Maryland’s Last ACC Tournament Ends With a Whimper

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 13th, 2014

ACC Microsite writers Matt Patton and Brad Jenkins will be reporting live from Greensboro at the 2014 ACC Tournament throughout the week.

I’m going to miss Maryland, especially the rivalries with UNC and Duke. I think it’s a good move for them, the ACC is about to get too tough for them in basketball and football.” – Longtime North Carolina fan and ACC Tournament attendee Kevin Armwood.

And so it is over. After 61 years in the league, Maryland has played its final ACC Tournament game. The end came suddenly on a Boris Bojanovsky dunk with less than a second to play, lifting ninth-seeded Florida State over the eighth-seeded Terrapins on Thursday afternoon, 67-65. Maryland put up a game effort, coming back from an 11-point second half deficit to tie the game at 63 with under two minutes to play. But just like so many times during this season, the Terrapins once again couldn’t close the deal. The end came so swiftly that the rest of the ACC fans in the building didn’t have a chance to taunt the Maryland group on their way out of the building (and the conference).

Maryland Fans React to Loss in Final ACC Tournament for the Terrapins. (Photo: Brad Jenkins/RTC)

Maryland Fans React to Loss in Final ACC Tournament for the Terrapins.
(Photo: Brad Jenkins/RTC)

Certainly Terrapins fans have some mixed emotions regarding the school’s move to the Big Ten next year. There has always been the feeling among Maryland faithful that the ACC Tournament was an uphill battle for their school, particularly when it was held in the state of North Carolina (as it always seemed to be). So it’s fitting that Maryland’s last go-round in the grand-daddy of conference tourneys took place in Greensboro. After today’s loss, Maryland finishes its ACC tenure with a slightly lower winning percentage in ACC Tournament play (45.2%) than in its ACC regular season games (50.7%). Perhaps ironically, or perhaps just an artifact of sample size, the Terrapins have a better all-time tournament record in Greensboro (26-23) than in the four seasons when the event took place in the Washington, D.C., area (3-4). All three of Maryland’s ACC Championships were won in the Tar Heel State, with two of those net-cutting ceremonies taking place in Greensboro, the last in 2004 when Gary Williams led the Terps past arch-nemesis Duke. Of course, the most famous Maryland ACC Tournament moment came in the 1974 championship game overtime loss to N.C. State that kept the Terrapins out of the NCAA Tournament despite ranking in the top five of the polls all season long.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

End of an Era: Maryland’s Last Trip Down Tobacco Road Brings Back Old Memories

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 18th, 2014

Saturday night’s Maryland loss at Duke closes a historic chapter in ACC basketball history. It marks the Terrapins’ last visit as an ACC member to the Triangle area, long considered the heart of the conference (just ask Gary Williams). That game, a two-point loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium, seems like an appropriate last act in a long-running drama that has been playing since the formation of the ACC in 1953. Duke’s victory had many of the same elements that these games have had for years — specifically, a hard-fought, passionate contest with questionable officiating that ultimately resulted in another frustrating loss for the Terps.

The 1974 Maryland-N.C. State ACC Championship Game Sparked Changes to NCAA Tourney. (photo courtesy of CNN Sports Illustrated and Sports Then and Now)

The 1974 Maryland-N.C. State ACC Championship Game Sparked Changes To The NCAA Tourney.
(CNN/Sports Illustrated)

Maryland fans have long expressed the feeling that their team just couldn’t get a fair shake on Tobacco Road. Check out this game recap from a 1974 Maryland-N.C. State game in Raleigh. Near the end of the article, Terrapins’ head coach Lefty Driesell is quoted as follows: “My complaint is the charging calls against us,” Driesell said. “I’m not saying the calls were wrong but it’s only called that way in this part of the country.” He is certainly not alone in thinking that Maryland was at a distinct disadvantage when playing conference games in the Tar Heel State, whether they were on a rivals’ home courts or in the frequent ACC Tournaments held in Greensboro or Charlotte. As Maryland prepares to join the Big Ten next season, let’s take a look at some of the other memories that Maryland will be leaving behind.

