Checking In On… the Atlantic 10

Posted by Joe Dzuback (@vbtnblog) on December 29th, 2015

Joe Dzuback (@vbtnblog) is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Last Week… and This Week

Conference teams played 12 games over the abbreviated week, going a total of 7-5. A winning percentage of only 58 percent continues the conference’s declining winning percentage this month, but Atlantic 10 teams have 12 more games through New Year’s Eve to rebuild their momentum. Four more games featuring Power Six opponents, two of which offer the signature-type of wins that can help a team’s postseason resume, are still to play — see the Five Games to Catch This Week section below. We then turn quickly to conference play over the weekend, with five games on Saturday and two more Sunday, two of which should have long-term conference race implications.

Jack Gibbs has paced what has been an impressive showing by the A-10's top tier guys this season. (USA TODAY Sports)

Jack Gibbs has paced what has been an impressive showing by the A-10’s top tier guys this season. (USA TODAY Sports)

The All Non-Conference (OOC) Teams

KenPom observed that “players do jump from being decoys to go-to guys in one season, and some even regress the other way. Those are the exceptions. By and large, a player’s role on his team in one season is a good indicator of his role the following season.” Non-conference play suggests that the following players are the engines that drive their team’s performances. The question is whether they can maintain that status through conference play. For those on the All-Freshman and All-Surprise Teams, the question on the eve of conference play is whether the roles and momentum they have established so far will continue.

Non-Conference First Team

It should not surprise anyone that three of the names on the First Team at the midpoint of the season are known commodities who were named to the preseason All-First Team, while the other two were named to the All-Third Team. Their roles as outstanding players on their respective teams have not changed much from last season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Balanced Offensive Attack Driving George Washington’s Success

Posted by Chris Stone on December 3rd, 2015

The George Washington non-conference revenge tour continued last night with the Colonials’ 72-64 victory over Seton Hall, as defeats to the Pirates along with Virginia and Penn State in the 2014-15 season still linger in head coach Mike Lonergan’s mind. “Last year we played Penn State, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Virginia all on the road, and I told the guys before the game, you know, we’ve got a chance to get them all back.” After being picked to finished fourth in the Atlantic 10 in the preseason, Lonergan’s club has stormed out of the gates. George Washington now sits at a healthy 7-1 with wins over power conference teams such as Tennessee and Seton Hall along with a major resume-building upset over Virginia.

Joe McDonald picked up George Washington's offense against Seton Hall. (GW Athletics/Mitchell Layton)

Joe McDonald picked up George Washington’s offense against Seton Hall. (GW Athletics/Mitchell Layton)

Although the Colonials put two players, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen, on the preseason all-Atlantic 10 second team, it’s been a balanced offensive attack that has driven their success. Coming into Wednesday’s contest, three players were averaging double figures — Garino, Larsen, and Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh. Garino is a lanky swingman who has shown an improved three-point shot, while Larsen is a bruising big man who does most of his work in the paint. Cavanaugh, though, is the team’s most versatile scoring option. At 6’9″, he spends most of his time operating down low with Larsen, but after connecting on two of his four three-point attempts against the Pirates, the junior is now also shooting 35 percent from behind the arc. His ability to space the floor is an important component of an offense that often operates late in the shot clock (GW ranks 280th in offensive possession length, according to KenPom) when isolations become routine.

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George Washington’s Huge Win Poised to Catapult Program Forward

Posted by Chris Stone on November 17th, 2015

It started before the ball had even been tipped last night at the Smith Center in Washington, DC. George Washington students rang out in chants proclaiming their opponent, Virginia, as “overrated.” It’s always weird when fans look to minimize an opponent rather than build them up to make their team look as strong as possible in victory, but that’s a discussion for another time. And certainly the Colonials’ coaches and players didn’t see it that way.

George Washington court storm

George Washington Students RTC After Their Team’s 73-68 Win over Virginia Monday night.

