Tag: Virginia

2018-2019 ACC Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

R.J. Barrett, Duke

Preseason All-Conference Team:

R.J. Barrett, Duke

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Luke Maye, North Carolina

Marcquise Reed, Clemson

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

R.J. Barrett

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Duke

Coach K has another stacked squad featuring the top recruiting class in the county. R.J. Barrett leads that class along with internet sensation Zion Williamson. There is so much talent here, but not much depth or experience. There is also a question mark at the center position. I’d feel a lot better about putting Duke in the Kansas/Kentucky class if there were upperclassmen who could be trusted. However there is still plenty here to win Coach K his sixth national title.

2. Virginia

On a Friday night last March, Virginia let every other team that had ever been upset in the NCAA tournament off the hook by becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. That embarrassment has been a cloud hanging over the program all offseason. However, sophomore forward De’Andre Hunter missed that game and it would, at the very least, been a lot more competitive if he played. Tony Bennett remains one of the best coaches in college basketball and has Hunter along with juniors Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy returning with Alabama transfer Braxton Key immediately eligible. This is still a dangerous squad.

3. North Carolina

Ever since senior forward Luke Maye hit the game winning shot against Kentucky in the 2017 South Region Final, he’s become a household name nationally. The all-American candidate leads a Tarheel team that expects freshmen Nassir Little and Leaky Black to make instant impacts. Coach Roy Williams is going to have to learn to live life without Joel Berry and Theo Pinson, but with those three along with seniors Kenny Williams and Cam Johnson, he has plenty to work with this season.

4. Syracuse

Remember when Syracuse was in trouble with the NCAA and they had a plan for head coach Jim Boeheim to transition from coaching? Me neither. Boeheim has a really good team on his hands led by junior guard Tyus Battle. The all-league candidate leads a team that also returns sophomore forward Oshae Brissett and senior guard Frank Howard. The Orange has been living life on the bubble recently, but that shouldn’t be an issue this season.

5. Clemson

No one thought head coach Brad Brownell would even make it to coach last season’s team let alone make the sweet 16. However, that’s exactly what happened and the Tigers are primed to make a return trip to the Big Dance this season. Senior all-conference candidate Marcquise Reed leeds an experienced team that also features fellow seniors Sheldon Mitchell and Elijah Thomas. Freshman John Newman III is expected to help offset the losses of Gabe Devoe and Donte Grantham.

6. Virginia Tech

Buzz Williams really talented core returns lead by senior guard Justin Robinson and junior forward Kerry Blackshear, Jr. Senior Ahmed Hill and sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walk are also expected to be key components. The biggest question is when senior forward Chris Clarke will return from suspension. Whenever, it will be, there should still be enough to get the Hokies back to the Big Dance.

7. Miami

With Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker in the NBA, coach Jim Larranaga is going to have to find pieces to replace their production. The pieces he’s most likely to turn to are in his backcourt with sophomore Chris Lykes, junior Dejan Vasiljevic, senior Anthony Lawrence II and grad transfer Zach Johnson. Expect the Hurricanes to continue to be one of the toughest outs in the league.

8. Florida St

Another NCAA tournament season turned into a surprising tournament run for the Seminoles as they came withing a game of the Final Four. C.J. Walker transferring leaves a question mark at the lead guard, but head coach Leonard Hamilton will use a lot of people anyway. Seniors Phil Cofer and Terance Mann will lead this Seminole club with junior Trent Forrest also being key cog in the backcourt. Freshman Anthony Polite’s health will be a key concern for the Seminoles. Expect senior David Nichols to contribute as well.

9. NC State

No one expected NC State to make the NCAA tournament in head coach Kevin Keatts’ first season at the helm. This season may be a little tougher with Al Freeman, Leonard Freeman and Omer Yurtseven all out of the program and freshman Manny Bates injured to start the year. Sophomore Braxton Beverly and senior Torin Dorn will have to step up. Transfers Blake Harris and C.J. Bryce will be important as well.

10. Boston College

The Eagles are a Jerome Robinson return from being a sure-fire tournament team. That’s still not out of the realm of possibility though. Juniors Ky Bowman and Nik Popovic return along with senior Jordan Chatman to try to replace Robinson’s production. Freshmen Jairus Hamilton and Wynston Tabbs could become key contributors as well.

