Monday, February 25, 2008

ACC Basketball Standings

Two things I discovered this week. 1) Pooh Bear Mars is the best name in high school football and 2) Russell Westbrook is a highlight waiting to happen.

1) Pooh Bear's youtube highlight.

I checked on and "Pooh Bear Mars" is how they list him (Although I'm pretty sure his real first name is Larvez). Check for yourself if you have doubts....

2). Russell Westbrook did it again. LenKendric Longmire is the most recent Pac-10 victim of Westbrook's ridiculous dunks.

It was a typical week in the ACC for every team but Virginia. The Cavaliers had a 1-9 in conference record coming in, and although they had 3 games scheduled, they bumped their ACC record to 3-9, beating Boston College on the road and NC State at home. What about that other game they were supposed to play against Georgia Tech this past week? Yea, that got postponed due to a leaky roof at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta this past Thursday. The ACC was forced to move the game to Monday March 3rd. Regardless, it's been a great week for the Cavaliers. They went undefeated for the week and have a week off to get rested/ready for a tough game at Miami on Saturday. To go along with this recent success, UVA commit Sylven Landesberg was named a 2008 McDonald's High School All American. He, along with seven other high school players that have committed to ACC schools, will play in the most prestigious high school all-star game in the country (basically if you make this game you're considered one of the top 30 basketball players in the US) on March 26 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Another ACC team that had a great week hails from the Sunshine state. Miami reeled off three wins last week against Georgia Tech, Duke, and Maryland. This impressive run has been lead by junior guard Jack McClinton who averaged 19 in these three Hurricane victories. The 22 points he dropped on #2 Duke kept the Devils from getting back in that game.

In the Fan Pick game this week UNC came out on top of Wake Forest at home. Same story here. Hansbrough bullied his way to 29 points. Ellington and Green shot well from the perimeter and UNC won for the fifth straight time. Most of you predicted this would happen while myself and someone else was wrong. I was thinking that Wake would take the momentum from the Duke win, coupled with UNC's lack of depth at the point guard position, and give UNC a run. So much for that.

ACC Standings (in conference, overall):

1. North Carolina: 11-2, 26-2
2. Duke: 10-2, 26-3
3. Clemson: 7-5, 19-7
4. Maryland: 7-6, 17-11
5. Virginia Tech: 7-6, 16-11
6. Miami: 6-6, 19-11
7. Wake Forest: 6-6, 16-9
8. Florida State: 5-8, 16-12
9. Georgia Tech: 4-7, 11-14
10. Boston College: 4-8, 13-12
11. North Carolina State: 4-9, 15-12
12. Virginia: 3-9, 13-12

(Name, Class, School, Average)

1. Tyler Hansbrough, Jr, UNC - 23.1 ppg (points per game)
2. Tyrese Rice, Jr, BC - 20.6 ppg
3. Sean Singletary, Sr, UVA - 18.8 ppg
4. Greivis Vasquez, So, Maryland - 17.5 ppg
5. Wayne Ellington, So, UNC - 16.7 ppg

(Name, Class, School, Average)

1. Tyler Hansbrough, Jr, UNC - 10.5 rpg
2. J.J. Hickson, Fr, NC State - 8.6 rpg
3. James Johnson, Fr, Wake Forest - 8.3 rpg
4. Trevor Booker, So, Clemson - 8.2 rpg
5. James Gist, Sr, Maryland - 8.1 rpg

(Name, Class, School, Average)

1. Tyrelle Blair, Jr, BC - 3.6 bpg
2. Bambale Osby, Sr, Maryland - 2.3 bpg
3. James Gist, Sr, Maryland - 2.2 bpg
4. Trevor Booker, So, Clemson - 1.9 bpg
5. J.J. Hickson, Fr, NC State - 1.6 bpg

(Name, Class, School, Average)

