ACC Noon 5: 12.30.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 30th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. CBS Sports: Terrific piece from Gregg Doyel on late Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser, leading up to the annual Xavier – Wake Forest game that is played in his honor. Doyel does a good job covering Prosser’s work off the court, but what will always stick with me is how fun his teams were on the court. They never played any real defense, but that only made them more exciting. Hopefully one day that roaring motorcycle won’t ring hollow off all the empty seats in the Joel because that’s the only tribute to Prosser that would feel fitting.
  2. Yahoo! Sports: If not for Jabari Parker, Tyler Ennis would be a lock for ACC Freshman of the Year. Ennis is in the top 15 of the national assist to turnover ratio statistic at 4.7 as well as steal percentage. On top of that, Ennis has shown he can step up and score when needed, dropping more than 20 points in games against Cal, St. John’s and Villanova. The key for ACC teams looking to unseat the Orange will be finding a way to disrupt what is currently the nation’s most efficient offense.
  3. The Diamondback: Seth Allen is back for Maryland and played an amazing 21 minutes in the Terrapins’ win over a pesky Tulsa team. Allen didn’t light up the assist charts, but he did dish three while only recording a single turnover. Allen’s return should help Mark Turgeon with some depth at point guard and take a little of the pressure off Roddy Peters’ shoulders. That said, Maryland will be at its best as Peters comes into his own; he’s a much better distributor than Allen or anyone else on the team. But it’s nice to have a more experienced player to help in certain situations.
  4. Bleacher Report: This Jason King article about Roy Williams made the rounds a lot over the holidays. Both Williams’ son and wife are actively pushing for him to retire. It’s also clear that this season has been tougher than usual on the head coach. However, the most interesting part of the article for me was the further emphasis on Williams’ disconnect with the North Carolina athletic administration. Great work by King catching up with former mentor Buddy Baldwin and friend Ted Seagroves to mine this information.
  5. Burlington Times-News: NC State lost a brutal game at home against Missouri over the weekend. The Wolfpack were up big at the half before letting the Tigers back in the game over the course of the second half. At the end of the day, Mark Gottfried’s team lost out on a chance to get a nice win against a Top 25 team. For more detailed (read: GIF-filled) information on this one, check out the Weather Moose’s recap.

EXTRA: Hendersonville Lightening does a good job rounding up some anecdotes about Dean Smith.

EXTRA EXTRA: The ACC planned to challenge the SEC’s football dominance. What went wrong?

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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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ACC M5: 03.26.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 26th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: Solid remembrance of Dean Smith here. The thing that’s so sad about Smith’s mental deterioration over the past few years is just how smart he was. He reportedly had an almost photographic memory (the same sort of memory successful politicians call upon to remember the countless people they meet); he was first and foremost an innovator (touching everything from “four corners” to tempo-free stats — though if you run four corners often, it makes sense you’d look past per game statistics); and he apparently was an avid reader of philosophy. While John Drescher’s piece was about Smith, he sets it up in contrast with Jeff Bzdelik’s recent quote: “I don’t read the newspapers or the Internet, and that’s the truth.” 
  2. SBNation: One thing that stands out about North Carolina is the “family” concept. You hear that word thrown around a lot in sports just because of the massive amount of time players spend together. But there is a closeness to North Carolina’s graduates that you don’t see at a lot of other places. Maybe it’s just the fact many of them are good enough to continue playing professionally, but listening to Kendall Marshall talk about it, there’s definitely a special bond there. Interestingly, the other school where I hear “family” thrown around frequently is Kansas (whose unofficial team motto, which is inked in the middle of Travis Releford’s chest, was Family Over Everything a couple of years ago).
  3. FSUnews.com: Michael Snaer is a living legend at Florida State. This is a tremendous article on his tough senior season. It was a season that really signifies how dedicated to the Florida State program Snaer was. Sure the Seminoles didn’t get to cut down the nets again this year, but he pushed a group of very young players to get better. In the process, Snaer probably learned more about his leadership than all three previous seasons combined. He was the go-to guy and backcourt defensive stopper his junior year, but that team didn’t need him to carry it — it wasn’t riddled by injury or loaded with youth. This year was his test. We won’t know until we see the next few years unfold, but it looks like Snaer has made a significant culture change within the Seminole program. That should mean something going forward.
  4. ACC Sports Journal: Barry Jacobs does a great job recounting NC State‘s “missed opportunity” this season. The Wolfpack went from preseason ACC champions to right where they finished last season. Part of this was due to oversight from the media, who expected the Wolfpack to pick up right where they left off last season. But anyone who watched NC State against Duke (at home) or the woodshed beating of Virginia in the ACC Tournament had to wonder: “What if this team played with that kind of intensity every night?” More representative were the incredible highs and lows throughout games (see the Wolfpack almost beating the brakes off North Carolina before letting the Tar Heels come back, or falling behind 18 to Temple before cutting the deficit to a single possession in the last few minutes). The consistency was never there this season.
  5. Blogger So Dear: This ode to Florida Gulf Coast was only missing the acknowledgement of why the Eagles’ run resonates so strongly with Wake Forest fans (or at least my theory). It’s not because Demon Deacon fans dream of being that Cinderella team (though they may). It’s because the loose basketball opined for reaches back to the run-and-gun Wake Forest days under Skip Prosser. Don’t let that take away from Prosser’s ability to coach: he was an offensive genius. But his system had similar space for improvisation. And it was fun to watch.