Maryland was a charter member when the ACC formed prior to the 1953-54 basketball season. Although the Terrapins captured an ACC title in 1958, it wasn’t until the fiery Driesell arrived prior to the 1969-70 campaign that Maryland basketball became nationally relevant. At the time, North Carolina and N.C. State were the top programs in the league, but Maryland quickly joined them and produced some classic games that had a major influence on the rising popularity of the sport. In 1973, the ACC and its TV broadcast partner, C.D. Chesley, decided to go big with the N.C. State – Maryland game in College Park as a prelude for sports fans to the NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday showcase event. The 87-85 win for David Thompson‘s Wolfpack in front of a nationally-televised audience was a highly entertaining game that helped push the reputation of the ACC as the best and most exciting hoops conference in the country.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

ACC M5: 11.25.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on November 25th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Sports Illustrated: Marcus Paige has stepped up in a big way, scoring 32 points to lead the Tar Heels to a big upset over Louisville Sunday. Most impressively he was 9-of-14 from three. Should that prove to not be an anomaly, North Carolina may be as good as people originally thought regardless of whether PJ Hairston or Leslie McDonald return. Paige looks like a first-team All-ACC player right now. He’s built off of a strong finish to last season and looks more confident than ever. Only time will tell whether the Tar Heels turn out to be more like the team that lost to Belmont or the one that dethroned the defending champs (which, incidentally hadn’t lost a game since last February 9).
  2. Richmond Times-Dispatch: One of Virginia‘s strengths this year is its depth in the frontcourt. Tony Bennett is taking advantage of that depth by playing around with different combinations. He likes Akil Mitchell and Darion Atkins defensively, while Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill are more offensive-minded. Also interesting is that Bennett thinks with the right match-up he might try to play three of the four with Mitchell guarding the three. That’s a tough assignment for Mitchell (watch the smaller Duke wings try to stay in front of a smaller, quicker player).
  3. Hartford Courant: Counterpoint on the Boston College-Connecticut rivalry renewal from the Connecticut point of view. Jeff Jacobs makes a good point: The basketball rivalry benefits Boston College much more than Connecticut. He also points out that the rivalry, while heated and intense, has been fairly lopsided since Jim Calhoun raised the Huskies to national prominence. He also points out that Syracuse would be the ideal team to rekindle a basketball rivalry with — although the Orange certainly aren’t known for their tough non-conference home-and-homes. If I were in Connecticut’s position, I’d agree wholeheartedly with this take. If you agree to play in football (say, every other year at a minimum), we’ll play basketball. I don’t see that happening, but the more I read the quotes that got this story started, the more I don’t see a permanent restoration of the old rivalry anyway.
  4. Washington Post: Say what you want about Lefty Driesell, but the guy clearly loves his players. Maryland great Tom McMillen is being inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame this year, and he will become the first Maryland player honored. On top of his standout basketball career, McMillen was also a Rhodes Scholar and he currently serves on the Maryland Board of Trustees. Driesell’s first assistant coach George Raveling is also being inducted (albeit mostly for his time serving as the Nike director of international basketball). I love redemption stories and I love a less salty Lefty Driesell.
  5. ESPN Insider: After the early signing period, five ACC teams finished with grades of A-minus or higher according to Paul Biancardi. Most notable of the standouts is Maryland, which Biancardi expects to be Mark Turgeon’s best class thanks to a couple of top 100 players. Overall, the conference as a whole had a terrific recruiting haul. At the top, it is borderline ridiculous (Duke and North Carolina combine for seven top-25 recruits alone). On the other end of the spectrum, Jeff Bzdelik better get his recruiting in order soon or his job may be less secure than many already believe it should be.
Share this story

