Tag Archive: ACC


ACC/Big Ten Challenge


As a fan of the Big Ten the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is something I strongly look forward to each year! It gives me some perspective on how tough the Big Ten will be in their out of conference play and also gives me something to look forward to when conference play begins. 

 

It’s a well known fact that the ACC has dominated this challenge. Winning 10 out of the 12 challenges.  The Big Ten’s only two victories have been won by only a single game and have taken place the last two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11).  This is the first season where this challenge could end in a tie (12 games will be played between the two conferences. Six on November 29th and six more on November 30th). 

I’m going to lay out my picks for the ACC/Big Ten matchups game by game and add some notes for games I think are bigger and that will be of more interest to viewers. 

Date/Time

Away

Home

Victor

Record(s)

11/29/11 7pm EST

Michigan

Virginia

Michigan

Big Ten 1-0

11/29/11 7:15pm

Northwestern

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

Tied 1-1

11/29/11 7:30pm

Illinois

Maryland

Maryland

ACC 2-1

11/29/11 9pm

Miami

Purdue

Purdue

Tied 2-2

11/29/11 9:15pm

Clemson

Iowa

Clemson

ACC 3-2

11/29/11 9:30pm

Duke

Ohio State

Ohio State

Tied 3-3

11/30/11 7:15pm

Indiana

NC State

Indiana

Big Ten 4-3

11/30/11 7:15pm

Penn State

Boston College

Boston College

Tied 4-4

11/30/11 7:30pm

Florida State

Michigan State

Michigan State

Big Ten 5-4

11/30/11 9:15pm

Virginia Tech

Minnesota

Virginia Tech

Tied 5-5

11/30/11 9:15pm

Wake Forest

Nebraska

Nebraska

Big Ten 6-5

11/30/11 9:30pm

Wisconsin

North Carolina

North Carolina

Tied 6-6

I strongly believe this season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge will end in a draw.

Games of Note:

Michigan @ Virginia. I think this will be Michigan’s chance to show the nation what they’re made of this year.

Duke @ Ohio State. This will be a great game to watch no matter who the victor is.  I think Sullinger will be a handfull down low in the paint and will also have a dominating presence on the defensive end of the floor and lead the Buckeyes to victory.

Florida State @ Michigan State. The Spartans will win in a close matchup but will have the opportunity to prove all the doubters wrong about projected misfortunes this season.

Wisconsin @ North Carolina. Not many people see North Carolina losing a game this year. I project NC to win with the help of home court advantage but it’ll be a close game regardless. Don’t be surprised if the Badgers and Bo Ryan pull off the upset. 


The frist ever game to be played on a ship will take place this Friday! The game will be on a Navy carrier on Veterans Day in support of the duties and sacrifices all service men and women give freely to this great country, America. 

The first ever Carrier classic is between, highly favored to win the National Championship, North Carolina and Michigan State.  Needless to say this should be an interesting season for the Spartans. Having lost almost all of their starters and leading scorers from a season ago should lead to a frustrating season for Spartan fans.  But, never count Tom Izzo out. He’s one of the best NCAA coaches and has potential to surprise the doubters, which includes me. 

Let’s take a look at this matchup.  The Tar Heels have a loaded team.  They literally lost just under 10 points per game from a season ago (Justin Knox and Larry Drew II who together averaged 9 ppg).  They also have an incredible freshman class coming into Chapel Hill this season.  With Barnes and Zeller teaching the young guys what it means to be a Tar heel and to lead this team NC fans will have a lot to cheer and brag about.

Now compare that to the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans had a promising team last season and high expectations but, they didn’t perform well and lost a few games in non-conference play and were slaughtered by a Purdue Boilermaker team that was hosting the College Gameday staff.  On top of that disappointing season the Spartans also lost practically their entire team. Draymond Green returns, which should give some light and hope, to lead this dwindled down group.  The Spartans, in their entire returning class, have a lousy 38% of their scoring returning.  Compare that to the Tar Heels who have 93% of last years scoring coming back. 

With many unanswered questions on this Spartan squad this is not the way I would want to start the 2011-2012 season.  Taking on this tough and favorable North Carolina team could lead to a beat down.  I see the Tar Heels walking away with the first Carrier Classic Trophy: ( Pictured Below). 