Reasons to pull for Miami:

  1. Julian Gamble only photobombs after wins.
  2. More Jim Larranaga dancing?
Julian Gamble photobombs Shane Larkin's interview. (gif: The Big Lead)

Julian Gamble photobombs Shane Larkin’s interview. (gif: The Big Lead)

larranaga-dance

Jim Larranaga goes straight from a boxing impression into a jig. (gif: College Basketball Talk)

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ACC M5: 03.04.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 4th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  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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ACC M5: 01.02.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 2nd, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Tallahassee Democrat: Coming into this season we knew experience might be an issue for Florida State. But very few people saw Ian Miller’s foot injury coming, so nobody understood what a large part the freshmen would play. Montay Brandon, Aaron Thomas and Devon Bookert  are still figuring things out, but they’ll make the Seminoles a force come conference play. It will be interesting to watch their progression, as Leonard Hamilton has rarely showcased freshmen in his system.
  2. Winston-Salem Journal: Skip Prosser may not have been able to coach defense, but he was one of the most beloved coaches in college basketball. His style reflected his personality: flashy and likable. Walt Corbean, now an assistant at Wake Forest and someone who once played for Prosser, best described it: “He held me to that same standard. And I think that’s always stood out in my mind, that he treated us as men, and it wasn’t about what you were bringing to the team, but that you were a part of his program.”
  3. Durham Herald Sun: Compared with older brother Stephen Curry and father Dell Curry, Seth Curry may seem average or even a bit of a bust. But he’s having an incredible season so far this year for Duke. He and Virginia Tech’s Erick Green are duking it out to be the best guard in the ACC (though Michael Snaer will probably have something to say about that before March). In honor of his play, Duke recently named Curry the third captain of the team (along with Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly).
  4. ESPN: In honor of future ACC legend Jim Boeheim reaching 900 wins, Jeremy Lundblad took a look at the other coaches with a chance to reach the mark in their careers. I only have a couple more suggestions: Brad Stevens should be higher on potential alone (he’s only36!) and Bill Self should be number one. Bob Huggins has a chance at reaching 900 victories, but he’s an old 59. Roy Williams’ recent health scare may keep him from coaching until he’s 70. Regardless, it’s a fun conversation starter.
  5. KenPom: Ken Pomeroy simulated every conference’s season 10,000 times and reported the winners. The ACC was the second least suspenseful race with Duke winning the league 8,797 times to Virginia’s 476 times. That said, Pomeroy’s system’s fatal flaw is overrating teams like Virginia (whose slow tempo leads to much larger per possession efficiency margins). Most interestingly, North Carolina only won the league 143 times (less than 1.5%) thanks to its tough conference schedule, where it has to play the top seven ACC teams twice and the bottom four only once.
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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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Reviewing ACC Basketball Graduation Rates

Posted by KCarpenter on October 26th, 2011

To be honest, on average, the graduation rates for men’s college basketball players have  increased everywhere. To be completely honest, the graduation rates for student-athletes as a whole have improved. Still, let’s take a minute and appreciate how this trend holds up in the Atlantic Coast Conference: All in all, basketball players are graduating at better rates that they once did in the ACC, and at a rate that’s better than the national average for men’s college basketball players. So, that’s something.