ACC M5: 10.21.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on October 21st, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: Hindsight is always 20/20, but Joe Giglio does a good job looking at why NC State failed to live up to expectations last season. While I thought the media overrated the Wolfpack, I didn’t expect them to collapse so entirely. But I don’t think enough can be said for losing the leaders from the 2012 NCAA Tournament run. CJ Williams and Alex Johnson in particular were missed for their leadership. Instead, CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown had to set the tone, and when Brown went down with injury, Leslie was the player the team emulated. That turned out to be a problem. It will be interesting to see how the less talented lineup plays together this season.
  2. CBSSports.com: I hope you’re ready to get on the Boston College bandwagon because Jon Rothstein is already there. Sometimes he overhypes teams, but I think Rothstein is dead on with this now-veteran Eagles team. But Olivier Hanlan will not be the next Shane Larkin. It’s true Larkin was a fun-to-watch, explosive point guard who ended up as conference player of the year, but Hanlan is more of a pure scorer than Larkin. He doesn’t have Larkin’s vision, but he’s got more of the stone-cold assassin gene. Hanlan’s performance in the first round of the ACC Tournament in March was truly astounding. Now we get to see if he can back it up with his sophomore season.
  3. Washington Post: Mark Turgeon claims switching to the Big Ten next season won’t affect his recruiting footprint. He may be right, and he certainly has anecdotal data from Dave Telep on his side, but I also think it’s oversimplifying to say that “kids don’t even know which leagues most teams are in anymore.” Because it’s not most teams that matter. What Turgeon has to overcome is losing the spirited home-and-home with Duke that drew national attention for the last decade or more. That’s a game recruits know. Will a rivalry with Ohio State have the same ring? Maybe eventually, but rivalries aren’t born overnight. It will be interesting to see if his non-local signings start to shift to the Midwest.
  4. Hampton Roads Daily Press: When you picture the prototypical Virginia player under Tony Bennett or his father, you don’t picture Justin Anderson. Anderson is a high-flying dunk machine whose uber-athleticism makes him an asset on the defensive end. He also ended last season on an incredibly promising note, with a postseason flourish in scoring to finish the year as the Cavaliers’ third leading scorer. This year, the two scorers above him are both back, but Anderson’s improvement may be the key to helping the Cavaliers crack the Top-25.
  5. Baltimore Sun: Here’s an interesting solution to Maryland’s historical tension between the Lefty Driesell era and the Gary Williams era: Name the Cole Field House floor after Driesell. There’s a chance he would refuse — especially after making such a big stink about the Comcast Center floor last season. But it would be fitting in many ways, although the department would have to pull it off without coming across as patronizing.
Share this story

Midnight Madness in the ACC

Posted by Kellen Carpenter on October 18th, 2013

Once upon a time, Lefty Driesell, the head coach of the Maryland Terrapins, invented something he called Midnight Madness. To help build excitement for the coming basketball season, the team would have an open practice/scrimmage that would kick off at the first possible moment a team was allowed to practice. It was, honestly, kind of a weird idea. But sure enough, eventually students got on board with showing up late one night in October to watch their beloved Terrapins begin the season. This tradition quickly spread beyond Maryland to the rest of the ACC and, eventually, to much of the nation.

In 2013, the tradition is all but dead. This is Maryland’s last year in the ACC. Changes in NCAA rules now have allowed practice to begin much earlier in the season. Midnight Madness has gone from a near-universal tradition to  an afterthought on many campuses. Still, Maryland is in the conference one more year and not everyone has given up on the event, so let’s take a quick look at those who are keeping the faith.

