ACC B-Ball Report – 1/24/11

Posted by Brandon Rink on January 24, 2011 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article

The Heels can keep pace with the lead group with a win Wednesday on the road at Miami. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com, by Mark Crammer)

What’s happened and to come in ACC basketball right here with the weekend wrap/mid-week preview edition of the ACC B-Ball Report…

ACC Standings…

School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Duke 5-1 .833 18-1 .947
Florida State 5-1 .833 15-5 .750
North Carolina 3-1 .750 13-5 .722
Boston College 4-2 .667 14-6 .700
Virginia Tech 3-2 .600 13-5 .722
Clemson 2-3 .400 13-6 .684
Maryland 2-3 .400 12-7 .632
NC State 2-3 .400 12-7 .632
Virginia 2-3 .400 11-8 .579
Georgia Tech 2-3 .400 9-9 .500
Miami 1-4 .200 12-7 .632
Wake Forest 0-5 .000 7-13 .350

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Weekend Wrap

Florida State 67, Boston College 51: Stifling Defense, Flu Sink Eagles in Tallahassee (BC Interruption)

Brian: The Eagles kicked off their brutal seven-game stretch with a listless 67-51 loss to Florida State. The loss drops BC to 4-2 in conference, a game behind 5-1 Duke and Florida State. This team isn’t built to win with the loss of just one player, and when Biko Paris was scratched due to stomach flu, you had the feeling that it might be a long night for the Eagles. That, combined with the fact that BC’s star — Reggie Jackson — went 0-for-4 from the field in the first half, and it seemed like a miracle that the Eagles were down just 2 at the half.

Clemson comes up short on ACC road again, falling 79-77 to Maryland (OrangeandWhite.com)

Clemson hung around here Saturday. Clung to Maryland like a pesky, ankle-gnawing dog or a persistent cough. The Tigers were persistent, simply refusing to go away.

When it truly mattered, though, when they needed a key shot, a key stop, a made free throw, the Tigers faltered.

Senior point guard Demontez Stitt’s 35-foot prayer went wide and grazed the right rim, and Maryland held on for a 79-77 win over Clemson before 17,950 at the Comcast Center. The Terrapins improved to 12-7, 2-3 ACC; Clemson fell to 13-6, 2-3. For the third straight time, the Tigers had a legit shot at their first ACC road win. For the third straight time, they fell agonizingly short.

“It’s just tough to get over that hump,” said Stitt, who had 20 points, eight assists and two turnovers. “We just couldn’t get over that hump and take the lead. It’s pretty frustrating.”

Wolfpack gets ‘Must’ win against Hurricanes (Charlotte Observer)

A combination of a Tracy Smith putback, a Ryan Harrow steal and a C.J. Williams free throw in the final 44.1 seconds gave the Wolfpack (12-7, 2-3 ACC) its second league win and second win against a top-50 RPI team.

A career-best 17 points from Richard Howell, in his first start since Dec.4, and 16 points from Smith helped end N.C. State’s three-game losing streak in the ACC.

On a day the program celebrated its 100th anniversary, the Wolfpack led by as many as 17 in the second half and looked like it would cruise to an easy win in front of more than 100 former players and coaches.

Virginia 72, Georgia Tech 64: Three Up, Three Down (Cavaliers Journal)

Virginia did exactly what it was supposed to do Saturday during a 72-64 win over an uninspired Georgia Tech squad. For those of you who didn’t watch the game live, let me assure you the game was not as close as the final score would indicate.

The Yellow Jackets never led and trailed by 10 or fewer points in the second half for only the final 25 seconds. Virginia led by as many as 18 points.

Regardless, the Cavaliers needed this win to snap a three-game conference skid and to keep from spiraling downward following the loss of senior forward Mike Scott (ankle) for the remainder of the season.

Blown chances lead to another road loss for Miami Hurricanes’ basketball (Miami Herald)

It was the second game in a row UM had a chance to tie on its final two possessions and failed to score. Durand Scott, who missed a pair of lay-ups in the final 10 seconds of a 55-53 loss to Florida State on Wednesday, had the ball stolen away by N.C. State’s Ryan Harrow on his way to the basket on UM’s next-to-last possession with 20 seconds left.