But is it the whole story? No, but since the NCAA loves nothing if not thorough documentation, we can get at least get a clearer view of the story. The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is a modified version of a rolling measure called the Federal Graduation Rate (FGR). The Federal Graduation Rate for a given year is the percentage of an incoming freshmen class that graduates at that institution within six years of entry, averaged with the three classes that preceded it. The FGR does not count any player who transferred to another university and graduated or otherwise left the university. The NCAA’s measure, GSR, tries to account for the fact that lots of athletes transfer to other universities, and, at least in a few sports, enter the professional leagues. So, in short, the GSR is in some ways, an inflated version of the Federal Graduation Rate, where an athlete can get counted as “graduated” as long as they leave the university in good academic standing. It almost makes sense, but since it’s the NCAA’s preferred metric, we’ll roll with it.  (ed. note: see our previous article this morning for Matt’s take on the value of graduation rates to the NCAA)

Now, because of the six year window that both rates use to count graduation, the numbers that were released this year deal with the players who entered a given university between 2001-02 and 2004-05.  So, while these numbers can give a good indicator in the general direction a program is heading, the data isn’t particularly timely.  Still, looking at the past and looking at how the data is trending can give a useful glimpse into the present.

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Morning Five: 09.14.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 14th, 2011

  1. The NCAA has been getting a lot of criticism lately. Ok, they always get a lot of criticism. Despite what some people thinks sometimes the NCAA gets things right. The case of Lionel Gomis is one example of that. Gomis, who is starting his freshman year at Siena, grew up in Senegal moving from house to house after his mother died when he was 14 and unable to go to school for two years due to financial hardship before he was brought to the US as sports development program enrolling in a school in the United States. Gomis was able to overcome his rough beginnings and receive a scholarship at Siena. However, a NCAA rule that was recently adopted that stated a student-athlete had to complete his or her core curriculum in a five-year period.  Due to the two years that Gomis was not in school in Senegal he failed to meet these requirements so the NCAA said that he would have his eligibility reduced by three years (two years for the time he was not in school in Senegal and one year when he came to the United States and had to be reclassified due to his limited English proficiency). If the decision was upheld, Gomis would have only been able to play one year of college basketball. However, the NCAA ruled yesterday that Gomis would get two years of eligibility back for the time he missed in Senegal although they were sticking with their earlier ruling regarding his reclassification so as of right now he would not be eligible to play until next season. Siena is appealing that part of the ruling, but it looks like the NCAA may have gotten one right (at least partially)
  2. Last week, Billy Donovan welcomed Erik Murphy back to the Florida basketball team without having to miss any playing time after his involvement in an incident in April where he was arrested with two others (Cody Larson and team manager Josh Adel) for breaking into a car outside a bar after getting into an argument with staff about a lost wallet. Larson’s status is a little less certain as he was previously arrested for sharing hydrocodone pills (his account of the story). Larson appears to have gotten a bit of good news as he has avoided any jail time for now after accepting a plea agreement of 200 hours of community service, submitting to a substance abuse evaluation and potential treatment, paying the victim $240 and writing him a letter of apology, paying $200 for costs related to the case, serving one year of supervised probation, and not consuming any alcohol or other controlled substances during that year. The next step is whether or not the agreement will affect his previous case in South Dakota. If a court there decides that it does, Larson may face additional penalties including potential jail time as a condition of his suspended sentence in his home state. Neither UF nor Donovan have released a statement on Larson yet.
  3. Yesterday, we mentioned that the proposal to name the court after Gary Williams at the Comcast Center was facing significant resistance. It looks like it wasn’t that significant as Maryland announced yesterday that it was going to name the court after Williams. We all know what Williams has accomplished and his resume at Maryland stacks up well with any ACC coach of recent vintage outside of Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, and Roy Williams. Even though naming the court after Williams will cost the school the potential revenue for naming rights for the court it does open up a myriad of advertising opportunities for antiperspirant deodorant.
  4. Normally, the hiring of a Division II coach without a major track record or a history of scandal wouldn’t merit an inclusion in our exclusive Morning Five. However, when the coach is Mark Prosser, the son of the late Skip Prosser, it qualifies. Yesterday, Prosser was named head coach of Brevard College after working as an assistant at Wofford since 2008. For Prosser, who had spent five years as an assistant at Bucknell before going to Wofford, this will be his first college head coaching position. Prosser has a tough task ahead of him as Brevard went 13-14 last year and only his predecessor, Mike Jones, had spent more than four seasons as a head coach at the school.
  5. USC guard Jio Fontan underwent ACL surgery yesterday at a Los Angeles orthopedic center that deemed “successful” although we are not that certain about a claim this early well before many complications can occur. For his part, Fontan appeared upbeat heading into surgery and looking forward to rehab as he sent this tweet prior to his surgery and apparently responding to well-wishers after his surgery via his Twitter account. We wish Fontan the best in his rehab and hope to finally see him playing in a Trojan uniform in the near future.
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Morning Five: 01.07.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 7th, 2010