11. Louisville

Not many programs dealt with more upheaval than this one last season as the Cardinals played with an interim coach. They’re now led by Chris Mack, a coach many say is one of the best in the country. He’ll have plenty to repace as Quentin Snider, Deng Adel and Raymond Spalding are all gone. Akoy Agau transfers back into the program with Khwon Fore, Steven Enoch and Christen Cunningham to provide instant relief. However the success of the season most likely rests squarely on the junior forward V.J. King’s development.

12. Notre Dame

Bonzi Colson’s early season injury put a damper on the Irish’s entire season, and it still almost made the tournament. He along with Martinas Geben and Matt Farrell will be difficult to replace. Complicating things is sophomore forward D.J. Harvey’s health. He’ll need to be ready to help junior guard Temple Gibbs. Freshman Prentiss Hubb has a bright future for Notre Dame, but will be thrown to the fire early. Could be a rebuilding year in South Bend.

13. Georgia Tech

Josh Pastner’s first year almost saw the Yellow Jackets sneak their way into the NCAA tournament. Last year was a totally different story. NCAA violations, false claims against Pastner, and an embarrassing home loss to Grambling and he is squarely on the hot seat. With Josh Okogie, Ben Lammers and Tadric Jackson have moved on so Pastner will lean on his guards, junior Shembari Phillips, junior Jose Alvarado and freshman Michael Devoe. Shaping up to be a long year.

14. Wake Forest

Speaking of hot seats, Danny Manning’s is warm in Winston-Salem. Bryant Crawford and Doral Moore did him no favors by leaving school early. His team lacks the talent right now to compete in the ACC. If it weren’t for Pitt having to replace just about its entire roster this would be the worst team in the league. It could get ugly in the Triad.

15. Pittsburgh

Not many coaches had a more disastrous run than Kevin Stallings at Pitt. That’s why Jeff Capel is now the coach. The Panthers are going to rely on transfers and freshmen entirely in a situation that is going to take some time to turn around. Freshman Xavier Johnson will be a good player down the road. Capel has his work cut out for him.

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BRACKETOLOGY: Sunday March 11, 2018 AM (Welcome UMBC, NC-Central, Texas Southern, Kansas, San Diego St, Villanova, Buffalo, Montana, Virginia, Marshall, Stephen F. Austin, Arizona, New Mexico St, CS Fullerton)

This bracket is good for games through 3/10

Last Four In: Arizona St, Florida St, Oklahoma, Baylor

Last Four Out: USC, Middle Tennessee, Saint Mary’s, Louisville

Next Two Out: Notre Dame, Syracuse

SOUTH

1.Virginia(ACC)16.LIU-Brooklyn(NEC)/North Carolina Central(MEAC) Charlotte

8.Butler9.Texas A&M

5.Texas Tech12.Marshall(C-USA) Dallas

4.Houston13.South Dakota St(Summit)

6.Rhode Island11.Baylor/Florida St Detroit

3.Michigan St14.Wright St(Horizon)

7.Kansas St10.St. Bonaventure Nashville

2.Tennessee15.Iona(MAAC)

WEST

1.Xavier16.Radford(BSouth) Pittsburgh

8.Virginia Tech9.Missouri

5.Wichita St12.New Mexico St(WAC) San Diego

4.Arizona(P12)13.UNC-Greensboro(SoCon)

6.Miami(FL)11.Oklahoma/Arizona St Boise

3.Michigan(B10)14.Bucknell(Patriot)

7.Nevada10.Creighton Charlotte

2.North Carolina15.Harvard

MIDWEST

1.Kansas(B12)16.Georgia St Wichita

8.Providence9.NC State

5.Ohio St12.San Diego St(MWest) Boise

4.Gonzaga(WCC)13.College of Charleston(CAA)

6.Arkansas11.Texas Wichita

3.Purdue14.Montana(BSky)

7.TCU10.UCLA Nashville

2.Duke15.UMBC(AEast)

EAST

1.Villanova(BEast)16.Cal St Fullerton(BWest)/Texas Southern(SWAC) Pittsburgh

8.Alabama9.Seton Hall

5.Kentucky12.Buffalo(MAC) San Diego

4.West Virginia13.Murray St(OVC)

6.Clemson11.Loyola-Chicago(MVC) Dallas

3.Auburn14.Lipscomb(ASun)

7.Florida10.Oklahoma St Detroit

2.Cincinnati15.Stephen F. Austin(Southland)

We Need to Duplicate Xavier/Cincinnati

 

Cincinnati v Xavier
(Michael Hickey -GETTY IMAGES)

 

We don’t have many rivalries in any sport these days with the kind of unfiltered hate that we saw on Saturday when Xavier beat Cincinnati. I’m not talking about from fan bases. Of course Duke fans hate North Carolina fans and vice versa. Same thing with Louisville/Kentucky and Purdue/Indiana.

