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Tag:College basketball
Posted on: July 27, 2009 3:31 pm
 

ACC Basketball 2009-2010 Early Outlook

ACC Basketball 2009-2010 Early Outlook

1) NORTH CAROLINA

Predicted Conference Record:
11-5

Losses:
Tyler Hansbrough (F) -  (20.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
Ty Lawson (G) - (16.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 3 rpg)
Wayne Ellington (G) - (15.8 ppg, 2.7 apg, 4.9 rpg)
Danny Green (G-F) - (13.1 ppg, 4.7 apg, 1.3 bpg)
Bobby Frasor (G) - (2.6 ppg, 2 rpg)
J.B. Tanner (G) - (1.1 ppg)
Jack Wooten (G) - (0.5 ppg)
Patrick Moody (F) - (1 ppg)
Mike Copeland (F) -  (0.8 ppg)

 

Additions: ranked 3rd overall class
John Henson (PF) – 1st ranked PF
Dexter Strickland (G) – 8th ranked SG
Leslie McDonald (SG) – 12th ranked SG
David Wear (PF) – 13th ranked PF
Travis Wear (PF) – 14th ranked PF

The 2009 NCAA champions return only one starter from their title run earlier this year.  The Tarheels will reload with a top-notch recruiting class and the return of senior SG Marcus Ginyard from a medical redshirt.  There is a lot to replace for this UNC team but there is some experience left over to mix in with the new blood.  The starting line-up will most likely include only one freshman, John Henson.  He is a great athlete with the ability to score both inside and out.  Henson is a dynamic player and should end the season as a Freshman All-American.  In the front court along with Henson in the starting line-up will most likely be senior Dion Thompson and sophomore Ed Davis.   Davis was a projected lottery pick if he had chosen to declare for the draft.  Expect him to be first team all ACC with the potential to lead the league in rebounds and blocked shots.  With sophomore Tyler Zeller and freshman forward twins David and Travis Wear competing for minutes, the UNC frontcourt should be among the best in the nation.  The backcourt will be the biggest question mark for this UNC team.  Larry Drew II will need to improve greatly from his freshman season.  There was a large drop-off in team play when Lawson was out with injury in ‘08-‘09.  Although he will not be expected to score a lot, it will be important for him to keep the ball going toward UNC’s basket.  Teams will press him early until he can prove that he can take care of the ball.  Ginyard will play a huge roll defensively and provide much needed leadership to an otherwise young team.  Freshman Dexter Strickland will be called on to handle the ball in some occasions and Leslie McDonald will be a solid defender and shooter off the bench.   This will be an interesting year for the Tarheels.  They will get better as the season moves along and be ready come tournament time.

Prediction:  Final Four

 

2) CLEMSON:

 

Predicted Conference Record: 
10-6

Losses:
Sophomore Terrence Oglesby (G) - (13.2 ppg)
K.C. Rivers (G-F) -  (14.2 ppg, 6 rpg)
Raymond Sykes ( C ) - (7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
Jesse Yanutola (F) - (0.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Additions: top 10 recruiting class
Milton Jennings (PF) – 8th ranked PF
Noel Johnson (SG) – 13th ranked SG
Devin Booker (PF) – 17th ranked PF
Donte Hill (SF) – 23rd ranked SF

 

With the loss of Rivers and Oglesby, Clemson will need to replace their 2 best three point threats.  They will try to do this with Noel Johnson, David Potter and the improvement of Demontez Stitt’s 3 point accuracy.  Clemson will be deep in the post with Booker (last year’s ACC leading rebounding at 9.7 rbg) and the incoming Milton Jennings and Devin Booker.  Look for Potter to begin the season as the starting 2 guard before giving way to Noel Johnson sometime before ACC play begins.  I think the loss of Oglesby will be addition through subtraction.  He was not a strong leader and averaged less than 2 apg over his 2 years.  Although he made 92 three point field goals last year (2.9 per game), he missed 145 attempts.  Unofficially, 90% of those 145 attempts were very bad shots.

This year Clemson has an opportunity to make up to their fans for finishing so poorly the last few years after having hot start.  Clemson was bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, but I think they will go much deeper into March Madness this year.

Prediction:  Elite Eight with potential to make it to the Final Four.