  1. The inaugural Skip Prosser Classic was a great idea and although emotionally draining, a great game too.  Mike DeCourcy reflects on Sunday night’s Wake Forest-Xavier tilt.
  2. This is wonderful and all regarding the success of Eric Reveno at Portland, but do you get the sense that this article should have been written a month ago (you know, after the nice run in the 76 Classic and before the Pilots lost games to Portland State, Idaho and Nevada)?
  3. Seth Davis’ mailbag includes even more stock reports, including those of Pitt, Vandy and much discussion of some of the others discussed earlier this week.  Great banter, as always.
  4. Hoops historians, do you know who Travis Grant is?  He scored over 4,000 points and won three national championships at Kentucky State, but he isn’t in any Hall of Fame at any level of the sport (actually, he is in one HOF as of last two months ago).   Fanhouse has a good read on the player nicknamed the “Machine Gun.
  5. Gary Parrish is doing a weekly article counting down the top ten NCAA Tournament games of the last decade.  We remember this tenth choice very well.  Let’s just say that the Ron Lewis three at the end of regulation was a dagger through our wallet that we felt for at least a month after that fateful shot.  Which game will be #1?  Arizona-Illinois?  Kansas-Memphis?  West Virginia-Louisville?  Arizona-Gonzaga?  We could go on and on…
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Boom Goes the Dynamite: NCAA Tournament Day Two

Posted by nvr1983 on March 19th, 2009

dynamiteWe’d like to apologize for our coverage yesterday. We had some technical/communication issues regarding the post yesterday, but I’ll be back covering the games today so everything should be back to normal. Here’s a quick rundown of the games we’ll be covering today:

Early Games

  • 12:15 PM: #14 Stephen F. Austin vs. #3 Syracuse
  • 12:25 PM: #9 Tennessee vs. #8 Oklahoma State
  • 12:30 PM: #11 Utah State vs. #6 Marquette
  • 12:30 PM: #14 North Dakota State vs. #3 Kansas

Afternoon Games

  • 2:45 PM: #11 Temple vs. #6 Arizona State
  • 2:55 PM: #16 East Tennessee State vs. #1 Pittsburgh
  • 3:00 PM: #14 Cornell vs. #3 Missouri
  • 3:00 PM: #11 Dayton vs. #6 West Virginia

Evening Games

  • 7:10 PM: #16 Morehead State vs. #1 Louisville
  • 7:10 PM: #12 Arizona vs. #5 Utah
  • 7:20 PM: #10 USC vs. #7 Boston College
  • 7:25 PM: #13 Portland State vs. #4 Xavier

Late Night Games

  • 9:40 PM: #9 Siena vs. #8 Ohio State
  • 9:40 PM: #13 Cleveland State vs. #4 Wake Forest
  • 9:50 PM: #15 Robert Morris vs. #2 Michigan State
  • 9:55 PM: #12 Wisconsin vs. #5 Florida State

Quite frankly, today’s slate looks a lot more interesting than what was on yesterday. There are 3 games in each of the 4 groups that seem like they will be entertaining except for the afternoon set where only the 6/11 match-ups really catch my eyes. Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions on any of these games or the ones from yesterday in the comment section. I’ll be back around noon to cover the day’s action.

12:15 PM: Ok. We’re about to get underway. I was a little delayed by the fact that the bus to RTC East decided to pick up 3 people in wheelchairs, which slowed down my trip significantly (had to get them in/out during 6 stops). Is anybody rooting for Stephen F. Austin just because they can’t stand Eric Devendorf?

12:20 PM: “The best look the Lumberjacks have had so far”? That was only their 2nd possession of the game. The crows is awful in Miami. I know its early, but there is nobody there. I have to say the NCAA did a pretty poor job with their pod placement. I’ll have to double check, but Miami is probably the worst pod location in terms of distance from the participating schools (and the fact that they don’t care about sports in Miami).

12:30 PM: Rough start for Stephen F. Austin in Miami. Already down 10-2. Hopefully they can keep it close although this was probably the game that was the most likely to be a blowout in this group.