“It’s a melancholy mood right now,” said Johnson, who started the game 4-of-12 from the field, but made his final five shots to help the Hurricanes rally from a 17-point second-half deficit.

“Everybody is hanging their head right now. But we still have a season to play. We’re not giving up hope. Guys got to keep fighting at the end of the day.”

UM (12-7, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) dropped its 12th consecutive conference road game and lost for the fifth time in five tries in Raleigh. The two previous losses at N.C. State (12-7, 2-3) were overtime heartbreakers.

ACC Weekend Hoops (OrangeandWhite.com)

Duke Tames Wake Forest 83-59: Kyle Singler scored 24 points and keyed the run that helped No. 4 Duke pull away from pesky Wake Forest in an 83-59 victory Saturday. Ryan Kelly added a career-high 20 points on perfect shooting and Nolan Smith shook off a slow start and finished with 19 on 6-of-22 shooting for the Blue Devils (18-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

The league’s highest-ranked team took care of its worst down the stretch, using two big runs to outscore Wake Forest 42-27 in the second half. Duke won its fourth straight and claimed its second victory of the week on an instate rival’s home floor.

NCAA Tourney Buzz

ACC Bubble Watch for January 24 (All About Sports)

Bubble But In

(62) Virginia Tech Hokies 13-5 (3-2)

The Hokies have won 9 of their last 10 games. This past week they had an impressive 74-57 win at Maryland, and a nice 18 point win in a scrimmage against Longwood. Seth Greenburg is doing a good job managing all the injuries.

Next Games: 1/25 @Georgia Tech, 1/30 Miami

Good Wins: (40) Oklahoma St, (51) Penn St., (44) Florida St., (78) Maryland

Bad Losses: None

Bubble But Out

(48) Miami Hurricanes 12-7 (1-4)

Miami is really wasting some good non-conference wins. Losing at home to Florida State 55-53 was big blow. Then there was a 72-70 loss at NC State, where the Canes couldn’t even get a decent shot off in their final possession. If Miami goes 0-2 this week, they are finished.

Next Games: 1/26 North Carolina, 1/30 @Virginia Tech

Good Wins: (72) Mississippi, (14) West Virginia, (35) Boston College

Bad Losses: None

Bracketology: Jan. 23 (D1scourse)

SOUTHWEST

Charlotte, N.C.

(1) ATLANTIC COAST/Duke vs. (16) BIG SKY/Northern Colorado
(8) ATLANTIC 10/Xavier vs. (9) WEST COAST/Saint Mary’s

Tucson, Ariz.

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) COLONIAL/Virginia Commonwealth
(5) West Virginia vs. (12) CONFERENCE USA/Memphis

Charlotte, N.C.

(3) Syracuse vs. (14) SOUTHERN/College of Charleston
(6) Illinois vs. (11) Virginia Tech

Tucson, Ariz.

(2) San Diego State vs. (15) MID-AMERICAN/Ball State
(7) Georgia vs. (10) Cincinnati

Mid-Week Games

Game Sim Previews This Week’s Games (SCACCHoops)

Game Sim has picked 75% of the ACC league games thus far, let’s see what could happen this week…

NC State @ Clemson Tuesday 7 PM

NC State riding high after a home win versus Miami, went to Littlejohn Coliseum and got a big road win against Clemson.  NC State defeated Clemson 73-63 behind 17 points from Ryan Harrow on 7-8 shooting.  NC State outrebounded Clemson in a crucial matchup of two solid frontcourts.  Clemson made just 11-22 free throws in the loss.  Devin Booker led the Tigers with 17 points.

Three to Look Back At/Three To Look Forward To (ACC Sports Journal)

Boston College at Duke, Thursday January 27, 8 p.m.
The nod will probably go to the player whose school finishes higher in the conference standings, but the Nolan Smith-Reggie Jackson player of the year competition (sorry, Jordan Williams) will certainly be influenced by their lone head-to-head appearance. Boston College has the scoring to keep up with the Blue Devils, but don’t match up quite the same way as the teams that typically give Duke problems (see: Florida State). As long as one of the Plumlee-Plumlee-Kelly trio has a good game, Duke should be in good shape playing in Cameron. If two of them are on, Jackson might need to score 40 for the Eagles to win.