 


The ACC is set to have an epic season battle for 1st place.  Too bad this battle will only be between two teams this year, North Carolina and Duke.  Although, Virgina and Virginia Tech have chances to pull some upsets against these two teams to make things interesting.  The rest of the ACC? Honestly, it’s one huge toss up to see who will finish between 4th and 12th.  Here is how I see it playing out in the ACC.

1. North Carolina

The Tarheels are ranked  #1 in all of the preseason polls.  I hate to follow the mainstream here but it’s hard to argue that North Carolina has the best team on paper.  Some would argue for Ohio State but lets get real.  North Carolina is returning all of their top 7 scorers from a year ago. This includes both Plumlee brothers and Tyler Zeller.  They’re also bringing in 2 ESPNU 100 recruits to add support. 

                                                                                                     2. Duke Blue Devils

I see Duke being an extremely difficult team to beat this season. They’ll definitely give North Carolina a run for their money.  The only set back Duke has? Losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler.  However, Duke is bringing in 5 extremely high quality recruits. Did I mention those 5 recruits were high quality? Try having the pleasure of bringing in 5 ESPNU 100 recruits in a single season. Good things are bound to happen. 

 

3. Virginia Vavaliers

Virginia has a pretty solid team this season. They’ll battle every game and give Duke and the Tarheels some nail biters! Though the Cavaliers lost Mustapha Farrakhan (second leading scorer with 13.5 ppg last year) they’re bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits.  Experience and young talent will allow them to compete in the ACC this year.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

The loss of Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen will really hurt the Hokies this year. But, they’re bringing in 3 ESPNU 100 recruits that’ll help them suceed this year.  Due to the lack of talent and experience elsewhere in the ACC this year I put the Virginia Tech up this high.

5. Miami Hurricanes—-> The Hurricanes have solid experience coming back to lead this bunch.

6. Maryland—-> Maryland lost many keys to success from last season but they have a stud returning in Terrell Stoglin. He’ll be able to carry this team to at least a 6th place finish in the ACC this year.

7. Boston College Eagles—> Losing most of their staff from last season they’ll struggle early on.  But, I see their recruiting class catching stride late in the season and pulling the Eagles out of the depths of the ACC.

8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons—> The Deacons are losing some good talent from last year.  Luckily Travis McKie is returning and looking for a breakout season.  They should be alright but will struggle with ACC oponents this year.

9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets—> The loss of Iman Shumpert will hurt the Yellow Jackets significantly.  They do have 1 ESPNU 100 recruits coming in but, it won’t be enough to catapult this team into the top half of the conference.

10. Florida State Seminoles—> Losing one of the most feared defensive players and rebounders in the league from a season ago, Chris Singleton, should have a huge negative impact on this Seminole team.  Antwan pace (ESPNU 100 recruit) should be able to put points on the board but his lack of defensive and overall college experience will keep him from having the same impact as Chris Singleton had.

11. North Carolina State Wolfpack—> Not much going for the Wolfpack this year.  They’ll struggle throughout the entirety of the season.

12. Clemson Tigers—> The Tigers only have one double-digit scorer per game returning from last season. They’ll struggle just like the Wolfpack this season.


I’ve been on a short hiatus.  Sometimes work and life just keep you from doing things you’d rather be doing. But, I’m back again with some more predictions.  This time I’m going to touch on the Big XII.  Later this week, hopefully later tonight or tomorrow I’ll have ACC predictions for this season. These predictions will be similar to the Big East predictions, however, I’ll have a quick explanation for my picks. 

1. Baylor Bears

I think Baylor has a really good chance at winning the Big XII this season. Yes, they’re losing a very key player in LaceDarius Dunn but, They’re bringing back some experienced talent in Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy (Who’s looked upon to fill Dunn’s absence).  Baylor is also bringing in some raw talent in their recruting class.  Quincy Miller could play a vital role for the Bears this season at the Power Forward position and give them an added lift.

2. Kansas Jayhawks

I’m well aware of the fact that Kansas is losing pretty much their entire team from last season (Morris twins, Tyrel Reed, Josh Selby, Brady Morningstar, and Mario Little).  The Jayhawks are bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits, Ben McClemore and Naadir Tharpe.  They also have some good experienced talent coming back, just not as many players as Baylor has coming back though.  Don’t count Bill Self out either.  Since being at Kansas Self hasn’t won the Big XII only once.  He always has his team ready to perform and kansas may very well jump back on top and assume control over the Big XII. 