Driesell pioneered Midnight Madness at Maryland

Driesell pioneered Midnight Madness at Maryland

Celebrating Tonight

Somewhat fittingly, Maryland has the biggest treat for hoops fans: a return to historic Cole Field House, the home of Maryland basketball for so many years. Duke and Syracuse are offering ESPNU-covered scrimmages while NC State offers up the goofiest subtitle for their event, though they lose goofiest title to Clemson’s “Rock the John.” Incidentally, “Rock the John” will apparently feature fire jugglers, but that’s nothing compared to “Orange Madness.” Although Syracuse canceled a performance by rapper Ace Hood for their festivities, the event still promises a performance by Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy. No, really.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 07.29.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 29th, 2013

morning5

  1. We have no idea what is going through P.J. Hairston‘s head these days, but whatever it is it is not good. The beleaguered (we can use that word at this point, right?) North Carolina guard was suspended indefinitely on Sunday night after receiving a citation for speeding and reckless driving on Saturday afternoon. Hairston was reportedly pulled over in a 2008 Acura TL driving 93 mph in a 65 mph zone. Hariston, who has been under public scrutiny since a June arrest for possession of marijuana with a gun assigned to nobody that the legal system in North Carolina is apparently comfortable sweeping under the rug, has been under “investigation” for his dealings with Haydn “Fats” Thomas, but has managed to escape any punishment until last night. Our definition of punishment may differ from what Roy Williams has in mind as Hairston still has until October for Midnight Madness and November when regular season games start. We keep on saying this, but at some point it would appear that Roy needs to cut ties with Hairston or risk incurring punishment for the program down the road. If he decides to keep Hairston it will be interesting to see how long he sits Hairston given their early-season schedule.
  2. TCU got a big boost on Friday when the NCAA cleared incoming freshman Karviar Shepherd to play this season. Shepherd had been waiting to hear from the NCAA regarding his eligibility because of questions regarding his academics at Prime Prep Academy, but apparently whatever paperwork was submitted was good enough for the NCAA to sign off on him. Shepherd may not be one of the nation’s elite incoming recruits (77th in ESPN’s rankings), but the addition of a 6’10″ center should be a welcome addition for a Horned Frog program that finished last in the Big 12 last season.
  3. Late July might seem like a strange time to rework a college basketball coach’s contract, but that is what Loyola (IL) did as it extended Porter Moser through the 2017-18 season. We typically are a little bit leery of extending young coaches who just finished their second season (particularly if we are not aware of them being hot names for coaching vacancies), but Moser has done a nice job helping turn around the Ramblers who went 15-16 last season after going 7-23 in his first season. Of course some of this could be due to the increased maturity of his squad, which still ranks among the youngest in Division I. However, with 10 players returning this season and a new contract extension the pressure will be on Moser to perform soon.
  4. When we heard that Indiana State was building an on-campus statue for Larry Bird our first reaction was to wonder what took so long. Bird, who led the Sycamores to the 1979 NCAA Championship Game, will reportedly be in attendance as he will be honored with a 15-foot statute before the team’s first game of the season against Ball State on November 9. While there are certainly more iconic college basketball players we doubt that there is anybody who is intimately associated with a school as Bird is with Indiana State. With the relative resurgence the Sycamore program has seen in recent years it should be a nice added boost for the team to have the greatest player in the program’s history return to kick off their home opener.
  5. It has been 10 years since Lefty Driesell officially coached, but he made a return to the sidelines on Saturday to coach a team of former Maryland players in what is essentially a legends basketball league. Over the years supporters of Driesell have expressed their displeasure with how the school has treated his legacy in comparison to that of Gary Williams so it was nice to hear that Driesell is still associating himself with the school even if some of his supporters are still angry. We are rapidly approaching 30 years since Driesell last coached at Maryland so we are not sure that he will ever get his due there, but those who have actually followed the game and do not have an agenda are well aware of his contributions to the game and the school.
Share this story