3) DUKE:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
10-6

Losses:
Greg Paulus (G) - (4.9 ppg)
David McClure (F) - (1.9 ppg)
Gerald Henderson (G-F) - (16.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
Elliot Williams (G) – (4.2 ppg)

Additions:
Ryan Kelly (PF) – 4th ranked PF
Mason Plumlee (PF) – 6th ranked PF
Andre Dawkins (G) – 3rd ranked SG in class on 2010 but allowed to enroll early and eligible for 2009 season.

 

After being embarrassed in the Sweet Sixteen last year, Duke hopes ACC POY candidate Kyle Singler can help the Blue Devils rebound to the greatness the levels reached earlier this decade.  The loss of Henderson to the NBA is a big loss, but they return 5 players that started at least 16 games last year.  Incoming forwards Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee will be expected to contribute immediately.   The early eligibility of Dawkins will give Duke much needed depth at guard, but is an unknown commodity.  The key to Duke’s season will be the continued growth and maturity of the returning players not named Singler.  Singler should be one of the best players in the ACC but can’t be relied on to do it all by himself.  Smith, Lance Thomas, and Miles Plumlee will need to show a marked improvement.  The biggest question mark for the Blue Devils is still their inside presence.  Although they brought in 2 top ranked players at the PF position, they both prefer to play facing the basket.  Coach K has been enamored with the international game while coaching the Olympics and I believe that is holding his college team back a bit.  If Duke gets any inside play from Zoubek, they will be better than advertised.

Prediction:  Sweet 16 with the talent to go deeper.

4) MARYLAND:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
9-7

Losses:
Dave Neal (F) - (8.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Braxton Dupree (F-C) - (2.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg)

Additions:
Jordan Williams (PF/C) – 16th ranked C
James Padgett (PF/C) – 25th ranked C

 

Maryland was one of only 3 ACC teams to escape the first round in the NCAA tournament last year.  The Terrapins are a curious team this year because we know that they will be better this year than they were last year.  The curious part is that no one is sure how good they were last year.  They were wildly inconsistent and many fans were once doing the unthinkable and calling for Gary Williams’ job.  This year should be better with Vazquez returning.  He led the Terps in all three major statistical categories.  He can single handedly win games by himself – the UNC game last year is a perfect example.  They return most of their starting lineup and the year of experience will help them improve on last year’s 21-14 record.  UMD lacked big men and relied heavily on the 3 point shot last year, often times running what amounted to a 4 guard offense.  The addition of their 2 big recruits should help them compete against the bigger teams in the ACC. 

Prediction:  Sweet 16 with Elite Eight potential


5) BOSTON COLLEGE:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
9-7

Losses:
Tyrese Rice (G) - (16.9 ppg, 5.3 apg)

Additions: none

 

BC finished last year’s season with a first round loss to USC in the NCAA tournament.  They lose their on-court leader and best scorer in Tyrese Rice.  BC will have experience and depth to rival any team in the conference.  They return 4 players that were together in 34 starting line-ups last year.  Junior Rakim Sanders, a 4-star recruit in 2007, will step in as an immediate scoring option.  He averaged 13 ppg and 4.5 rbg last year as a sophomore.  Coach Skinner runs a relatively complicated flex offense, so having experienced players on the floor is a large bonus for BC.  Trapani will have another solid, if not spectacular year.  Look for this team to pull off surprises and make it interesting in the NCAA tournament.

Prediction:  Sweet Sixteen


6) GEORGIA TECH:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
8-8

Losses:
Lewis Clinch (G) - (15.5 ppg)
Bassirou Dieng (C-F) - (1.2 ppg)
Gary Cage (G) - (0.7 ppg)
Alade Aminu (F) - (11.8 ppg, 8 rpg) 

Additions: ranked 5th overall class
Derrick Favors (C) – ranked #1 overall player
Mfon Udofia (PG) – 5th ranked PG
Daniel Miller (C) – 28th ranked C
Brian Oliver (SF) - 29th ranked SF
Kammeon Holsey (PF) – 30th ranked PF
Glen Rice (SG) – 31st ranked SG

 