Keep an eye on: Reggie Jackson. No sleeper pick here. In addition to needing Jackson’s points, the first step for Boston College in slowing down Nolan Smith will be forcing Smith to work extra hard on the defensive end.

Full Mid-Week Slate/Our Picks

From the ACC…

(4-2 on picks over the weekend)
Tuesday, January 25
NC State at Clemson ……………………………. RSN…… 7:00
Pick: Tigers 69-64
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech ……………….. RSN…… 9:00
Pick: Hokies 63-59
Wednesday, January 26
North Carolina at Miami …………..ESPN2…… 7:30
Pick: ‘Canes 70-66
Thursday, January 27
Maryland at Virginia ………………………………CSN…… 7:00
Pick: Terps 69-65
Boston College at Duke ……………..ACC Network…… 8:00
Pick: Devils 74-63

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ACC basketball proving to be hard to peg, but home-court seems to be winning out…thoughts on the weekend? Games coming up?

ACC B-Ball Report – 1/21

Posted by Brandon Rink on January 21, 2011 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article

The Tigers will be without guard Tanner Smith after sustaining this knee injury Tuesday. (Per OrangeandWhite.com)

What’s happened and to come in ACC basketball right here with this week’s ACC B-Ball Report…

ACC Standings…

School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Duke 4-1 .800 17-1 .944
Boston College 4-1 .800 14-5 .737
Florida State 4-1 .800 14-5 .737
North Carolina 3-1 .750 13-5 .722
Virginia Tech 3-2 .600 12-5 .706
Clemson 2-2 .500 13-5 .722
Georgia Tech 2-2 .500 9-8 .529
Miami 1-3 .250 12-6 .667
Maryland 1-3 .250 11-7 .611
NC State 1-3 .250 11-7 .611
Virginia 1-3 .250 10-8 .556
Wake Forest 0-4 .000 7-12 .368

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Mid-Week Review

“Green” Party: Sophomore Guard Leads Tech to 74-57 Victory over Maryland (The Key Play)

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Don’t lie, nobody saw this coming. Erick Green had a career game, scoring 24 points as the Hokies rolled over the Maryland Terrapins 74-57 Thursday night. The 17-point defeat was the worst for Maryland in the nine years in the Comcast Center and the biggest margin of defeat at home since an 18-point loss to Duke at Cole Field House in 1999.

Green was fantastic in every aspect of the game. The sophomore was an astounding 12-of-16 (75%) from the field and was hitting shots from wherever he wanted to when he wanted to. The coming-out party also included four steals and two assists. Since moving into the starting lineup, Green has hit double figures in every game, averaging 14 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals per game. Not to mention the Hokies are 8-1 in those games.

The Hokies (12-5, 3-2 ACC) opened up the game on a 12-0 run in the first four minutes and never allowed Maryland (11-7, 1-3) to get back within four points. The Terps had gotten within eight in the last minute of the first half, but Manny Atkins drained a three-pointer with one second remaining to give Tech a 40-29 cushion at halftime.

Clemson can’t close it out in Chapel Hill, falling 75-65 at North Carolina (OrangeandWhite.com)

Right on cue, the baskets stopped falling. All the breaks migrated to the other end, the end the guys in powder-blue were shooting at.

Streaks as long, painful and impressive as the string of dominance North Carolina holds over Clemson here have a way of manifesting themselves.

Tuesday night, the ugliness bore itself out in Clemson’s offense. Through 32-plus minutes, the Tigers battled the Tar Heels to a tie score. Just execute offensively over the final seven minutes, and a program-defining win was theirs.

Instead, they’ll wonder what could have been if only they could’ve made a shot. Clemson made one field goal in the final 7:43, and North Carolina gutted out a 75-65 win before 20,352 boisterous fans at the Dean Smith Center.