However it was clear that the teams and coaches hate each other when Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin went after Xavier guard J.P. Macura in the post-game hand shake line.

The post-game press conferences were even better whe Cronin claimed that Macura told him to “F-off” three times and Xavier head coach Chris Mack claimed that former Bearcat Lance Stephenson called him the “N-word” three times, but he still shook his hand.

Nothing got too serious between the two teams and the altercation paled in comparison to the brawl from 2017. However, it was a not-so-friendly reminder that this type of game can exist in 2017.

Zip’em Up!

National Player of the Week: Trae Young, Oklahoma. Oklahoma seems to get one of these guys every few years. Young isn’t long for college basketball, but he sure is making the most of it. He’s averaging 28.7 points and 8.7 assists per game and he may single-handedly earn the Sooners an NCAA tournament berth.

Stock Up: Arizona St. It appears that Bobby Hurley finally has it rolling in Tempe. The Sun Devils are currently undefeated and have already beaten San Diego St, Kansas St and Xavier this season. The lowest point total for the Sun Devils so far has been 75 as they’ve scored at least 90 in every other game. If they can get through their next three games against St. John’s, Kansas and Vanderbilt with at least a 2-1 record then they’ll be well on their way to an at-large berth.

Stock Down: Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech lost to Grambling. GRAMBLING. At home. This season has gotten off to a pretty crappy start for the Yellow Jackets. From having to suspend players for NCAA violations to this. There’s enough talent here to make the NCAA tournament once they get the full roster together, but Grambling.

Stock Up: Virginia. I don’t know how head coach Tony Bennett is doing it. The Cavaliers are undefeated again and look to be contenders in the ACC. They’re in the reload and not rebuild phase of the program and if Bennett starts landing recruits that may be a notch above what they’re getting now, watch out.

Stock Down: Oregon. The Ducks are not in the reload phase of their program it appears. Oregon lost its 46-game home winning streak when Boise St beat them with a halfcourt buzzer-beater. That lost in-and-of itself would be ok if it weren’t for Oregon looking subpar in the PK80. I thought this team was a bubble team before the season started now Oregon is running out of opportunities to store resume-building wins.

This Week’s Top 25:

1.       Duke

2.       Kansas

3.       Michigan St

 

4.       Villanova

5.       Miami

6.       Texas A&M

7.       Virginia

8.       Gonzaga

9.       Wichita St

10.   Notre Dame

11.   Florida

12.   Minnesota

13.   Kentucky

14.   Xavier

15.   North Carolina

16.   Seton Hall

17.   West Virginia

18.   Arizona St

19.   TCU

20.   Cincinnati

21.   Nevada

22.   Rhode Island

23.   Purdue

24.   Florida St

25.   USC

Fear the North

 

011516.S.GFH.UNDMBB
North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

In the first time since both universities have been Division I participants, both North Dakota and North Dakota St have legitimate shots to  go dancing.

At the publishing of this post, North Dakota is  in first place by a half-game in the Big Sky while North Dakota St is tied for first in the Summit with South Dakota.

This would be quite the feat for the two universities and would give the state bragging rights over the Dakota to the South. Both schools will most likely be 15/16 seeds, but that doesn’t take away of how historic this will be for the state. Besides, the world needs to see North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker in the Big Dance.

Stock Up: Wichita St. As you will see below the Shockers are an No. 8 seed without an at-large resume. That’s because I believe what my eyes tell me when I watch them play. This is a tournament team. They are destroying the Missouri Valley. In 13 of their 15 conference wins, the margin has been double digits. In fact they beat Illinois St, the team they’re tied with for first place, by 41 points earlier this month. You don’t want to see this team in March.