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys

This may seem like a surprisingly high pick for the Cowboys, and I’d have to agree. But, I like who they have coming back and they seem to bring a battle with them every game.  Look for them to win many close games and climb towards the top of the Big XII this season.

4. Missouri Tigers—> There’s been much talk about the Tigers leaving the Big XII this year. Who cares? They’r bringing back all 5 of their top 5 scores from a season ago, all of which averaged 10.0+ ppg.   Experience + Talent = promising season.

5. Texas Longhorns—> Some may want the Longhorns finishing higher, as would every fan, but I don’t see them having the success they’ve had in the recent past. They not only lost a ton of talent with all that left but they also lost a ton of experience. Yes, the Longhorns are bringing in some good talent but they’re inexperienced. I put Texas up this high only due to the lack of depth, talent, and experience in the Big XII. 

6. Kansas State Wildcats—> K State lost Jacob Pullen, arguably the best player Kansas State has seen in the past 25 years.  Curtis Kelly also left the Wildcats. Leaving them without two of their top three scorers. The Wildcats are bringing  in a big and talented class but they’ll need more than that in order to be successful in the Big XII this season.

7. Oklahoma Sooners—> The Sooners are only losing their top scorer from last season and Nick Thompson who earned solid minutes last season. Losing Cade Davis could prove to be huge but with Oklahoma relying solely on experience this coming season I think they’ll do alright.

8. Texas A&M Aggies—> The Aggies are bringing back their top two scores from last season and are bringing in an ESPNU 100 Point Guard, Jamal Branch. This combination will allow them to win some games they may have lost a few years ago.

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders—> The Red Raiders are losing 4 of their top 5 scorers from last year. This will prove to be a huge problem. They’re bringing in a good recruiting class but the lack of experience and leadership will prove to be too much to handle for Texas Tech this year in the Big XII.

10. Iowa State Cyclones—> The addition of Korie Lucious, from Michigan State, (if he’s eligible this season) won’t be enough for immediate success this year.  The Cyclones lost a bunch of talent, leadership, and experience and it will take some time to get back to where they once were, which wasn’t all that impressive to begin with.

March Madness Baby!


Finally, March is here!  I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted.  I spent my spring break in the Bahamas without internet access.  It was difficult not being able to keep up with all the scores and games but I can’t complain, I was in the Bahamas.

For this post I’m just going to post a few thoughts about Selection Sunday and some of the match ups.  This years tournament is crazy.  I strongly disagree with some of the seeding and with who got in and who didn’t.  I’m not going to get into all the numbers or reasons as to why I think a team should have or shouldn’t have gotten in.  But here are some teams I really thought should have gotten in.

1. I really thought Colorado should have gotten in.  Every one knows that it’s hard to beat a team 3 times in one season.  Colorado did that against Kansas State this year.  Yeah, KSU may have not had their expectations met but they’re still a good team.  Colorado took care of business against them.  They also have wins over Texas and Missouri.  Colorado had 21 wins this year.  Most of their losses came in the Big 12, a tough conference to play in.  I think Colorado deserved to get in…especially over Georgia or Illinois

2. Virginia Tech I thought should have been in as well.  VT’s resume isn’t as strong as some others but I do think the Hokies should’ve been given a chance.  I can easily pick a few teams that I don’t think should be in where VT would fit well (or more deserving).  Virginia Tech has wins over Florida State, Penn State, and Duke and some close losses to Purdue and North Carolina.  I think Malcolm Delaney could have made things interesting in this years tournament.

3. I’m not sure why but I’m a big fan of Missouri State this year.  They come out of the Missouri Valley Conference which has provided some very interesting games in the tournament in years past (including Northern Iowa’s upset over 1 seed Kansas in 2010 as a 9 seed).  The Bears don’t have many shocking wins but put up a very close game against Tennessee.  I still don’t agree with some of the teams that got in and I feel like it would have been fun to watch Missouri State make some noise in this years big dance.

A few teams that I think shouldn’t have made it are the following:

  • UAB
  • Clemson
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • USC
  • VCU

To me these teams lucked into the tournament.  These teams did not impress me during the season and I feel the Selection Committee could have chosen different teams that would have made the tournament more enjoyable to watch. Such as Alabama, Cleveland State, Saint Mary’s,even Harvard should have made it, and the fore mentioned teams above.