ACC M5: 02.25.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 25th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Washington Post: Maryland’s breakup with Lefty Driesell wasn’t mutual and it wasn’t clean. Finally, over 25 years later, the Terrapins are honoring the man who built their program from the ground up. It’s about time the administration honored Driesell at the Comcast Center. They did it with a bas relief and while it’s not a statue and not on the court, it’s better than pretending he didn’t exist. John Feinstein (as always) does a great job painting Driesell, the cantankerous coach with a soft spot, with a concise keyboard.
  2. Streaking the Lawn: With the end of conference play looming just around the corner, it’s time to take different look at conference awards. Sifting through efficiency metrics, Erick Green is by far the best player in the conference. He’s got a better offensive rating than everyone not named Reggie Bullock, but he also uses a ludicrous 31.6% of Virginia Tech’s possessions. The next two players in usage are Ryan Anderson and James Michael McAdoo. The other interesting thing is that Richard Howell, not CJ Leslie, is giving Mason Plumlee the best run for his money in the post. It comes down to who you think is a better defender between the two.
  3. Blogger So Dear: Wait, a positive article about Wake Forest basketball??? It comes on the heels of Jeff Bzdelik’s best win ever in knocking off undefeated Miami at home (for the agony bordering denial — we’ve all been there — side of thingsState of the U has you covered). Robert Reinhard took a look at Wake Forest’s promising young core. Specifically, Codi Miller McIntyre looked excellent in that game, and he and Devin Thomas in particular have the potential to be great ACC players. Believe it or not, Wake Forest is slowly moving in the right direction.
  4. The Sporting News: Here’s an interesting idea. In lieu of the Big East crumbling, David Steele suggests that the conference host a challenge with the Catholic 7. The new challenge would allow blue-blooded rivalries like Georgetown-Syracuse to continue after the Orange moves to the ACC. The new challenge would draw eyes (both in person and through the television) and money. It’s unlikely to occur, but the plan does provide a solution to the common claim that coaches don’t listen well.
  5. BC Interruption:  With season’s end on the horizon, it’s time to start seeing the standings as potential match-ups the weekend leading up to Selection Sunday at the ACC Tournament. Everyone should be itching to play Virginia Tech and the Erick Green show, but the middle of the league is so jumbled that it’s definitely worth watching the standings alone.
Share this story

Rushed Reactions: Maryland 72, Clemson 59

Posted by IRenko on February 23rd, 2013

rushedreactions

I. Renko is an RTC correspondent based in D.C. and the author of the weekly column, The Other 26. He filed this report after Saturday afternoon’s game between Maryland and Clemson. Follow him on Twitter @IRenkoHoops.

Three key takeaways:

  • Maryland’s Tournament Hopes Are Alive — Last weekend’s win over Duke gave the Terps’ Tournament hopes a big boost, but a letdown loss at Boston College on Tuesday left them on the thinnest of ice. A loss to Clemson at home would have been a big blow, and it seemed a real possibility when the Tigers pulled to within a point just after halftime. But a 21-6 run gave the Terps a comfortable 16-point cushion with 11:20 to play, and from there, they eased to a comfortable 13-point win, keeping their Tournament hopes alive. While acknowledging his team’s somewhat slow start, head coach Mark Turgeon was quite happy with the Terps’ second-half performance, crediting their defense even more than their offense for enabling them to take control.
  • Maryland’s Freshman Frontcourt May Be Its Future — Sophomore Alex Len has been the focus of the media’s attention for most of the year, but Maryland’s freshmen frontcourt shows signs of being a real force for years to come. Jake Layman, Charles Mitchell, and Shaquille Cleare were averaging just 5.2, 5.5, and 4.2 points coming into today’s game, but they scored 12, 8, and 10 respectively today. More than that, they showed a certain kind of maturity and poise that belied their status as freshmen. The 6′ 8″ Layman is a swing forward with the athleticism, quickness, and shooting touch to play on the perimeter. He has been a full-time starter since late January, and the confidence and skill he displayed against Clemson show why. Mitchell and Cleare are a pair of big bodies who are still refining their post moves, but are strong finishers and rebounders who use their bulk to great effect. They added 6 and 7 boards apiece today and were a big reason Maryland was able to dominate the paint against a typically stout Clemson defense. Their physicality will suit the Terps well when they make the transition to the Big Ten.
  • Clemson’s Offense Is In A Deep Funk – The Tigers have a strong defense, as they showed in taking Miami the distance last week in a 45-43 loss. But their offense has struggled and especially badly of late. This was the fifth straight game in which they scored less than a point per possession. For a team that is likely looking forward to next season already, the news gets worse — two of their three leading scorers, Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, graduate this year. That leaves a heavy load for K.J. McDaniels, who managed seven points against Maryland, and Jordan Roper, who scored a very inefficient 13 points on 5-of-15 FG shooting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 02.12.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 12th, 2013

