity: Boston College isn’t good, but the Eagles might be better off if Matt Humphrey passed the torch to Patrick Heckmann. Regardless, the Eagles will probably struggle a lot this season, but Heckmann has proven to be very efficient offensively so far.

Seth Curry And Duke Got Undressed By The Buckeyes On Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Power Rankings

  1. North Carolina (6-1): The Tar Heels may have suffered their first loss, but they’re still the best team in the ACC. They got a very good win at home against Wisconsin on Wednesday night, and did it playing Wisconsin’s style. That’s good and bad as it means they succeeded playing a very uncomfortable game thanks to very good defense, especially from Dexter Strickland. However, it also means Wisconsin controlled the tempo. The good news is Kentucky is a very young team that likes to run. This plays right into North Carolina’s hands as it has much more experience running fast, but staying in control.
  2. Duke (7-1): The Blue Devils got absolutely handled at Ohio State on Tuesday, but they still have the best wins in the conference (at least number of quality wins). The worst news in the loss was Ryan Kelly’s disappearance on offense. He and Seth Curry absolutely have to have a positive impact on that end of the floor for Duke to live up to expectations this season. On a more positive note, Mason Plumlee looks like he’s made at least part of the leap people have been expecting since he arrived (still too many turnovers, but very solid otherwise). Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Morning Five: 11.25.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 25th, 2011

  1. Grantland: Shane Ryan’s post about Duke‘s developing guard play is very interesting to read knowing the result of the Maui championship game against Kansas. Ryan breaks down Duke’s evisceration of Michigan’s zone with screenshots (a trend that I am really starting to enjoy). Ryan looks at the blend of talent and Duke’s system, though he ignores the possibility of Tyler Thornton coming off the bench and hitting the biggest threes of his life… But in all seriousness, it’s amazing how much Mason Plumlee’s play in that game got written off by a prayer (and the Seth Curry travel before it). The story went from Mason Plumlee locking down Thomas Robinson the last eight minutes while sinking clutch free throws for Duke to a desperation heave, but that’s a different post for a different time.
  2. BC Interruption: The Eagles’ SBNation blog takes a look at the best player on a  young, bad Boston College team. His name is Patrick Heckmann. Possibly because he played at high-level competition in Germany, Heckmann seems like the most consistently aggressive player on the Eagles. Heckmann also has the advantage of size and solid athleticism. Heckmann is far from a finished product, but he’s definitely a little light in what could be a very long season on the hardwood in Chestnut Hill.
  3. Washington Times: Maryland‘s beatdown at the hands of the Iona Gaels pointed out a lot of flaws. Mark Turgeon is blaming himself for the inconsistency from his players. The bottom line is the Terrapins have a long way to go. Sean Mosley has picked up where he left off two years ago, but the rest of the team is struggling. But Turgeon clearly isn’t used to losing:

    It’s hard to be good. Right now, we’re taking the easy way out. We don’t run the defense because that’s hard. We don’t box out because that’s hard. We don’t execute our plays against pressure because that’s hard.

  4. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Doug Roberson checks in with coaches from around the state of Georgia, including Georgia Tech‘s Brian Gregory, to talk about who inspired them as children. Gregory’s inspiration came from an old high school counselor, who told Gregory, “If you work hard and are a good person then usually things work out pretty well.” It’s definitely interesting to see where coaches, whose job requires inspiring student athletes every day, derived their inspirations.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: Michael McAdoo‘s lawsuit against North Carolina and the NCAA was dropped this week, but the process is far from over. McAdoo’s lawyer is planning on filing an appeal next week. McAdoo was ruled permanently ineligible after the NCAA’s investigation of North Carolina’s infractions under Butch Davis because of academic fraud. McAdoo was signed by the Baltimore Ravens after being drafted in the NFL’s supplemental draft. The lawsuit is one of many against the NCAA currently that could mean major changes for the organization in the near future.
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ACC Preseason All-Conference Teams

Posted by mpatton on November 8th, 2011

Now that our individual team previews are done, it’s time to look at individual players. With only five all-ACC selections from last season returning there are plenty of open spots to fill, so here are our Preseason all-ACC Teams for the 2011-12 season.

2011-12 Preseason All-ACC Teams

Looking at our projections, North Carolina, Miami and Duke lead the way with eight, six and five selections, respectively. No surprise with Harrison Barnes checking in as the consensus ACC Player of the Year, or Austin Rivers as the ACC Rookie of the Year (though Kellen wants to keep an eye on Maryland’s Nick Faust for the ROY award).

My personal honorable mentions are Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, Maryland’s Sean Mosley and NC State’s Richard Howell. I’m especially surprised Mosley didn’t show up on any of the teams, but his middling campaign last season probably did him in. Green appears to be in the right place to take over for departing Hokies Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen, but he’s got a ways to go based on the Virginia Tech games I went to last season. Finally, Howell had a sneaky good season last year for the Wolfpack and could be a great frontcourt presence alongside CJ Leslie.