Miami Hurricanes can’t hold off FSU’s late rally (Miami Herald)

The Seminoles’ sticky, slug-it-out defense made its way back down to Coral Gables Wednesday night and found itself a copycat. For a half, the Hurricanes made scoring baskets a painful process for their bitter rivals.

Unfortunately for UM, the effect of their zone defense didn’t last long enough. Florida State, which shot a season-low 19.2 percent in the first half, rallied from a seven-point deficit to hand the Hurricanes their first home loss of the season 55-53 at BankUnited Center.

It was UM’s ninth loss to FSU in its past 10 meetings.

Hokies write a primer on how to beat Maryland (Terrapins Insider)

By packing the zone with its biggest bodies, Virginia Tech (12-5, 3-2) made it difficult for Williams’ teammates to feed him the ball inside, where he has carried the Terps all season, and stymied Williams’ ability to do much with the ball the few times he got it.

“I found myself forcing some shots because I didn’t get that many touches,” Williams said afterward. “So when I did get the ball, I tried to be effective with it, and I took some dumb shots. I have to learn from it.”

Williams was limited to just two points on three shots from the field in the first half, as the Hokies surged to a 40-29 lead. He finished 4-of-9 from the floor, made three of five free-throw attempts, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out two assists and got two steals.

“Desperate” Pack Can’t Keep Pace with Duke (ACC Rivals)

NC State’s chance for a quality win over a top ten team was unsuccessful, as Duke seemingly scored at will en route to a 92-78 victory over the Wolfpack Wednesday night at the RBC Center.

The Wolfpack (11-6, 1-3) lost their third straight ACC game, and once again it was defense that doomed them. After being down 14 at the half, the Pack played well to cut the Blue Devil lead down to five, but could not get a stop as Raleigh native Ryan Kelly buried a three from right in front of Duke’s bench to stretch the lead back to eight. The Pack would not get closer than six the rest of the way, and every time they got some momentum Duke answered like you would expect a top five team to do.

Boston College Edges UVa, Final Score 70-67 (Streaking the Lawn)

Four Cavaliers scored in double figures tonight in a back-and-forth second half that left Virginia on the wrong side, as Boston College edged past the Cavaliers 70-67. Junior Assane Sene had quite the night, posting career highs with 11 points and 5 blocks. He was also one short of a double-double, with nine rebounds…

Another Dean Dome disappointment, but Brownell squeezing lots from Tigers (OrangeandWhite.com)

Ho-hum. Carolina’s streak of 55 straight wins over Clemson on its home court – an NCAA record – continues. The only thing distinguishing Tuesday was that it was somewhat close, the fourth time in the last 24 meetings that the Tigers had come within 10 points (including 2008, when Clemson blew an 11-point lead with three minutes left and lost 103-93 in double overtime).

Right? Wrong.

Consider that Clemson entered the Dean Smith Center with just nine players who began the season on scholarship. And that one – full-time starting guard Tanner Smith – left the game midway through the first half with a sprained knee ligament that will sideline him for Saturday’s visit to Maryland and perhaps beyond.

And that they entered the game with an eight-game winning streak. And that they’re far better than the team that lost its ACC opener at Florida State in mid-December.

You’ll realize that Brad Brownell is doing a pretty solid job, given the ingredients and circumstances that he inherited from Oliver Purnell.

This team plays hard. Every night. They have yet to be blown out; Tuesday’s loss was the largest of the season (Michigan won by eight points, Old Dominion by one, South Carolina by four and Florida State by six).

Weekend Preview

Maryland Preview: Winning on the road edition (Shakin the Southland)

If I were Coach Brownell, Williams would be keeping me up at night. Clemson has to find a way to minimize his impact on the game. There are two ways to do that:

  1. Constant double-teams whenever he touches the ball. Force Williams to pass out of the double-team and make Maryland’s guards make shots. Maryland’s supporting cast doesn’t worry me in the least. As a team they shoot 32.6% from Cliff Tucker has a good percentage at 37.7%.
  2. Get Williams in foul trouble. Williams is prone to fouls and will commit dumb ones if you keep going at him. When our big men get the ball they need to be aggressive and take it right at Williams, not fade away.The guards can get him in trouble too, because when Williams gets tired he tends to reach and not move his feet.

