Tag Archive: North Carolina


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. 


After hearing about early declarations to the NBA draft and who will be staying in college for at least one more year I think I have  a pretty solid grip on who should be in the top 5 for the preseason.  And here they are:

North Carolina looks forward to a promising season bringing a top recruiting class and returning class

1)  North Carolina. The Tar heels may not have one of most dominating recruiting classes but they have a very solid recruiting class including 2 top 100 ESPNU recruits.  What’s more impressive for the Tar heels are the players returning.  After winning the regular season ACC Title and an Elite 8 appearance the Tar Heels will return their top 3 scorers AND rebounders from that squad.  Also, they return all 5 of their starters.  Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall all decided to return to North Carolina. This is said to have influenced Harrison Barnes decision to stay as well.  I won’t talk too much about North Carolina’s two McDonald’s All Americans they have coming in.  These two kids will supplement a well experienced and tough squad.  I like North Carolina’s chances this coming season.

2)  Ohio State.  I like the Buckeyes here because they have some young talent coming back in Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger.  They also have Aaron Craft coming back, who ran the point for the Buckeyes for most of last season, also a freshman (going to be a sophomore).  Even though they’re losing some senior leadership in David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, and Jon Diebler they have William Bufford to step up and take on the leadership role.  They also have a very solid recruiting class coming in including 4 ESPNU top 100 recruits, 2 of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  I look for the Buckeyes to reload and pick up where they left off and can see them possibly winning 30 games for the second straight season in a row.

3)  Kentucky.  The decision hasn’t been made quite yet on whether or not Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones will return to the Wildcats squad. Doron Lamb has also stated that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.  As of right now they have the top recruiting class according to ESPNU signing 4 top 100 recruits.  All of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  John Calipari seems to reload every season with an outstanding recruiting class, which I find a little questionable.  However, Kentucky is my favorite to win the SEC this coming season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make another run to the Final Four.

4)  Texas.  With Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson making the decision to come back Texas is going to be tough to beat.  Not to mention the return of J’Covan Brown (possibly the best 6th man of the past season) who can score lights out when on.  Texas also has the 5th best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They have one McDonald’s All American joining there already tough squad.  I have a feeling with all the Kansas Jayhawks players leaving early Texas is the favorite in the Big 12.  I can also see Texas making a run to the National Championship game.

5)  Duke.  Even though the Blue Devils are losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler I feel the Blue Devils will be just fine.  They still have Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry coming back.  I can’t forget to mention Duke’s incredible recruiting class.  They have the 3rd best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They’re bringing 5 top 100 high school recruits.  Including Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee’s little brother, Marshall Plumlee (both are McDonald’s All Americans).  4 of Duke’s recruits are McDonald’s All Americans.  Here’s my equation that will produce Duke’s success for next season:

  • Incoming Talent (Recruits) + Returning Talent (Mason, Andre, and Seth) + Top 5 best all time coaches in the game (Coach Mike Krzyzewski) = Contender for ACC Title and Final Four appearance

I know that equation is pretty intense but it’s the most accurate and accepted equation amongst basketball fans, coaches, players, and so called experts.  I came up with it myself just so you all know.

These are my top 5 preseason picks for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.  Soon I will have up my 6-10 followed by my 11-25 preseason picks.  Hope you all enjoyed reading and I thank you for stopping by. Also, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on preseason picks!

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).