Expanded ACC Standings – 2/28/2006

It was a tough week for the ACC. Duke struggled against two weak teams, one a non-conference game, and the bubble teams all played like they didn’t want the hassle of booking travel to the NCAAs. Virginia actually deserves credit for stepping up onto the bubble early in the week with a huge win over BC, but they slipped right back on the weekend in Clemson. Maryland continued their post-McCray slide (think maybe it’s worth the money to pay someone to walk these chumps to class?) and FSU hurt themselves by dropping one in Blacksburg. The only team that clearly helped their position was Miami, but they only played once and are still a long shot.
But before you get too depressed and concede that the ACC will get only four teams in (and maybe only two good teams), consider this excellent Al Featherston article. If read through the whole thing (and you should), you’ll come across this very interesting nugget – since the expansion to 64 teams, no BCS team with 20 wins by Selection Sunday has ever been left out of the tournament. Wow! I had never heard that before. Florida State is sitting at 17-8 with two regular season games remaining. Given how they played in Durham, it’s conceivable that they could beat Duke at home, but failing that, they have a good chance to win in Miami. Given their seeding, they’ll likely get a pretty weak team in their first ACC Tournament game and if they win, another chance for a win on that Friday. That’s a lot of good opportunities to get three more wins. Yeah, it’s Florida State and they aren’t really known for stepping up and winning when they need to, but their chances are actually better than I thought.

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The Week That Was – 2/20 – 2/26/2006

02/21/06 Virginia 72, Boston College 58 – Charlottesville, VA
Maybe BC got a bit too lax after winning eight straight ACC games. They certainly didn’t play like they respected Virginia in this one and they paid the price. The Cavs led from the opening bucket and looked impressive all the way.
This win produced a sudden surge in excitement in Charlottesville about Virginia’s suddenly realistic NCAA Tournament chances. Unfortunately for the Cavs, the week had just begun …
02/22/06 Duke 73, Georgia Tech 66 – Atlanta, Ga.
Is the pressure getting to Duke and J.J. Redick? They played tight in both games this week as the media pressure surrounding Redick’s run at the ACC scoring record grew. Most people, including me, thought Redick would get the points he needed in this game, but he didn’t and Duke almost took an L. Fortunately for them, Shelden Williams has been solid all season and kept them in this game.

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Stealing From Blogs

It was bound to happen eventually. There is a lot of competition in the world of sports reporting. There are a lot of news sources and only so many stories. On top of that, you have the explosion of sports blogs in the past couple of years and it was inevitable that some chump with a paycheck would eventually steal from a blogger.
Now, I’ll admit that the evidence in this case isn’t rock solid, but it’s pretty close. The guy may not have plagiarized the actual words of the article in question, but the topic certainly appears stolen, especially when you consider that it’s the second such “coincidence.”
It’s a good thing I don’t write well enough to be stolen from.

Getting Carried Away

Thanks to the guys at ACC BasketBlog for reminding me that I wanted to write about this.
Motivated by J.J. Redick’s run at the ACC scoring record, Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer wrote a piece this weekend on the greatest ACC backcourt and frontcourt players. To get right to the point, his list angered me.
I was mildly amused when he put Redick at #4, ahead of the much better Johnny Dawkins (don’t confuse the difference between points and overall quality).
But while I thought his guard list was a bit out of whack, I was outraged at his list of big men. Ralph Sampson, one of only three players to win national player of the year three times, didn’t crack Tudor’s top five! Listen, I loved Shane Battier. Hell of a player, but would anyone, anyone, take him over Tim Duncan or Ralph Sampson? Are you serious? Would you take Battier over Grant Hill, Len Bias, James Worthy and Antawn Jamison?
And let me say this about Lennie Rosenbluth, Tudor’s #3, he may well have been a great player, but I immediately discount any player who played in the all-white era. A blind man can see that basketball without black players just isn’t the same game. Maybe Rosenbluth would have dominated in any era, but we’ll never know, so I’m going to assume that his numbers are vastly inflated (and he was only a 1st team All-American once even then). If you took all of the black players out the ACC now, Nik Caner-Medley would probably be first team All-ACC!
If you want to see a much better list of ACC greats, check out Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s effort. I think he too is forgetting some guys, but it’s not an easy task. He certainly gave it more thought than Tudor did.

Why Sports Are Great

You’ve probably seen this by now, but I’ll risk an obvious post for this story. An autistic kid served as his high school basketball team’s manager for several years. It was a great job for him, as he loved basketball and loved being around it. In the last game of the season, the decided to reward the young man’s hard work by letting him suit up. With four minutes left in the game, which was already decided, the coach decided to send him in. All of his teammates tried to get him some points, but he missed his first two tries. Then, he got “hot as a pistol.” One after another, shots started falling until he had hit six consecutive three-pointers and scored 20 points. Watch the clip. Trust me.
It’s getting a little dusty in here, isn’t it?
Alternate source here.