From Old Virginia tells us about the Virginia Cavalier basketball team (From the Rumble Seat)

FTRS: Who wins on Saturday afternoon?

Brendan: Ah yes. Two teams with a remarkable inability to take advantage of each others’ weaknesses – this should be interesting. UVA has a little more size than GT, but not much to speak of. UVA has buckets of trouble defending three-pointers and GT is miserable at shooting them. The game’s in Charlottesville, so I’ll go with UVA. The pack-line defense should be pretty good at keeping your guys out of the lane; nobody’s getting any points in the post; and I think Bennett will be happy to let the Jackets hoist threes til their arms fall off. If they go in, so be it, but they haven’t as yet. Our guys are coming off three tough losses, any of which could have been wins, and I think they’ll be hungry to see their efforts pay off. I expect a good crowd and I think UVA wins, 63-53.

ACC Weekend Preview, Jan. 21 (ACC Sports Journal)

Key for the Eagles
Zone defense. Playing man-to-man is a mistake in Tallahassee. Just ask Duke or N.C. State.

Key for the Seminoles
Fixing the offense. Against Miami’s two-three zone, they missed their first 10 shots and were held to 55 points Wednesday night. After those kind of numbers you can bet they will see some more two-three from the Eagles.

Numbers Game
The Eagles rank second in the ACC in field goal percentage (48.0 percent) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.0 percent) while the Seminoles rank first in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.9 percent) and first in the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.6 percent) … FSU forward Chris Singleton is the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 in steals (ranks 3rd with 2.1 spg) and blocks (tied for 7th with 1.8 bpg) … The Seminoles are off to their best start in the ACC (4-1) since 1992-93, when they reached the Elite Eight.

Prediction
Boston College 66, Florida State 63

Full Weekend Slate/Our Picks

From the ACC…

Saturday, January 22
Georgia Tech at Virginia …………….ACC Network…..Noon
Pick: ‘Hoos 67-63
Clemson at Maryland ………………..ACC Network…… 2:30
Pick: Terps 64-61
Boston College at Florida State ………….. ESPNU…… 7:00
Pick: Eagles 66-62
Longwood at Virginia Tech ……………………………….. 7:00
Pick: Hokies 83-59
Duke at Wake Forest ……………………………ESPN…… 4:00
Pick: Blue Devils 81-51
Sunday, January 23
Miami at NC State …………………….ACC Network…. 12:00
Pick: ‘Canes 68-66
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Picks for the weekend? Looks like a couple blowouts are in order, but BC-FSU and Clemson-Maryland will be ones to watch…


ACC Baseball Countdown: Month to Go!

Posted by Brandon Rink on January 19, 2011 under ACC Baseball | Comments are off for this article

Leggett's Tigers were the last ACC team standing last year and are top 5 preseason in 2011. (Per Anderson Independent Mail)

And now we come to the big sport that the ACC is actually good at.

Coming off a season with two teams in the CWS and eight teams in the NCAA Tourney, the conference, even after graduation and MLB Draft, is getting high marks into the 2011.

Collegiate Baseball named six ACC teams to their top 40 poll (my analysis included):