12:35 PM: Did anybody pick upsets in this group of games? I have North Dakota State and Utah State.

12:40 PM: Good game in Dayton (Ok State 14, Tennessee 13 with 12:20 left in the first half). In Boise, Lazar Hayward is up 7-5 on Utah State.

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01.21.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on January 21st, 2009

We have a pretty nice set of links for you today.

  • Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel of the New York Times with a great piece about the influence of Skip Prosser on the current Wake Forest team. Many people don’t realize that Prosser was actually the architect of this team as he recruited all of the current players. However, a great deal of credit has to go to Dino Gaudio for keeping the team together after Prosser’s death in 2007. I’m guessing this will become a bigger story if Wake Forest can stay near the top of the polls late into the season.
  • We have touched on the APR issue before, but now it looks like the NCAA is looking at extending APR ratings to include coaches. I am not sure if this is necessary since coaches rarely switch schools over short periods of time and I have a feeling the methodology will be questioned on how a student-athlete’s academic performance at a school will affect a coach’s APR after the coach has left that school.
  • Arkansas freshman forward Brandon Moore has been suspended indefinitely on DUI charges. I’m not naive enough to believe that underage college students won’t drink, but getting a DUI while being underage. . .
  • Another story out of the SEC as Alabama’s Ronald Steele has decided to forgo the remainder of his senior season citing ongoing injury issues. It is a sad end to what was a promising career. I still remember some of the hype coming out of the South about this explosive guard. We wish Ronald the best and hope he at least got a good education at Alabama.
  • Pete Thamel with an interesting piece on Arinze Onuaku, who will likely be the key to Syracuse’s chances of making a run deep into the tournament in March.
  • An interesting account of Bill Self‘s recent interaction with John Wall, the #1 recruit in the nation. I’m amazed that Self could be this reckless, but to be honest this seems like a rather minor infraction compared to other stuff that goes on.
  • Seth Davis with his take on NCAA’s policy regarding the length of time a player has to enter the NBA Draft and come back to college.
  • A depressing article about former West Virginia star Kevin Pittsnoggle. I’m sure there are several NBA teams who could use a big man who can shoot.
  • Vegas Watch with a mid-season look at the best odds for his top 10 title contenders and the odds he would take them at. Although it is not as exact (calculating the likelihood they would win each round based on their expected seed) as some of his other work, it is still an interesting read.
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Holy Schmidt! St. Bonnie is on the Rise.

Posted by rtmsf on January 9th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC Conferences.  He enjoys spending evenings tooling around The Bronx.

BRONX, NY – They have some of the most passionate fans around but there hasn’t been much to cheer about in recent years. Now, the St.Bonaventure faithful are excited  and as enthused as ever. Wednesday night’s 78-65 win over Fordham at Rose Hill put the Bonnies at 10-4 for the season. It was their third straight road victory and started their Atlantic Ten season with a W. It’s been seven years since the Bonnies last reached double digits in wins.

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The reversal in fortunes has been the work of Mark Schmidt. He arrived last year after getting Robert Morris on track. The going was rough (8 wins) but the latter part of the campaign saw signs of life, like a twenty point win at St.Louis. 

On Wednesday evening the Bonnies had five players in double figures. Arguably their most impressive player has been 6-9 Andrew Nicholson, a virtual recruiting steal out of Canada. Nicholson had a nice 13 point 9 rebound effort in 23 foul troubled minutes. Still, this team is a work in progress. The Bonnies shot 67% (30 of 45) from the line and committed 19 turnovers. The Rams trimmed a 17 point deficit with 6 minutes to a two possession game in the stretch before Bona regrouped. “We handled their press like an elementary school team,” Schmidt said afterward. “It wasn’t pretty and I don’t’ think we will send the tape to the hall of fame but it’s a win.”

The second year Bona mentor is tough yet a player’s coach. He is a genuine ‘people person’ whom the Olean and Bona community have warmed up to. Schmidt learned a great deal of Xs and Os and personal skills from one of the best and classiest, the late Skip Prosser. Schmidt assisted Prosser at Xavier and to this day remembers the night Xavier was upset by the Bonnies during Prosser’s tenure. “I never heard a place as loud in my life,” Schmidt said of the Reilly Center. “This (Bonaventure) place is unique,” Schmidt said after the Fordham contest. “There is passion and a tradition we are trying to bring back.” There are those who say he has brought it back already. And largely due to his passion.

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