Simmons At The NBA All-Star Game

I’m sure you’ve all ready this by now, but bear with me. I hardly ever make it over to the World Wide Leader’s website anymore. When I do, it’s usually to read a Bill Simmons column and this one about his visit to the NBA All-Star game is a great one. In particular his stories about running into Charles Oakley and Michael Jordan are fantastic.
The closest I’ve ever come to having similar stories is seeing Chuck Nevitt at a 3-on-3 tournament in Cary a few years back. Not really the same thing, is it?

Featherston On Redick And Morrison

This J.J. Redick versus Adam Morrison race really has been remarkable. In my history of following college basketball, I can only recall one player from a major school leading the nation in scoring – Glenn Robinson of Purdue (to be fair, I didn’t even remember that he led the nation until this Featherston article). There were a couple of other All-American-type players from smaller schools – Hersey Hawkins and Lionel Simmons, but generally national scoring leaders are unknown players from unknown schools. It’s just normally contraindacitive to have a great team and one guy scoring so many points.
But this year we have J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison. Both great players at great programs on teams having great seasons. Duke is #1 and Gonzaga is #5.
It’s incredible really.
On top of that, I’ve found myself really enjoying watching Redick climb the list of the ACC’s all-time scorers. I didn’t realize just why I was liking it so much (other than the pleasure of watching a player compete at such a high level for a whole season) until I read Al Featherston’s piece on the two scorers. He points out that as Redick moves up the list, we get to remember and reflect on those past great players. That’s it! This season has been not just about the present, but the past. I’ve found myself reminiscing about past Virginia greats Curtis Staples and Bryant Stith as well as some of my favorite ACC players, like Johnny Dawkins. I loved watching Dawkins play – he was so smooth and fast.
So, even if you’re getting tired of the Redick and Morrison hype, read Featherston’s article. As always, he does a great job of looking into the past to explain the present.

The Week To Be – 2/21 – 2/27/2006

02/21/06 Boston College @ Virginia – Charlottesville, Va. RSN (XM 191) 7:00 PM
(I’m going to pretend that this game hasn’t happened yet and write what I planned on writing before the game. My thoughts about the actual game will go in the comments.)
This game doesn’t really have any particular meaning, but that probably goes to Virginia’s advantage. Virginia actually matches up well with BC because they have opposite strengths. BC will win inside and if UVA can win outside, they have a real chance
(See, I’m a real Nostradamus.)

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Expanded ACC Standings – 2/21/2006

It wasn’t a good week for the ACC bubble teams. Maryland and Virginia both slipped in almost every poll while Miami and Florida State basically spun their wheels. For Miami and UVA, their only chance was to make some big gains in the final few weeks of the season, and that didn’t happen this week. Maryland loss to Clemson dropped them from a high bubble team to a low one. Florida State sort of treaded water in most of the computer polls, but somehow impressed the RPI enough to bump them up seven notches. They still have some work to do in that department, but if just winning the games they should win and losing the ones they should will keep them moving up, then they should feel pretty safe.
That FSU bump is yet another piece of evidence that the RPI is a crappy rating system. I mean, they lost on the road – fairly convincingly – to a good NC State team and then won at home – also fairly convincingly – against a mediocre Virginia team. Neither outcome was unusual or unexpected in any way. The power ratings reflected that; the Noles dropped two spots in the Pomeroy ratings, but stayed the same in both Sagarin and Greenfield. The RPI however really liked that week and jumped them from 67 to 60. Miami had a similar week, losing at home to UNC and on the road at Duke, but yet jumped 10 spots in the RPI!

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The Week That Was – 2/13 – 2/19/2006

First off, a site note. I, and others, normally comment on games during the week in the “The Week To Be” threads. So, sometimes what I write here is redundant and other times I am just brief because I already discussed a game in that previous thread. Feel free to jump in and say what you want about any games. There are lots of people reading this site these days and it shouldn’t be hard to get a conversation started.
02/13/06 Boston College 59, Stony Brook 47 – Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Can anyone explain why this game happened? There’s really no good excuse for it.
02/14/06 Clemson 89, Maryland 77 – Clemson, SC
A torpedo right in the side of Maryland’s NCAA chances. Kinda like the losses to Clemson last year, huh? The Terps aren’t dead yet, but this one hurts. They need a big win to offset it. At Chapel Hill is their best opportunity. Coincidently, I’ll be at that game, my first live game in a couple of years.
02/14/06 Duke 93, Wake Forest 70 – Durham, NC
Remember when this game meant something? Like, last year.

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