Georgia Tech looks to make a huge improvement over last year’s terrible season.  The Yellow Jackets only won 2 conference games in 2008-2009.  This year they bring in Derrick Favors, the top overall recruit according to Scout.com.  He is as good as advertised and will combine with Gani Lawal to make a very formidable front court combination.  After finishing second in the ACC with 9.5 rebounds per game, Lawal was projected as a first round draft pick but chose to come back to Tech for another year.  The biggest plus for Tech this year is that Shumpert will not have to play the point.  He is an unbelievable talent at the 2 spot but averaged nearly 4 turnovers a game while playing out of position.  Tech brings in Mfon Udofia (the 5th ranked point guard in the class), Maurice Miller is a year older (and healthy), and they will get guard help from 5th year senior D’Andre Bell after sitting out a year with a medical red-shirt.  I expect to see Udofia starting at the point and Shumpert playing a much more comfortable 2 guard position.  I would have the Yellow Jackets above .500 in conference play if their conference schedule was more favorable.  They have to play UNC, Duke, Florida State, Wake Forest, and Clemson twice.  They only play NC State and Virginia (both expected to be the bottom 2 teams in the ACC) once each.  If Tech beats the teams they are supposed to beat and can will 18-20 games, they will get an NCAA tournament nod even with a losing record in the ACC.

Prediction:  NCAA tournament round of 32 with potential to go further.

7) WAKE FOREST:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
8-8

Losses:
James Johnson (F) – (15.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
Jeff Teague (G) – (18.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.5 apg)

Additions:
Ari Stewart (SF) – 8th ranked SF
C.J. Harris (SG) – 24th ranked SG
Konner Tucker (PG) – JC transfer 

 

Another ACC team that finished the season with a disappointing loss in the first round of the NCAA, Wake Forest is hopeful that the losses of Jeff Teague and James Johnson will not set them back very far.  The key to Wake’s success this season will be guard play.  Wake Forest stumbled near the end of last season as Teague showed some signs of wear.  The good news is that Wake will be returning PG Ishmael Smith, who was a 2 year starter prior to a foot injury last year.  He will be a solid senior leader for the club this year. Another senior, L.D. Williams will be instrumental in replacing Teague’s production.  7 foot senior Chaz McFarland, 7’ sophomore Ty Walker, and 6’10” Toney Woods will be important pieces to the puzzle this year.  Walker and Woods were both top 10 centers in the 2008 recruiting class and are expected to garner much more playing time this year.  Combined, these 3 players have plenty of ability to help ease the loss of Johnson. The one certainty for Wake this year is Al-Farouq Aminu.  He will be good, very good.  After freshman season averages of 13 points and 8 rebounds a game, he will be the focal point of the offense and should average nearly 18 and 10.  Aminu needs to improve his ability to play on the perimeter, but already has the ability to be the ACC player of the year.  I think Wake takes a step back during the regular season, but has the ability to do so much more.  The clock is ticking for Gino Gaudio to prove himself as a coach worthy of a job in the ACC.

Prediction:  Round of 32 with sweet 16 potential.

8) FLORIDA STATE:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
8-8

Losses:
Brian Hoff (G) - (1 ppg)
Toney Douglas (G-F) - (21.5 ppg)
Uche Echefu (F) - (8.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg)

Additions: ranked 24th overall class
Michael Snaer (SG) – 3rd ranked SG
Terrence Shannon (PF) – 28th ranked PF

 

FSU won 10 games in the conference last year for the first time in 15 years, but finished with a disappointing loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tourney.  The loss of Toney Douglas will definitely hurt on both ends of the floor, especially offense.  The addition of Michael Snaer is big time.  He is ready to contribute immediately on the offensive end.  Look for him to be the starter at 2 guard to begin the season.  FSU returns a lot of height and frontcourt talent, but they must improve their rebounding margin to be successful.  They will look for Alabi, a projected lottery pick, for a little more scoring inside and Derwin Kitchen, a 2nd year JC transfer, is a capable ball handler and leader.  Look for Chris Singleton to improve on his freshman totals of 8 ppg and 5 rbg.  I expect him to have a big impact and challenge for a spot on the All-ACC second team.   A lot of questions for FSU will be answered before most teams even begin to practice. They started organized practices on July 17th due to a tour in Spain next month.

 

Prediction:  Sweet Sixteen with potential to reach the Elite Eight.

9) VIRGINIA TECH:

Predicted Conference Record:
7-9

Losses:
A.D. Vassallo (G-F) - (19.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
Cheick Diakite ( C ) - (3.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg)

Additions:
Cadarian Raines (C) – 9th ranked C
Erik Green (PG) – 17th ranked PG
Manny Atkins (SF) – 27th ranked SF
Ben Boggs (SG)

 