My biggest reach was putting Terrell Stoglin on the first team. He was a decent player last year (who averaged over 20 points per game pro-rated at 40 minutes), but he’ll really need to make some waves if he wants to crack the first team this season. Malcolm Grant and Kendall Marshall are the safer choices for that final guard spot. My reasoning is that Marshall will be hidden statistically behind Zeller and Barnes. In general, Roy Williams point guards are under-appreciated because they don’t put up sick numbers, but with Marshall the case is a little different. He’s a very polished player, but I see him as the perfect complimentary player. North Carolina wouldn’t be nearly as good as a team without him, but by himself he’s not spectacular. Thus, I voted him onto the second team in favor of Maryland’s ascendent sophomore.

On the second team Kellen and I differed on power forwards: he chose Mason Plumlee; I chose Travis McKie. Again for me the key was relative importance. Mason Plumlee may be more talented than McKie, but I’ll be shocked if he’s as important for Duke as McKie is for Wake Forest (and really I’m not sold that McKie isn’t more talented). Duke’s bigs are certainly going to be critical this year, but I think the mere fact that there are three of them (Mason, Miles and Ryan Kelly) will dilute each one’s share of the limelight. I did include Miles on my third team because reports from Durham laud him as Duke’s backbone.

However, both of our teams (mine especially) did a lot of projecting for this season. The only locks feel like Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Mike Scott (and it’s conceivable Zeller falls to the second team depending on his role). Player and coach turnover left the ACC relatively unknown this season, but Friday players start earning their spots.

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ACC Morning Five: 11.04.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 4th, 2011

  1. USA Today: Another year and another season-crippling injury for Seth Greenberg and the Hokies. Last year it was Dorenzo Hudson and JT Thompson. This year Thompson tore his other ACL and will miss his second straight season. You have to feel for Thompson, but Greenberg pointed out the silver lining: “Our main focus right now is his health and preparing him for his graduation this December. […] Now is not the time to discuss a sixth year.” Thompson’s injury is a big blow for Virginia Tech, where Thompson was expected to be a major leader and contributor this season. In 2009-10 he averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.6 RPG in just over 20 minutes a game.
  2. Miami Herald: Jim Larranaga got his first official (exhibition) win on the Miami sideline last night against Florida Southern, 88-78, but it wasn’t easy. The Hurricanes trailed by five at the half and by ten halfway through the second half. Garrius Adams caught fire late, aiding a late 28-6 run with three treys in two minutes. Malcolm Grant led the way for Miami with 26 points on a fantastic 8-12 shooting performance, but Durand Scott wasn’t far behind with 23 points and seven rebounds (that rebounding will be crucial while Reggie Johnson is out). The bad news was the Hurricanes finished with significantly more turnovers (17) than assists (10).
  3. United States Navy: The host of the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, the USS Carl Vinson, is getting ready for the Veterans’ Day game. Construction crews started building the court on Tuesday that is expected to seat 7,000 people. It should be finished by November 9 to allow both teams to practice on the new court the day before the game. In the case of inclement weather (quite unlikely in San Diego), the crew is also constructing a smaller court in the ship’s hangar bay though it has far less seating for spectators.
  4. Detroit Free Press: Duke target Mitch McGary has opted for John Beilein and Michigan over Duke and Florida. McGary will be the Wolverines’ first McDonalds All-American in ten years (the last was Daniel Horton in 2002). My guess is this means that Duke will really turn up the heat on Tony Parker, another incredibly talented class of 2012 power forward. It is starting to look like NC State may sport the best 2012 recruiting class in the conference.
  5. ACCSports.com: Ryan Davis caught up with new Maryland coach Mark Turgeon to talk about the upcoming season. It sounds like Nick Faust will be called on from day one, and Turgeon expects Sean Mosley to live up to the expectations people set for him last year. One interesting question was comparing this year’s Maryland team to last year’s Boston College team. I’d tend to agree with Turgeon that the teams are very different (namely, the Eagles were lights out from beyond the arc, while Maryland should make its money on defense), but I hadn’t thought about the other comparisons (very shallow benches, new coaches, and solid returners). Although I don’t think the comparison is apples to apples, I think it should be heartening for Terrapin fans that Boston College saw the success it did facing similar problems.
Finally, it is NC StateNorth Carolina week (in football)! For those readers not familiar with ACC football (I don’t blame you), this is the nationally-irrelevant Tobacco Road rivalry of the gridiron. The two coaches celebrated the occasion by swapping insults before the schools’ chancellors ended the feud by calling each other to apologize.
  • Everett Withers (UNC): “I think the kids in this state need to know, you know, the flagship school in this state. […] They need to know it academically. I think if you look at our graduation rates as opposed to our opponent’s this week graduation rates for academics or football, I think you’ll see a difference. I think if you look at the educational environment here, I think you’ll see a difference.”
  • Tom O’Brien (NC State): “As far as the flagship, here is a guy that’s on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis. If you take three things you can’t do in college football, you have an agent on your staff, you’re paying your players and you have academic fraud. I mean, that’s a triple play as far as the NCAA goes. […] Our guys go to school, they’re not given grades and they graduate […] It’s a little tougher here if you have to go to school and you’re expected to have a syllabus and go to class. I think our guys earn everything they get here. And certainly all our graduates earn everything they get at this university.”
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RTC Conference Primers: #4 – Atlantic Coast Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 3rd, 2011

Matt Patton of RTC’s ACC Microsite is the RTC correspondent for the ACC. You can find him on Twitter @rise_and_fire.