morning5

  1. One of the many contentious points around Maryland’s programs in recent years has been its perceived slight of Lefty Driesell. Many of Driesell’s supporters have pointed out how much more Gary Williams has been recognized by the school despite their fairly similar credentials (obviously, Williams’ national championship puts him on a slightly different level to some). In truth, a large part of this may be due to the circumstances surrounding Driesell’s departure (following the death of Len Bias). Maryland appears to be doing something to rectify this as they will honor Driesell at a game against Clemson on February 23 and then on April 16 will unveil a bronze relief that will hang at the Comcast Center. Given all of the vitriol that has flown through the Maryland athletic department in recent years we hope this will go a long way to repair some of those relationships.
  2. Grantland’s feature on Larry Brown is almost a week old, but we just stumbled upon it yesterday and it’s well worth a read to get a better sense of one of the most complex great coaches the game has ever seen. When Brown landed at Southern Methodist our first question was probably the same as many other’s had for him: Why? We aren’t sure if we fully comprehend why it was Southern Methodist out of all of his potential destinations, but Brown may provide some insight with the last quote in the article: ”I just want to be relevant.”
  3. We normally link to Luke Winn’s weekly power rankings, but yesterday Winn showed a little versatility with his analysis of VCU‘s vaunted Havoc defense. By now most of you have probably heard of it, but few have actually seen it in effect. With the way that the Rams are playing there is a decent chance at least one team from a power conference will experience it for the first time and if they aren’t prepared for it you will be hearing a lot more about Havoc in March.
  4. After finally breaking into the top 25 of a few unenlightened polls, Memphis was dealt a setback when it was announced that Antonio Barton would be out for 4-6 weeks after breaking his right foot. Fortunately for Barton and the Tigers it is a hairline fracture, which will not require surgery. Barton, who is averaging 6.2 points in 19 minutes per game with all of his numbers going down with each season he has been at Memphis, broke the foot in Saturday’s win at Southern Mississippi. With the Tigers finally starting to play well late in the season under Josh Pastner losing Barton would be a fairly significant blow, but given his timeline for returning there is a realistic possibility that he could play in the Conference USA Tournament and definitely the NCAA Tournament (assuming the Tigers don’t fall apart first).
  5. Connecticut doesn’t have any NCAA Tournament aspirations this season thanks to their poor APR scores, but they were quietly putting together a very respectable season in year one of the post-Calhoun era and had been managing to stay out of the headlines for negative media attention. That is until Enosch Wolf was arrested on campus ar0und 6 AM yesterday in what has been described as a domestic dispute. As a result he has been suspended indefinitely and will not return to the team “until the legal and university process is finalized” according to Kevin Ollie. Wolf, who is averaging 3.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in greatly increased playing time, is one of the few big men the Huskies have and their only legitimate center. Given the circumstances involved (“grabbed the victim’s hair, pushed her head and knocked off her glasses”) we don’t expect to see him back on the court any time soon.
Share this story

ACC M5: 02.04.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 4th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Duke Basketball Report: This is a phenomenal article from Al Featherston, looking back at Duke winning number 1,000 nearly four decades ago. The article also includes two of the biggest ACC “What ifs?” ever:
    1. What if Lefty Driesell was given the Duke job?
    2. What if Adolph Rupp had taken over for Duke in the mid-1970′s?