1. Greivis Vasquez, So, Maryland - 6.7 apg
2. Sean Singletary, Sr, UVA - 5.9 apg
3. Tywon Lawson, So, UNC - 5.7 apg
4. Tyrese Rice, Jr, BC - 5.1 apg
5. Eric Hayes, So, Maryland - 4.9 apg

(Name, Class, School, Average)

1. Tony Douglas, Jr, FSU - 2.9 spg
2. Jeff Allen, Fr, Virginia Tech - 2.2 spg
3. Jeff Teague, Fr, Wake Forest - 2.1 spg
4. Cliff Hammonds, Sr, Clemson - 2.0 spg
5. K.C. Rivers, Jr, Clemson - 1.9 spg

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week....

Deron Washington handin' out more facials.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Top Sophomores in the ACC.....

This week's post will be spent on determining the best 2nd year players in the ACC. At this point most of these guys have played in about 50 or so games in their college careers and many have established themselves as legit ACC (and nationally recognized) players already. If most of these guys decided to stick around for another year the ACC will be even more competitive next year.

ACC Ballers All-Sophomore Team

First Team:

1. Tywon Lawson, Guard, UNC

One of the top point guards in the country. Lawson is predicted to be a first round pick in either the 08' or 09' NBA Draft. His 2.45 assists to turnover ratio is unbelievable considering how much he has the ball in his hands. This is Ty ballin' at the end of the first half in a game played earlier this year at home against Nevada.

2. Wayne Ellington, Guard, UNC

Top two guard in the ACC. Wayne can shoot. From close in to very far away he can put the ball in the basket. He's averaging 16.6 points a night and not to long ago went off for a career high 36 against Clemson. He can also do this....

3. Greivis Vasquez, Guard, UMD

Vasquez is averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 assists (ranked first in the ACC), and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. You could argue that he's the most versatile player in the league. Check out this dime he dropped to Ibekwe (last season) against Florida State.

4. Trevor Booker, Forward, Clemson

Big boy is averaging a shade over 11 points per and 7.9 rebounds per game. The 6'7, 240lbs. Booker has dominated several ACC teams inside and gave Tyler Hansbrough of UNC all he could handle in both of those epic UNC-Clemson matchups this season. Apparently he can also get big on you down low. See for yourself....

5. Deon Thompson, Forward, UNC

Thompson is just solid on the low block. He can score with both hands and has great touch down low. Last year, he played third fiddle to Hansbrough and 2007 NBA first round pick Brandan Wright. This year, he is the starter and an excelleng sidekick for Hansbrough. On a team where he might be the third or fourth scoring option he's averaging 9.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Second Team:

1. Eric Hayes, Guard, Maryland

Hayes is giving Gary Williams' squad 34 minutes a night while averaging 10 points and 5 assists per. A part of Maryland's recent success has to be attributed to Hayes' improved field goal shooting. From that UNC upset on Hayes has shot 47% from the field and 45% from behind the three point line.

2. John Scheyer, Guard, Duke

Scheyer has been clutch for the Blue Devils all year long. This year he fits in best coming off of Duke's bench but he started the majority of last season and is like a 6th starter for the Blue Devils. This is John earlier this year in the Maui hitting a baseline three.

3. Gerald Henderson, Guard-Forward, Duke

Henderson has been a monster all year long. His length and athleticism makes him the most difficult matchup problem for teams when they play Duke. He's scoring a bit over 12 points per game. His best asset is that he puts pressure on the defense and almost forces the defense to foul him. He's also great in transition and can jump out of the gym.

4. Landon Milbourne, Forward, Maryland

Landon has really come on as of late. I'd heard about his improvements this summer but didn't know all of this was coming. Milbourne's personal success is almost in direct correlation with his teams. When Landon plays well, the Terps win.

(more from him later)

5. Shamari Spears, Forward, BC

Spears' 6.5 rebounds per night leads his team. He's also averaging 10 points per game for a streaky BC team. Shamari is undersized but plays very big. In the next two years he'll be tough to deal with for the rest of the league.