Rank School (’10 Final Record) Points
1. Texas Christian (54-14) 495
2. Florida (47-17) 494
3. UCLA (51-17) 493
4. Clemson (45-25) – Semi-instant reaction: Don’t quite see top 5 with Friday pitcher Casey Harman gone to MLB and key lineup stalwarts Kyle Parker and Mike Freeman there with him. They do return the majority of their lineup and have good young pitching – they will be good. 489
5. Vanderbilt (46-20) 486
6. Oklahoma (50-18) 483
7. Texas (50-13) 481
8. Texas A&M (43-21-1) 480
9. Oregon (40-24) 479
10. Stanford (31-25) 474
11. Arizona St. (52-10) 473
12. Cal. St. Fullerton (46-18) 470
13. Florida St. (48-20) – Semi-instant reaction: Hard to think FSU will be this far behind Clemson, but then again, they did lose some key players in the lineup, and how reliable is their rotation that was so spotty last year? 469
14. South Carolina (54-16) 467
15. Louisiana St. (41-22) 465
16. Connecticut (48-16) 462
17. Virginia (51-14) – Semi-instant reaction: The ‘Hoos took hits in the lineup and the rotation, but overall, they seem a bit underrated to me with Danny Hultzen back to lead them. 457
18. Miami, Fla. (43-20) – Semi-instant reaction: Man, it seems like Grandal was with Miami forever, he’s gone and so are the mainstays in the ‘Canes rotation. This is probably a bit optimistic. 455
19. Georgia Tech. (47-15) – Semi-instant reaction: Jackets lose 6 players who played at least 60 games in the lineup – leaving only 2 to return + ace Deck McGuire is gone too…safe to say, Collegiate Baseball is reaching here. 454
20. Louisville (50-14) 451
21. Rice (40-23) 450
22. Arizona (34-24) 445
23. Wichita St. (41-19) 443
24. Coastal Carolina (55-10) 440
25. Auburn (43-21) 437
26. St. John’s (43-20) 435
27. North Carolina (38-32) – Semi-instant reaction: UNC was right on the edge of making the NCAAs with a losing conference record – they return a decent amount and could very well finish higher than this. 434
28. San Diego (37-22) 427
29. Fresno St. (38-25) 426
30. Pittsburgh (38-18) 425
31. Washington St. (37-22) 422
32. Arkansas (43-21) 418
33. California (29-25) 417
34. U.C. Irvine (39-21) 414
35. College of Charleston (44-19) 412
36. Florida Atlantic (37-24) 409
37. Kansas St. (37-22) 407
38. Hawaii (35-28) 402
39. Baylor (36-24) 401
40. Kent St. (39-25) 398
Other Teams Receiving Votes: Florida International, U.C. Riverside, N.C. State, Oregon St., Mississippi, Kentucky, Southern California, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi St., Oklahoma St., Missouri, South Florida, Nebraska, Cal Poly, Long Beach St., U.C. Santa Barbara, Florida Gulf Coast, Liberty, Minnesota, Michigan, James Madison, Southern Mississippi, East Carolina, Central Florida, Central Michigan, Bethune-Cookman, Illinois St., San Diego St., Tennessee Tech., The Citadel, Texas St., Northwestern St., Oral Roberts, Louisiana Lafayette, Western Kentucky, Lamar, Portland, Pepperdine, Gonzaga, Nevada, New Mexico St., San Jose St., Charlotte, Mercer, East Tennessee St., Jacksonville, Georgia St., Tulane, Utah Valley, New Mexico, Stony Brook, Iowa, Wisc.-Milwaukee, Canisius, Bryant, Jacksonville St., Dallas Baptist, Le Moyne.

But wait, there’s more! Found this poll off the Miami site (which is awesome because they have a PDF with their returning players + stats along with who they lost – kudos to the ‘Canes!).

College Baseball Lineup Top 30

6. Clemson – Their blurb: Parker back on campus but as QB not OF. Hinson/Schaus deep threats every time @ plate. Most of good but not great staff returns 4 CWS run.
9. Florida State – Their blurb: Noles lost top player Holt yet Tallahassee talent abounds. Most of lineup returns as does most of rotation. 21st time a charm 4 FSU in CWS?
20. Virginia – Their blurb: Cavs set program record w/ 51 wins in ‘10, but many lost 2 pro ranks. Top talent remains w Hultzen n others but reinforcements r requirement
24. Miami - Their blurb: Canes have no returning SP & lost slugger Grandal. Theres always talent @ the U, but development never certain. Speed & power r positves.
29. Georgia Tech – Their blurb: Tech batters were 2nd in nation in HRs last yr but almost all gone in ‘11 except Skole. Starting pitching could be team’s focal point.

Thoughts on the ACC contenders? We’ll have more ACC baseball countdown goodness coming up with our picks for the divisions, players to watch, and games to see…