    The first question is fascinating. Driesell built Maryland, but Duke already had a history of success (only five teams beat the Blue Devils to the 1,000 win mark). Could he have taken the Blue Devils to similar heights (and lows)? Just how different would Duke’s program be today if the (aptly described) “mercurial” Driesell ushered in the modern era instead of Coach K. Also, what would have happened to Mike Krzyzewski? Similar butterfly effects happen if Rupp takes over. The article also has historical anecdotes about the dominance of the Durham YMCA in the 1920′s. Seriously, give it a read.

  2. ESPN: Well, the inevitable has arrived. Despite not receiving bids from Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in New York City, “because of the league’s changing membership,” those two arenas will still be in the running for the 2016-2021 ACC Tournaments. The move makes sense, but it has the potential to be a major flop too. The atmosphere at the ACC Tournament the past few years hasn’t been the same. The declining excitement is largely thanks to an increase in noncompetitive teams, the addition of Thursday and an expanding geographic footprint. Moving the tournament to New York could exacerbate the issues if the league continues to aim for a balanced allotment of tickets.
  3. ACC Sports Journal: The ACC is slowly rebuilding. Almost all programs appear to be moving in the right direction, though there are still plenty of questions surrounding almost all of the new coaches: Can Jim Larranaga and Steve Donahue recruit at the ACC level consistently? Can Brian Gregory and Brad Brownell break through to the next level? And can Jeff Bzdelik and Donahue pull their teams out of the cellar? The next couple of seasons are critical to the success of the ACC going forward because coaching stability is a huge factor in sustained success.
  4. Raleigh News & Observer: NC State took a gut-punch against Miami without junior guard Lorenzo Brown. The Wolfpack controlled for most of the game, but a late Miami run and some costly errors from CJ Leslie (missed foul shots, turnovers, and dumb fouls) gave the Hurricanes the chance to win. But two stories more important than Reggie Johnson‘s buzzer-beating tip are starting to show through the game. For one, Miami is a solid two games ahead of Duke in the loss column (everyone else has three or more losses). That’s a very, very good place to be going into the second half of conference play. Second, Tyler Lewis finally started showing why he was a McDonald’s All-American. Lewis ran NC State’s offense very well against the best defense in the ACC, and he didn’t look nearly as lost on defense. He still needs some work, but developing Lewis is crucial in the long run.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech was a different team Sunday than the one that got smacked in Charlottesville (to be fair the home-road splits are looking fairly dramatic for Virginia too). The Yellow Jackets looked like they might be due for a repeat of their last game with the Cavaliers as they went into the half down by nine. Brian Gregory said after the loss that his team needed to learn how to finish. Well, the second time around they did just that. Georgia Tech held Virginia to six points in the final 9:40 of the game. The Yellow Jackets were the first ACC team to drop 60 on Virginia. Good luck ranking the middle and bottom of the ACC this season. It’s a train-wreck, though it’s a train-wreck played at a higher level than last year.
Share this story

Maryland Secedes From the ACC, Will Join Big Ten in 2014

Posted by mpatton on November 19th, 2012

Maryland is leaving the ACC to join the Big Ten along with Rutgers. Unsurprisingly the move sparked mixed opinions from all sides. Maryland’s move is the first time since South Carolina left in 1971 that a charter member of the ACC has joined another conference, which says a lot about the current state of college athletics. Objectively–at least in the long run — Maryland’s administration made the obvious decision. The Terrapin athletic department has financially struggled mightily the last few years, and the Big Ten offers significantly more television revenue than the ACC. The caveat is the ACC’s recently negotiated $50 million exit fee (which Maryland and Florida State opposed at the time), a fee so steep will decimate the athletic department’s short-term finances.