ACC Sunday Night Hoops

Duke 73 - Wake Forest 86 (2/17/08)

Wake Forest freshmen James Johnson and Jeff Teague combined for 50 points and 20 rebounds as the Demon Decons jumped all over Duke. This was one of the few Duke games this year where they just couldn't break the game open in the second half. Again, an athletic scoring big man and a lightning quick guard gave the Blue Devils trouble. Sophomore guard L.D. Williams helped put Duke away with this....

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week

Sophomore Landon Milbourne of Maryland introduces himself to Florida State's Uche Echefu.

Monday, February 11, 2008

ACC Recap....UNC goes 1-1 without Lawson and Maryland is on the rise....

This week we'll look back on the week it was for North Carolina. We all know they had the big game this past week against Duke in Chapel Hill but who could have guessed the most exciting game would be played this past Sunday against Clemson? Clemson. These two games were the first full games that the Tar Heels had played without starting point guard Ty Lawson and everyone was eager to see how they would fare. Here's how it went:

#2 Duke 89 - #3 North Carolina 78 (2/6/08)

Randomly Greg Paulus dropped 18 points by hitting three's from all over the perimeter against the undermanned Tar Heels. Paulus, who has been playing well as of late, hit one off balance three pointer while fading a way no less. At that point everyone realized that it might be difficult for UNC to come back, even with the game being in their arena. While the game had the typical big game feel of a UNC/Duke clash it never fully materialized into a gem. The key reasons being that UNC didn't show up as they normally do. A) Ty Lawson, their point guard and third leading scorer was hurt. B) Their second and fourth leading scorers, Ellington and Green, shot a combined 4-24. That means they basically got nothing from two of their top three scorers in a game against the number 2 ranked team in the country. I don't care how good Tyler Hansbrough (and he had 28 pints and 18 rebounds) is, that won't get it done. On the other side Duke and Coach K got big time contributions from freshman forward Kyle Singler and sophomore two guard John Scheyer. Singler dropped 14 (points) and 10 (boards) while Scheyer went off for 17. Very impressive game by Duke and their staff as it is obvious the Blue Devils are in the best shape of any team in the conference, if not the country. They basically ran UNC off the court. Should be very interesting in round 2 when Lawson comes back.

Clemson 93 - #3 North Carolina 103 2OT (2/10/08)

This game was the very much anticipated rematch of what happened just a short month ago. That first game ended in OT as UNC's sophomore guard Wayne Ellington hit his 5th three pointer of the game with .4 seconds left....This shot was a dagger and you've got to feel for the Tiger's after seeing this happen:

This game, however, finished up much differently for Clemson. While they didn't lose at the buzzer they did end up losing in heart breaking fashion. UNC , who had been tied with Princeton for having the longest home winning streak against one opponent, secured the record outright by handing Clemson it's 53rd straight loss in Chapel Hill (which is ridiculous). But I give credit where credit is due, and this Clemson bunch tried as best they could to get a W. Clemson, trying to make sure they didn't go down on the wrong end of history really came out strong in first half. Things seem to be going well as it looked as though Carlina was on the ropes. The Tigers were up 11 at the half and it felt like even more than that. Well what happend you ask? The second half started and Carolina blew up. Ellington hit jumpers from the corner, Hansbrough was a bull, and after an off night against Duke Danny Green returned to his normal self. While Hansbrough was clearly the game's MVP after going for an absurd 39 points and 13 boards, the biggest plays of the game might have been made 3rd string-turned starting point guard Quentin Thomas. Thomas, who had turnover issues early in his career made a huge layup to send the Heels' into the first OT.

....and then he hit these pair of free throws to put the game into double OT.

Once UNC miraculously managed to get into double OT it was a wrap. The Tigers had nothing more in the tank and Tyler Hansbrough just willed his way to win. One play Pyscho-T made both my my roommate and I with our jaws dropped. I would describe but it's best to just see for yourself. A 6'9 center playing perimeter defense should never be able to do this (starts 42 seconds into the video).