I’m also a little heated over some of the seedings that some teams received.  I was very surprised that Georgia (who was supposedly a bubble team) got a 10 seed.  I was really confused when I saw North Carolina receive a 2 seed as well as Florida.  Both the ACC and SEC were pretty weak conference this season and I don’t feel as if either team truly deserved a 2 seed.  San Diego State finally has an opportunity to prove me wrong.  I can’t believe they received a 2 seed over BYU who beat them twice.  Personally I have Penn State beating San Diego State.  That’s how much I disrespect SDSU, plus Talor Battle is on fire as of late.

I thought Texas and Louisville deserved a 2 seed.  I also think St. Johns should have been seeded higher.  Other than that I thought the seeds were distributed as they should have been.  This years tournament should be very interesting and I “CAN’T WAIT” (to quote the infamous Bart Scott) til Thursday when the tourney takes off on the road to crown 2011’s National Champion!


The Pittsburgh Panthers is another team that meets the criteria of a National Championship team.  You should know the criteria by now but if you don’t no worries. I’ll tell what they are right now:

  1. Team must have at least a 10 game win streak at some point during the season.
  2. Team’s victories must average double digit margin.  +10 points/victory
  3. Team must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

Pitt’s Preseason rank: 5 (I ran into a problem with this.  From the information I have Ohio State is said to have also been preseason ranked #5.  If anyone can help me out with this that would be great.)

Pitt’ MoV: 16.4

Pitt’s record: 26-4 (14-3 Big East)

RPI: 7

I’m not going to act like I know a whole bunch about the Panthers.  I do know that all of their losses are against tough opponents (Tennessee, Notre Dame, St. John’s, and Louisville).  All of those teams are/were ranked at some point this season.  They say that the Big East Conference is the toughest basketball conference this year, that could be true and I will not refute that claim here. I have not had the time to look at each team individually and their RPI’s and key wins/losses but I’m flabbergasted that the Big East might get 11 teams in the tournament.  I will thoroughly enjoy watching the Big East get knocked off fairly quickly in the first two rounds, and of course with that many teams in the tournament somebody has got to get past the Elite 8 and I’m confidently positive that Pittsburgh is the Big East team that has the best shot at making the Final Four.  Some might say well that’s easy to call.  No kidding.  I think the Big East has so many teams eligible and ranked because other big time conferences are down (mainly the ACC).  But, Pitt’s season team stats are very impressive considering the “level” of competition they supposedly play.  They rank in the top 50 in the nation in the following categories; Points per game, Assists per game, Rebounds per game, and team Field Goal % (46th, 7th, 3rd, 23rd respectively).  I’m not a math major but that’s incredible!

Like I said, I do not know very much about Pitt even though I wish I did.  The numbers only sometimes lie and with their numbers I can see them making it to the Final Four.  But, just like any other team they could be upset.  Which keeps the game and especially the tournament exciting!

If you know more about Pitt please fill free to leave comments about them and your opinions on how far they will go in the upcoming March Madness Tournament.


As mentioned earlier today Duke was 1 of the 5 teams that have met the criteria for being a National Champion.  If you’ve forgotten what the criteria were I’ll remind you promptly:

  1. Team must have at least a 10 game winning streak at some point during the season
  2. Team’s Margin of Victory must average double digits. So +10 points/victory
  3. Team must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

Duke’s preseason rank: 1

Duke’s MoV (Margin of Victory): 20.7

Duke’s Record: 27-3 (13-2 ACC)

Duke’s RPI: 4

At the beginning of the season I thought Duke was a very impressive team.  They have two wins over 40 points (46 and 52).  I realize these wins were against bad teams but give some credit for playing some D and making shots/layups/and free throws.  As of late though I have lost a lot of confidence in Duke.  They’ve lost to Florida State whose a tournament hopeful, Virgina Tech who I think is one of the first four out as of right now, and St. Johns.  Florida State is a good team and I know when you’re expected to win every game and you lose people point fingers.  I’ll give Florida State credit of a well played game and not bash the Dukies for a loss that was bound to happen.  Virginia Tech was looking good for a little bit and making a case for themselves to the selection committee but this loss was unimpressive to say the least.  As for the St. Johns loss, who hasn’t St. Johns beat?  Enough said on Duke’s losses.  Their very few and not much to fuss about.  I think Duke’s success is in the hands of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, obviously.