Thinking of Maryland In the Big Ten Doesn’t Feel Right, But It’s the New Reality (credit: SI.com)

Look for the ACC to really stick to its guns regarding the exit fee, but Maryland probably won’t pay the full penalty. Contracts require diligence in order to be enforced, and Maryland will probably argue that the massive exit fee is punitive — especially considering the fact that the school didn’t support the massive exit fee hike. That said, if other schools smell instability and see a way around the exit fee, the ACC could be in trouble. If Maryland is forced to pay the full exit fee, the only two feasible options are a massive capital campaign or some sort of assistance from a third party (including the Big Ten).

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Big East M5: 10.10.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on October 10th, 2012

  1. It is funny to think about given its proximity to and history with Maryland, but Georgetown was probably rooting for the Terps to land the Andrew and Aaron Harrison twins last week. For starters, the Hoyas and Terps haven’t played each other in more than 20 years thanks to feuding legends John Thompson and Lefty Driesell so it wouldn’t be as if Georgetown would regularly square off with the highly-touted duo. But also, if the Harrison twins were headed to College Park, the Hoyas would have had a much better chance of landing local product Roddy Peters who has shot up recruiting boards after turning heads on the summer circuit. Peters got the spotlight treatment from ESPN.com recently in an entertaining article that also touched on the dormant Beltway rivalry and the not-so dormant recruiting battle over Peters that is really just heating up. The article doesn’t reveal any new information about whether the storied programs will ever renew their local rivalry, but its a solid read, especially if you didn’t know the illustrious history between the two programs.
  2. Two teams play one game on an aircraft carrier and now everyone wants to do it. The only problem is that while playing a game on an aircraft carrier to honor Veterans Day sounds like a great idea, the reality is that the logistics aren’t quite as rosy, as Syracuse and San Diego State found out this week. Luckily, some local sponsors stepped up and the two teams are once again set to square off on the USS Midway in San Diego Bay on November 9. Syracuse.com gives a good rundown of the behind-the-scenes work on how the game was saved, painting San Diego-based Syndicus Entertainment as rather incompetent in the process. This is great news as both the Orange and Aztecs are likely to be mainstays in the Top 25 all season, and this game will go a long way toward improving the winner’s non-conference resume.
  3. At this point, every coach in the conference has been asked for their thoughts on the changing of the guard that is taking place next season, but by far the most interesting answers came from Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin who viewed the shifting landscape as a chance for the Bearcats to “plant our flag deeper” and then went on to say that his program was never going to get the respect it deserved amongst the conference elite. Now, Matt Norlander correctly points out that we have no context for these remarks, but I am not buying the Bearcats’ basketball program as an afterthought, especially considering its history in the past two decades. You can’t be an afterthought when you had players like former NPOY Kenyon Martin coming through campus. Heck, Bob Huggins is one of the most recognizable coaches in the entire sport, and he will always be associated with his excellent teams at Cincinnati.
  4. If you haven’t noticed by now, we here at the Big East microsite simply cannot get enough of stories about facility upgrades and luckily the programs in the conference have thrown us a few bones by going and upgrading their facilities. Two days ago it was Georgetown, yesterday it was Connecticut, and this week comes news that DePaul has grandiose plans to move out of its outdated arena and into brand-spanking new digs, or the United Center, or the practice facility the Bulls are planning to break ground on. Who knows? Nobody! But we do now that getting a new arena is never a bad thing, especially for a program like DePaul that can basically use all the help it can get. So hey, maybe set up some hardwood at Soldier Field and have them play there. Maybe you can even get the promoters for the Syracuse and San Diego State game to find the sponsors.
  5. It is always good to know that Louisville isn’t feeling the pressure of their immense preseason expectations. I don’t know how Lazer Blaze stacks up against some of the other laser tag spots around the country, but I do know that no matter what age you are, if you can’t enjoy a spirited round or two of laser tag, you just aren’t any fun.

Is It Even A Question Whether Russ Smith is the Cardinals’ best laser tag player?

Share this story