The Tigers (17-6, 5-4) will have other opportunities to rebound from this loss. Senior guard Cliff Hammonds went for 31 in the losing effort. Junior guard K.C Rivers added 14 points. For North Carolina (22-2, 7-2) the road get a bit easier as they go on the road to the play the Cavaliers of Virginia.

Best Game this Week:

Maryland at #2 Duke, Wednesday 2/13/08, 7pm

After a rocky start the Terps from Maryland have really hit their stride. This past week (2/2 - 2/9) the Terps have won three ACC games, two of which were on the road. Leading the way for the team from College Park has been 6'8 senior power forward James Gist. He's averaged 22 points and 8 rebounds per game during this stretch as he, along with the other four starters, have put this young team on their back.

Duke on the other hand has just been itself. Crushing teams with speed and skill while playing aggressive defense. The Blue Devils haven't lost in 08'. They are on an eleven game winning streak and really haven't been pushed since their loss against Pitt in the Garden. Which happened back in December.

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week..

James Gist's put back on Hansbrough in Maryland's season changing upset win....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

ACC Game of the week (2/03 - 2/10) - #2 Duke at #3 North Carolina (2/6)

The ACC season has been all over the place as expected this year as the majority of the teams are either 3-4 or 4-3 in conference play. Got a chance to watch Maryland fend off Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday and was impressed with the way the Terps' starters handled themselves in that environment. They easily handled Georgia Tech's press and basically kept the Yellow Jackets in check until the closing seconds. I've come to realize that most ACC games come down to the last one or two possessions when the host team is behind. Unfortunately for Tech their flurry of points down the stretch came to late as Bambale Osby and James Gist combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds. Another nice development for the Terps is the emergence of sophomore small forward Landon Milbourne. Landon is starting to come around as he's averaged about 15 points per game in his last two games. He had a great baseline drive and finish against Tech on Saturday and in the last two games he's had a huge offensive rebound and put back that seemed to give his team a jolt. On the flip side coach Williams and his Terps have several concerns it needs to address before tournament time. The two most glaring issues with Maryland right now are that they have no bench and Vasquez turns the ball over like it's his job. Greivis is a fantastic player and while he's putting up incredible numbers for a sophomore combo guard he has to take care of the ball a little better for the Terrapins to make a push in March.

The best play in the ACC came this past week as Deron Washington dunked (sadly) Virginia Tech's way into overtime against Virginia. While it wasn't as climactic as his last second, game clinching, overtime dunk a few weeks ago in Charlottesville,

in my opinion it changed the outcome and the momentum of the game. Basically Virginia Tech had been down all game but had somehow tied the game at 52 with 20 seconds left in regulation. Virginia's Sean Singletary missed a three point attempt at one end which was rebounded by Washington. Washington passed the ball off to a teammate, sprinted down the court, waited for teammate A.D. Vassallo to miss a layup, and then emphatically (it was really loud and I was only watching it on TV) dunked home the rebound. Clearly this sent the crowd into a frenzy. Somehow Singletary was able to draw contact on a drive to the basket even with everyone in the stadium knowing he was going to shoot. The Cavalier senior would then knock down two free throws to send the game into OT tied at 54. Unfortunately for the Hoos' that wasn't enough as Virginia Tech came out and absolutely dominated in the extra period. Tech's freshman big man Jeff Allen scored four points of Tech's 18 points in the extra period as the Hokies outlasted Virginia 72-65.