During the postgame press conference, senior Patricio Garino made it clear that, even though he believes that his team is on the level of a national power like Virginia, he has all of the respect in the world for the Cavaliers. The Colonials certainly looked it in their huge 73-68 victory, a win that already puts Mike Lonergan‘s squad in great position to earn an NCAA Tournament berth next March. Garino, a lanky 6’6″ forward who was successful in playing the four against the Cavaliers’ larger defenders, scored 18 points on the night. Junior Tyler Cavanaugh , also with 18 points, got the chance to prove he could play with the ACC’s elite after transferring out of the conference (Wake Forest) in July 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC M5: 10.22.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on October 22nd, 2013


  1. Backing the Pack: Is Virginia flying under the radar? Well, according to returning win shares, the Cavaliers are criminally underrated. The past two years, returning win shares has correctly picked the ACC champion while remaining mostly accurate throughout the standings with a couple of big exceptions (here’s looking at you, Virginia Tech). Win shares make Tony Bennett’s squad the team to beat in the ACC thanks to Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell returning. Duke still comes in second by a significant margin, if you were wondering.
  2. Syracuse Post-Standard: Donna Ditota checked in on Wake Forest’s Tyler Cavanaugh, Steve Donahue and Notre Dame (separately, of course). I can’t say it enough: Don’t overlook Boston College this year. The Eagles aren’t the most talented bunch in the ACC but they have boatloads of experience and could make a dramatic leap if they can avoid the injury and sickness bugs. Also of note is Ditota pointing out Mike Brey’s football-inspired strategy of redshirting most of his freshmen. However, this year Demetrius Thomas should see plenty of playing time as a true freshman. His minutes could represent a crack in Brey’s system.
  3. Duke Basketball Report: Barry Jacobs took a look at the most three-point reliant players in the ACC last season. Three of the top 11 players most in love with shots from beyond the arc ended up transferring away from the league. That leaves Lonnie Jackson, Patrick Heckmann (Boston College) and Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame) as the trio of returning starters who most rely on shooting from deep. This season you can almost certainly expect to add Duke’s Andre Dawkins to the list.
  4. AP (via Panama City News Herald): Today is a big day in Coral Gables. Miami (and the rest of the world) is set to find out the results of its appeal to the NCAA’s Committee of Infractions surrounding all the Nevin Shapiro-related allegations. If the NCAA has its long-term self-interest in mind, it will accept Miami’s self-imposed bowl bans and move on. If it wants to shed more light on the embarrassingly cavalier investigation of the Hurricanes that ended in the firing of many compliance employees — the NCAA will bring the hammer down. Donna Shalala, Miami’s president, has never come across as frightened of or intimidated by the organization, so I suspect a harsh punishment would be appealed in the judicial system shortly thereafter.
  5. Stat geeks rejoice! Ken Pomeroy has changed his algorithms to discount blowouts. While the new results don’t make for huge swings in his ordering, they did help knock Wisconsin and Belmont down a peg or two.
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ACC M5: 02.22.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 22nd, 2013