Virginia Tech lost in the second round of the NIT to Baylor last year.  The bad news is that the Hokies will most likely struggle to replace Vassallo’s nightly averages of 19 points and 6 rebounds.  The good news is they do return Malcom Delaney and Jeff Allen.  Delaney averaged 18 points and 4 rebounds a game while Allen averaged nearly 14 and 8.  They will be the cornerstone of the Hokie’s starting 5.  They will look to J.T. Thomas to continue where he left off last year, finishing strong after being slowed by a hernia operation at the beginning of the season.  Guard Deronzo Hudson will also play an important role in helping to replace the production of Vassallo.  Freshman Cadarian Raines will most likely immediately be in the rotation for minutes.  Raines is a 6’8” center that is a solid defender and rebounder but currently lacks the post moves to be a serious offensive threat in a league filled with big defenders.  Virginia Tech will most likely take a small step back, but will still compete for a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Prediction:  NIT

10) MIAMI:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
6-10

Losses:
Jimmy Graham (F) - (4 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Lance Hurdle (G) -  (7.3 ppg)
Brian Asbury (F) - (8 ppg, 5 rpg)
Jack McClinton (G) - (19.3 ppg)

Additions:
Durand Scott (SG) – 5th ranked SG
Donnavan Kirk (SF) – 23rd ranked SF
Garrius Adams (SG) – 28th ranked SG
Antoine Allen (G)

 

Miami was unable to make the NCAA tournament in 2008-2009.  They lost in the second round of the NIT to UF.  They lose their number one scoring option and team leader, Jack McClinton.  They will look to five star recruit, Durand Scott, to help pick up the slack that McClinton’s absence will leave.  Scott is a 6’4” big time player that has huge upside.  Miami will also return 6’8” Dwayne Collins.  Collins initially entered the 2009 draft before withdrawing to continue his college basketball career.  He will be the teams returning leader in both points (10.6) and rebounds (7.3).  He has to have a great season for Miami to succeed.  Other scoring options to replace McClinton will be James Dews (8.6 ppg in 2008-09) and Villanova transfer, Malcom Grant.  He is eligible to play this year after sitting last year out.  Miami will have to replace a team leader by committee and rely on the offerings of many rather than the gifts from a few.  They may take a step back this year before being more competitive in 2010-2011.

Prediction:  NIT

11) VIRGINIA:

 

Predicted Conference Record:
6-10

Losses:
Tunji Soroye (C) - (1.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Mamadi Diane (G-F) - (6 ppg, 2 rpg)

Additions:
Tristan Spurlock (SF) – 18th ranked SF
Jontel Evans (PG) – 19th ranked PG

 

2008-2009 was another disappointing season in Charlottesville.  The Cavaliers posted an abysmal record of 10-18 overall with only 4 conference wins.  The good news is that UVA returns most everyone from last season and brings in two respectable recruits.  They return their top 6 scorers including last year’s ACC rookie of the year, Sylvan Landesberg (16.6 ppg).  They also return their top 5 rebounding players, most notably Mike Scott (7.4 rbg).  Scott was also 2nd on the team in scoring averaging just over 10 points per game.  Freshman small forward Tristan Spurlock will most likely be given the opportunity to win the starting job at the beginning of the season.  He should be a good player for the next few years.  The biggest addition will be new head coach, Tony Bennett.  The Cavaliers will play good defense under Bennett.  Bennett is a definite upgrade over Leitao and should be worth a couple more conference wins.  Washington State was among the best defensive teams in the nation in Bennett’s three years there.  The offense will be stale and boring but they will win more games, which UVA fans will welcome with open arms.  It will take Bennett a couple of years to get his type of players onto campus, so patience with this program will be necessary.  Another plus is the schedule.  On paper, the Wahoos have the easiest schedule in the ACC.  The Cavaliers only play Duke (home) and UNC (away) once and they also get to play 4 games against Miami and NC State.  UVA gets better this year, but not good enough to compete in the top half of a very competitive and deep ACC.

Prediction:  They improve to a .500 overall club, but no postseason

12) NC STATE

 

Predicted Conference Record:
4-12

Losses:
Courtney Fells (G-F) - (11.3 ppg)
Simon Harris (F) - (1.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
Ben McCauley (F-C) - (12.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.0 apg)
Brandon Costner (F) – (13.3 ppg, 6 rpg)
Trevor Ferguson (G) – (5.5 ppg)

Additions: ranked 14th overall class
Richard Howell (PF) – 16th ranked PF
Deshawn Painter (PF) – 20th ranked PF
Scott Wood (SG) – 26th ranked SG
Jordan Vandenberg (C) – 7 footer from Australia
Josh Davis (SF)

 

The Wolfpack lost a lot of players off an already bad team.  NCSU is losing 53% of their scoring from last year and nearly 60% of their rebounding.  The team will be damaged even more by their top recruit, Lorenzo Brown (G) – 6th ranked SG, failing to qualify academically and having to take a detour to Hargrave Military Academy.  With the other additions, NC State’s ceiling is close to an identical conference record as they posted last year.  Sidney Lowe has not shown that he can produce more with less, so I look for the Wolfpack to take a step back this year.  The lone bright spot may be Tracy Smith.  Smith average 10 ppg and 4.5 rbg in about 18 minutes per game last year.  I expect to see him close to 16 and 8 this year.  Otherwise, this team won’t be much to watch.