Coach Krzyzewski

Coach K needs these two to step up and be the leaders they can be.  The loss of Kyrie Irving dampers their ability to win title.  I see Duke making it to at least the Elite 8 and think they’ll make the Final Four, but that’s the end of the road for the Blue Devils.  Like I said in a previous post, predictions are just predictions.  It’s great when you get them right but when you’re wrong who really cares, unless you’re betting on the games….That’s just wrong anyway! I look for Coach K to have his team ready to perform well but not able to prevail and win another title.

I’m interested in hearing what other people have to say and their opinions on how far they think Duke will make in this year’s March Madness Tournament!

Duke Blue Devils


Many of my friends have asked me what’s most surprising about this years college basketball season so far.  Two things that have really surprised me are the Duke Blue Devils(10-0) and The San Diego State Aztecs(10-0).  I’ll talk about the Aztecs in a later post after I’m able to watch them and read up on them a bit more.  Duke so far has really caught my attention.  Yes, they did win the National Championship last year and I expected them to be good once again this year.  But, I did not expect them to dominate as they have so far this season.  Thus far into the season they have only played two top 10 teams, #4 Kansas State University and #6 Michigan State University (rankings are at the time the game was played), and have blown out every other opponent in very convincing fashion.  They stomped #4 KSU by 14 points and beat #6 MSU only by 5 points.  I’ll admit KSU didn’t bring they’re “A” game that night and looked shell shocked, but I have to give Duke credit, Duke took care of business and came out of that game with a very convincing victory.  Some might look at the score of the MSU game and say, “5 points. That’s not that impressive”.  If you watched that game you know that Duke dominated every facet of the game.  They out-rebounded, out-hustled, and all around out-played the Spartans.  They forced MSU to play their game and in turn Michigan State looked uncomfortable to say the least.

That leads to more questions, what makes Duke so good? How are they able to crush the competition?   Ladies and gentleman, the answer is Kyrie Irving.  Irving, a freshman, leads the team in scoring with 17.4 ppg.  Kyrie Irving is shooting 45% from behind the arc and 90% from the free throw line.  He is also getting to the charity stripe more than any other Duke player.  Coach Mike Krzyzewski changed the offense to make sure Kyrie was the focus point of the offense.  That’s saying a lot considering he has Kyle Singler and the Plumlee brothers (Mason and Miles).  Irving’s talents and skills complement his knowledge of the game perfectly.  This combination allows Irving to make split second decisions and to follow through making very explosive and exciting plays. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils Kyrie suffered a big toe injury and is out indefinitely.  When asked if Kyrie Irving could be out for the season Coach Krzyzewski responded, “He could be, he could be”.

So what does Irving’s injury mean to Dukie nation?  Quite frankly I think Duke fans can rest easy.  With the amount of talent Duke has and a nonthreatening upcoming schedule Duke should be fine.  Nolan Smith, who will be Irving’s replacement, is second on the team in scoring (16.6 ppg).  He’s also shooting 30% from 3-point land and 75% from the free throw line.  Yes, Smith can at times play out of control and isn’t the player that Irving is but he’s a serviceable point guard on a squad that has more scoring threats than some conferences.  Kyle Singler has shown the ability to single handedly take over and win a ball game.  Throw in Nolan Smith, Mason and Miles Plumlee and you still have a solid 4.  Compliment those 4 with Andre Dawkins or Seth Curry and you have a good 6 man rotation.  The only immediate threats I see on Duke’s schedule are Maryland(Jan. 9th), Florida State(Jan. 12th), and Virginia(Jan. 15th).  However, I still think they’ll handle these squads with ease and will continue to prove that they are the #1 team in the nation.  They play Boston College on Jan. 27th and Maryland again on February 2nd.  If Kyrie Irving isn’t back by then the Blue Devils should have enough game experience to be comfortable playing together and should prevail holding on to the top spot in the nation.  If Irving is back by those games I see no chance for any team in the Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC).  Other important games to keep in mind for the Blue Devils are on Feb. 9th and the last game of the year on March 5th against the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Rivalry games always make for good contests and the outcomes are unpredictable.

Just because I think the Blue Devils are the best team in the nation so far doesn’t mean they won’t slip and open up the #1 spot for someone else to take over.  This early in the season the only team I’ve seen play consistent enough to give Duke a run for their money is the Kansas Jayhawks(9-0).