  1. RDU Blog: The Raleigh-Durham International Airport is in the process of “modernizing” Terminal 1. What is the first new restaurant listed? ACC American Cafe. The ACC is partnering with HMS Host to bring you “a range of farm-to-market dishes along with entrees inspired by the home cities of ACC teams.” So take that Big Ten! You may have a network, but the ACC has an overpriced restaurant in an airport! Really though, it’s hard to frame this story. What exactly is the ACC going for? Alternate revenue streams, visibility, a spark of creativity? There are some questions without an answer.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: Despite his college success, Sean May never really fit into the NBA, but now he and fellow Tar Heel teammate Jawad Williams are getting the cure for their professional basketball itch in France. The two are making good money (the best in their league) and get to be centerpieces — like in college — rather than afterthoughts in the NBA. They seem to be enjoying each other’s company and the team regardless of replacing chartered flights with cramped bus rides. I’m really not doing the article enough credit.
  3. Syracuse Post-Gazette: Syracuse may not be in the ACC just yet, but Tyler Cavanaugh did some serious trolling on the Orange’s indirect behalf after his trip to Boston College. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed. Describing the student section, he said, “I’d say maybe 20 [students]. It was kinda dead. There was really no energy in the arena. As far as the atmosphere, this was the worst place we’d seen.” Call it the bitterness of a close game lost or some childhood biases resurfacing, but Cavanaugh gets feisty for his post card.
  4. BC Interruption: Speaking of Boston College, the Eagles actually are starting to look like they’re in decent shape for the future, after Steve Donahue found a diamond in the rough in Olivier Hanlan (to go with fellow DITR Dennis Clifford). Hanlan is one of the most exciting players to watch in the conference. There still aren’t enough pieces surrounding him, but he seems to improve with each game instead of running into the wall. If the training staff in Chestnut Hill can find a way to manage Clifford’s injury, Boston College could find itself middle of the pack.
  5. Richmond Daily Progress: I’m not sure why Jerry Ratliffe thinks CJ Leslie will be in the conversation for first-team All-ACC so far, much less conference Player of the Year. Leslie has been his normal, mercurial self all season. He’s balanced his excellence with a decent dose of mediocrity (or disappearance) like many worried he would. Erick Green, Mason Plumlee and Shane Larkin are virtual locks for the first team with Kenny Kadji and Michael Snaer (on clutchness alone) nipping at their heels. There’s still plenty of basketball to be played though, so don’t count anyone out just yet.
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ACC M5: 01.21.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 21st, 2013


  1. Syracuse Post-Gazette: This is the second part of a cool series. Basically the Syracuse Post-Gazette is previewing ACC road sites through the eyes of Wake Forest freshman Tyler Cavanaugh, who was a Syracuse high school star. His two words to describe Clemson: “orange” and “old.” That probably doesn’t do Littlejohn Coliseum enough justice for getting loud (which it is even when it’s below capacity), but Cavanaugh also mentions lesser-known tidbits like the visitors’ locker room is on the third floor. It’s funny, though, that despite his Syracuse upbringing he didn’t fire any shots at the town.
  2. Washington Post: Maryland is lucky it didn’t lose to North Carolina by 30 points over the weekend. The Terrapins played abysmally in the first half, turning the ball over a remarkable 14 times. The game came on the heels of a season-saving home win against NC State, but unfortunately, that win may say as much about NC State and the ACC as it does Maryland. Mark Turgeon’s team looks like a tough defensive group that gives a strong effort (they did fight back to only lose by 10 at the buzzer), but will really struggle to find much offensive rhythm away from home. That simply won’t cut it on Selection Sunday.
  3. Charlottesville Daily Progress: Speaking of teams with wildly varying performances, Virginia crushed Florida State at home this weekend. The win makes sense in terms of the Cavaliers’ ACC play at home, but does little to separate them from the middle of the pack in the ACC. Right now Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and even NC State look like teams you don’t want to face on their respective home courts, but look totally different on the road. The key for a team to join Miami and Duke at the top of the standings will be that it needs to establish some consistency on the road.
  4. Burlington Times News: Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo showed up in a big way against Maryland. Bullock finally looked like he realized he was the best player on the Tar Heels, nearly matching his career high in the first half. McAdoo picked up the pace in the second half, keeping Maryland at arm’s length while UNC held onto its lead. This was also North Carolina’s first win when its offense didn’t step up to the plate (outside of a dominant first couple of minutes). Unlike most Roy Williams teams, this one has to learn how to win ugly and on the defensive end instead of just running opponents to death.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: New Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski has got plans for the Yellow Jackets. Ken Suguira laid out Bobinski’s plan in nine simple points. The most interesting ones were his stress on selling tickets and his history of increasing gifts. The first may seem obvious at first, but if you have watched a Georgia Tech basketball game the last couple of years (and even when Paul Hewitt fielded competitive teams), there’s a lot of room for improvement there. The two should run hand-in-hand, and Bobinski’s history in finance and development should serve him well. Not to use a horrible pun, but if he can bring the buzz back to Georgia Tech athletics, there’s an incredibly fertile basketball recruiting background in his backyard for the program to become very good very quickly.
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ACC Team Previews: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Posted by ARowe on October 22nd, 2012

Throughout the preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 teams. Today’s victim: the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest basketball took a step back last season under third-year coach Jeff Bzdelik. While Wake was on top of the basketball world in January 2009 (undefeated and ranked #1), the Demon Deacons’ program has fallen on hard times ever since. From October 2010 to April 2012, Tony Woods, J.T. Terrell, Ty Walker, Ari Stewart, Carson Desrosiers, Anthony Fields, Tony Chennault and Melvin Tabb all left the school, either by choice or by force. As a result, the Deacs have won only five ACC games since March 7, 2010. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is a phrase that comes to mind.