Stock Down: Virginia. I’m starting to wonder if the rest of the ACC has figured Tony Bennett out. It happens from time-to-time, but the Cavaliers are currently on a four-game losing streak and haven’t looked good in the process. There is now a scenario where Virginia is playing in a 7/10 or 8/9 game in the Big Dance.

Stock Up: Bucknell. On Sunday, Bucknell traveled to Boston University to play a game for first place in the Patriot League. When the game was over; there was no doubt. Bucknell throttled Boston 86-66 to take a two-game lead and are now the odds-on favorite to win the automatic bid.

Stock Down: Mountain West. Last week we spoke about the downturn of Conference USA and this week it’s the Mountain West, which appears to be a one-bid league again. Long-term this appears to be more of a blip than a trend as it has major state universities. However, more is expected of this league.

 

Last Four In: TCU, Seton Hall, Syracuse, California

Last Four Out: Alabama, Marquette, Providence, Illinois St

This bracket is good for games through 2/19.

EAST

1.Villanova16.UC Irvine/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo

8.Virginia Tech9.Saint Mary’s

5.Florida St12.Texas-Arlington Orlando

4.Cincinnati13.Monmouth

6.Maryland11.Dayton Orlando

3.Florida14.UNC-Asheville

7.Northwestern10.Kansas St Indianapolis

2.Louisville15.Florida Gulf Coast

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville

8.Oklahoma St9.Michigan

5.Wisconsin12.Nevada Buffalo

4.West Virginia13.Vermont

6.Creighton11.Tennessee Salt Lake City

3.UCLA14.Belmont

7.South Carolina10.USC Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Texas Southern

WEST

1.Gonzaga16.North Dakota St Sacramento

8.Wichita St9.Georgia Tech

5.SMU12.Syracuse/Seton Hall Milwaukee

4.Purdue13.Bucknell

6.Iowa St11.California/TCU Greenville

3.Duke14.Valparaiso

7.VCU10.Michigan St Sacramento

2.Oregon15.Furman

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa

8.Miami(Fl)9.Xavier

5.Notre Dame12.UNC-Wilmington Milwaukee

4.Butler13.Akron

6.Virginia11.Middle Tennessee St Indianapolis

3.Kentucky14.Princeton

7.Minnesota10.Arkansas Salt Lake City

2.Arizona15.CSU Bakersfield

 

 

BRACKETOLOGY: Sunday March 4, 2012 (Welcome UNC-Asheville, Murray St, Belmont)

Quick Note on two Teams: Tennessee wasn’t being considered as an at-large candidate up until the final week, but now you can’t ignore its wins.  Virginia was seen as a lock, but now you can ignore its lack thereof.

Last Four In: Tennessee, Virginia Commonwealth, Northwestern, Colorado St

Last Four Out: South Florida, Arizona, Oregon, NC State

SOUTH

1.Kentucky16.Stony Brook/Savannah St Louisville

8.Iowa St9.California

5.Notre Dame12.Northwestern/Virginia Commonwealth              Portland

4.Gonzaga13.Long Beach St

6.Wichita St11.Connecticut Albuquerque

3.Baylor14.Akron

7.Florida St10.Alabama Pittsburgh

2.Ohio St15.Belmont(ASun)

WEST

1.North Carolina16.Bucknell Greensboro

8.Kansas St9.Saint Louis

5.UNLV12.BYU Albuquerque

4.Georgetown13.Drexel

6.Vanderbilt11.Miami(FL) Louisville

3.Wisconsin14.Davidson

7.Louisville10.Harvard Omaha

2.Missouri15.Valparaiso

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.UNC-Asheville(BSouth)/Mississippi Valley St               Omaha

8.Memphis9.Cincinnati

5.Murray St(OVC)12.Colorado St/Tennessee Nashville

4.Indiana13.Iona

6.Florida 11.Xavier Nashville

3.Marquette14.Nevada

7.New Mexico10.Virginia Columbus

2.Michigan St15.UT-Arlington

EAST

1.Syracuse16.Long Island Pittsburgh

8.Purdue9.Mississippi St

5.Temple12.Texas Portland

4.San Diego St13.Oral Roberts

6.Creighton11.Southern Mississippi Columbus

3.Michigan14.Middle Tennessee St

7.St. Mary’s10.West Virginia Greensboro

2.Duke15.Montana

In Graphical Form