Prediction:  No postseason

- All recruit rankings used were as ranked by Scout.com

Posted on: July 27, 2009 3:23 pm
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Posted on: March 5, 2009 11:00 am
Edited on: March 10, 2009 9:14 am
 

March Madness

As this time of year approaches it brings with it many quandaries.  Who to put in the tournament and who to leave out.  Do you reward teams like Maryland for playing a difficult schedule but struggled to an 18-11 record or a team like Davidson?  Maryland has wins over UNC, VA Tech, Michigan, Miami and @ Michigan State, but they were blown out by Georgetown, Duke and Gonzaga.  I believe it isn't just good enough to have solid teams on your schedule.  You have to win at least one of those games to prove you belong.  I believe that if you prove you can BEAT a good team it should go a long way toward solidifying your tournament resume.  Davidson beat WVU @ WVU and N.C. State.

I think it depends on what you believe the committee's job should be.  Is it to reward a team for their regular season or is it to put teams in the tournament that has a legitimate chance to win it all?  If it is the former you may lean to Siena and if it is the latter, you may lean towards Maryland.  If you match the Sienas and Niagaras of the college basketball world against the Marylands and Villanovas of the world, the UMDs and Villanovas win at least 8 out of 10 times.  Maryland and Villanova could beat any team in the tournament 4 out of 10 times.  I don't believe the same is true for most of the smaller conference teams.  Other than UNLV in '90 who had 4 NBA players on their starting 5, there hasn't been a team from outside the major conferences win an NCAA basketball title since
Loyola in 1963.  Another point worth making is that only two seeds #8 and above have ever made the championship game - Villanova and UCLA - both from BCS conferences. 

I know it sounds like I think the big conferences should get the nod, but that is where my dilemma begins.  There is nothing more exciting than watching a team like George Mason from 2006 or Davidson from last year pull off upsets and advance through the tourney.  I always have a hard time making up my mind about what I want the selection committee to focus on.  I am glad I don't have to choose.

 

 

 

Posted on: March 5, 2009 11:00 am
Edited on: March 10, 2009 9:14 am
 

March Madness

As this time of year approaches it brings with it many quandaries.  Who to put in the tournament and who to leave out.  Do you reward teams like Maryland for playing a difficult schedule but struggled to an 18-11 record or a team like Davidson?  Maryland has wins over UNC, VA Tech, Michigan, Miami and @ Michigan State, but they were blown out by Georgetown, Duke and Gonzaga.  I believe it isn't just good enough to have solid teams on your schedule.  You have to win at least one of those games to prove you belong.  I believe that if you prove you can BEAT a good team it should go a long way toward solidifying your tournament resume.  Davidson beat WVU @ WVU and N.C. State.

I think it depends on what you believe the committee's job should be.  Is it to reward a team for their regular season or is it to put teams in the tournament that has a legitimate chance to win it all?  If it is the former you may lean to Siena and if it is the latter, you may lean towards Maryland.  If you match the Sienas and Niagaras of the college basketball world against the Marylands and Villanovas of the world, the UMDs and Villanovas win at least 8 out of 10 times.  Maryland and Villanova could beat any team in the tournament 4 out of 10 times.  I don't believe the same is true for most of the smaller conference teams.  Other than UNLV in '90 who had 4 NBA players on their starting 5, there hasn't been a team from outside the major conferences win an NCAA basketball title since
Loyola in 1963.  Another point worth making is that only two seeds #8 and above have ever made the championship game - Villanova and UCLA - both from BCS conferences. 

I know it sounds like I think the big conferences should get the nod, but that is where my dilemma begins.  There is nothing more exciting than watching a team like George Mason from 2006 or Davidson from last year pull off upsets and advance through the tourney.  I always have a hard time making up my mind about what I want the selection committee to focus on.  I am glad I don't have to choose.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com