This is Very Much a Make or Break Season For Jeff Bzdelik (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Bzdelik certainly has his detractors. And his record since arriving in Winston-Salem speaks for itself. When a program has as rich of a basketball history (at least over the last three decades) as Wake Forest does, losing records and mass exoduses of players over a two-year period will not be tolerated very long at all. Although athletic director Ron Wellman has put his support thoroughly behind Bzdelik at some point he has to look out for his own job. Fortunately for both of them, help is on the way.


“Baby Deacs” is the name of the freshman class entering Winston-Salem this year to try and turn this program around. Madison Jones, Tyler Cavanaugh, Aaron Rountree, Codi Miller-McIntyre, Arnaud William Adala Moto, Devin Thomas and Andre Washington make up the seven freshmen expected to get Wake Forest basketball back to their winning ways. The class was ranked #21 in the country by ESPN and #23 by

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ACC M5: 10.22.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 22nd, 2012

  1. Tallahassee Democrat: Veterans Ian Miller and Michael Snaer are really excited about the freshmen joining the team this season. Snaer specifically lauded Aaron Thomas, Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon as potential stars on this year’s team. Thomas has Snaer’s “can’t stop me” attitude which should make him an elite scorer, but Bookert may hold the key for Florida State making the next step with his ball-handling skills. The biggest issue with the last few Seminole teams has been offense, and most of the team’s offensive woes come from turning the ball over too frequently. If Bookert can run the offense and reduce the team’s turnover rate, look out.
  2. Associated Press (via Winston-Salem Journal): Apparently Reggie Johnson‘s dieting has started to work. The Miami big man started the season two years ago at a whopping 330 pounds and reportedly is now down to 290. He’s still got a ways to go, but believes his diet is helping. If he can play superstar minutes and can run the floor better, Johnson will make a run at becoming the ACC’s best big man. He’s already probably the league’s most polished returning half-court post player, but his weight keeps him from being elite. That said, take Johnson’s words with a grain of salt. It’s a little weird he pointed to his weight two years ago instead of last year (albeit when he was rehabbing a knee injury).
  3. Greensboro News-Record: David Morrison went to Duke’s Operation Basketball and got some interesting notes. First, Coach K is looking for major increases in offensive production from Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry this year. Krzyzewski wants this team’s offense to be less balanced, though Rasheed Sulaimon will definitely be an offensive factor if he lives up to his hype. Morrison also talked with Plumlee about Krzyzewski’s reaction to the Blue Devils’ less-that-stellar finish last season.
  4. Blogger So Dear: Most schools taking international trips already finished them, but Jeff Bzdelik and his young Demon Deacon team headed to Canada and won two exhibition games against Brock University and Ryerson University, 84-79 and 88-80, respectively. CJ Harris and Tyler Cavanaugh led the way for Wake Forest against Brock, scoring 16 points apiece in the win (Harris also added five assists and Cavanaugh grabbed nine rebounds). Saturday Travis McKie starred, finishing with 26 points. Freshmen Cody Miller-McIntyre and Cavanaugh also scored in double figures.
  5. Snaer isn’t the only one talking some trash this offseason. Dexter Strickland isn’t too worried about NC State being picked first in the ACC.

    “They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year […] They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can’t put them in the mix.”

    He also felt pretty strongly about the NCAA Tournament outcome if North Carolina hadn’t been hampered by injuries.

    “I’ll be honest. If nobody got hurt, you might as well have given us the trophy. Nobody had the ability to stop us.”

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