Reader’s Take I

The ACC looks like it has three tiers this year. The top: North Carolina, Duke and Florida State. The bottom: Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. And then there’s everyone else.

 

Top Storylines

  • Can North Carolina Win Its Third Ring in the Roy Williams Era?: By all counts, yes. And to this point I haven’t heard any “undefeated” nonsense from anywhere, which means people’s expectations aren’t totally out to lunch. There are several other very good teams this year. Last year’s Tar Heel team wasn’t unstoppable, even at the end of the season (they lost to a #4 seed, remember?); I don’t expect them to be unstoppable this year, either. But if you’re looking for the most complete team with the fewest unknowns, you won’t find it anywhere else in college basketball. My one peeve with the offseason coverage of this team is the idea that four of the five starters should be first team All-ACC (or even All-American). There are only so many possessions in a basketball game. Only so many players can be integral. Part of the intimidating nature of this team on paper is that no one player controls the team’s fate: On any given night, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller or John Henson are all candidates to blow up the scoreboard (though in Henson’s case, it’s usually keeping opponents off it). It’s the fact that the combination could be more than the sum of its parts that makes the Tar Heels a lock for preseason number one.

Another Season, Another Set of Huge Expectations in Chapel Hill

  • Will Florida State Challenge Tobacco Road And Make The ACC Interesting Again?: Yes. I was pretty low on Florida State for my summer update, but I’m currently very high on the Seminoles. Specifically, I think Bernard James is the best defender in the country (though John Henson is a significantly better rebounder), and Jeff Peterson will be able to find offense more effectively than Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen last season. Oh, and the Seminoles are also hungry after an ugly loss to VCU left them stranded in the Sweet Sixteen last year (and they then had to watch the Rams march on to the Final Four).
  • How Will This Year’s Batch Of New Coaches Fare?: I think Jim Larranaga will objectively perform the best, but I also think he has the most talent at his disposal. Against my better judgment, I’m warming up to this NC State team and Mark Gottfried’s leadership (at least for the first few years). As for Georgia Tech and Brian Gregory, yikes. There’s been a little recent buzz about the Yellow Jackets being better than people expect (which is a very low threshold), but I don’t see it. Gregory has an undermanned roster full of guys he didn’t recruit with nothing to speak of in the post, and he doesn’t have a dedicated home court. Not the combination for success. In College Park, Mark Turgeon should return Maryland to regular conference title contenders again once he reopens the pipeline to Washington, D.C., talent.
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ACC Team Previews: Maryland

Posted by mpatton on October 27th, 2011

Maryland was very unlucky last season. It ranked 330th out of 345 schools according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical “Luck” element, falling just in between ACC compatriots Clemson and Georgia Tech. However, the team’s flaws contributed as much to its close losses as anything else. First and foremost, Sean Mosley took a step back from a very promising sophomore season and became a virtual non-factor on offense. Terrell Stoglin‘s brilliant play masked Mosley’s absence for much of the season, but the lack of a consistent third option killed the Terrapins down the stretch. Additionally, Jordan Williams had an Achilles’ heel: poor free throw shooting. Williams was the rock of last year’s Maryland squad, but his inability to shoot foul shots well forced him to take on a reduced role at the end of games.

Terrell Stoglin and Jordan Williams Would've Made a Dynamic Duo at Maryland

Looking back at Maryland’s year is like reading The Little Engine That Could(n’t). Gary Williams‘ squad was competitive, only being blown out twice by a middling opponent (once by Miami and once by Virginia Tech). Those two bad losses, though, were balanced byonly two decent wins (vs. Clemson and Florida State). For whatever reason Maryland couldn’t break into that next tier last year.  The year was so frustrating that after hearing Jordan Williams was departing for the NBA Draft, Hall of Famer Gary Williams departed for the cool breezes of retirement. While inconsistency — especially on the recruiting trail — marked the last few years of his tenure, Williams-coached teams regularly flourished during ACC play in the early 2000s especially the 2002 National Championship team headlined by Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon. But the stresses of constantly having to reload from lost players and assistant coaches finally caught up to the head coach after Jordan Williams left his team with very few players and nothing to speak of in the front court. The good news is that the very capable Mark Turgeon was hired away from Texas A&M to take the helm in College Park. Read the rest of this entry »

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