......On to the Game of the Week. At this point Duke and UNC have clearly seperated themselves from the pack. Duke handled Miami easily at home. The first half didn't go so well for the Blue Devils so the students decided to chuck the green environmental awareness shirts on the court at halftime. With normalcy restored Duke went out and crushed Miami in the second half. Seemed like every 60 seconds DeMarcus Nelson was on a fast break by himself. While Miami played much better at Cameron than many could have expected they just don't have the ability to execute like they needed to beat a team like Duke. Although the final score was 88 - 73 Duke Hurricane fans can find solace in knowing that 5 of their players scored in double figures. Like any game you always want to win on the road at Durham but unless you're a fan of a top 25 team you're really only hoping that your team plays well and doesn't lose by 50.....The UNC game ended about an hour or so ago and they finished up the week without a loss as well. While they handled BC by 22 they got a scare from FSU today. They ended up winning in overtime by 11 but they also lost point guard Tywon Lawson. At this point we don't know if he'll miss any games but he didn't return after he got hurt 4 mintues in to the game today. This doesn't bode well for them going into Wednesday night's matchup with the Blue Devils.

Backcourt - This is the area of the game that the Blue Devils have to dominate for an entire game. Paulus, Henderson, Scheyer, and Nelson have to play well and if Lawson is playing they have to do it for 40 minutes, not just the second half. These four all average between 10 and 15 points per game and have the ball in their hands the majority of the time in Coach K's up and down style. This tempo should definitely favor Duke as well if Lawson is out. UNC's backup point guard, the much maligned Quentin Thomas, will only be serviceable at best for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels. Luckily for Thomas he'll be running with big time sophomore two guard Wayne Ellington. Ellington is averaging a hair under 17 a night and is shooting 40% from behind the three point arc. Regardless of whether UNC goes with a hobbled Ty Lawson or Thomas they still have Ellington to shoot them back in the game if and when Duke goes on there patented runs. To go along with Ellington the Tar Heels have the extremely athletic Danny Green on the wing as well. Green is averaging 12 points per game as a reserve and is good for at least one WOW play a game. Lastly, but certainly not least is the matchup between DeMarcus Nelson and UNC guard Marcus Ginyard. Ginyard always D's up the opponents best guard and usually shuts them down. He really gets after it on D and is certainly Carolina's best on ball defender. If you haven't seen much of him think of a slightly shorter Jackie Manuel with slightly less athleticism but more tenacity on D. Ginyard is decent on offense but he is rarely called upon to shoot. On the other hand Nelson, a defensive star himself, is Duke's leading scorer and will have to do his best to score whenever he can. Taking Nelson out of the game offensively would severely reduce Duke's chance to win. On the flip side, it's also not out of the question that Gerald Henderson Jr. will be too physical for his former high school and McDonald's All America teammate Wayne Ellington to handle, forcing Coach Williams to put Ginyard on him. Clearly this is going to be the matchup to watch as their is ton of backcourt talent on both teams. While both backcourts' will throw punches I think Duke's experience and depth should win out here. Advantage Duke.

Frontcourt - This is where UNC, and any other top 25 team, should have an advantage against Duke. Basically UNC has about 3 or 4 guys who are bigger than anyone on Duke's roster. The Blue Devils clear lack of size should hamper them against Tyler Hansbrough, who right now might be the front runner in the National Player of the Year race. Hansbrough has basically dominated his opposition this year by averaging 21 points, 10 boards, and a little under 2 blocks a game. The guy also gets to the foul line enough to shoot 10 free throws a game. Along with the man dubbed 'Pyscho T' the Heels have 6'8, 240lbs Deon Thompson and 6'9, 235lbs Alex Stephenson for the Dukies to try and match up with. This will probably be a struggle all night as Duke's two starting front court players, sophomore Lance Thomas and freshman Kyle Singler, each go about 6'8 and 220lbs. While Singler and Thomas are more mobile that Carolina's front court they are definitely going to have trouble on the glass. Hansbrough brings down everything and Thompson and Stevenson can dominate games inside once they going. Most impressive game I saw of Thompson came last year as a freshmen when he went 7-8 with 14 points at Arizona. He would be getting a lot more recognition if arguably the best player in college basketball wasn't on his team. This is a no brainer as the Heels' clearly have the advantage.

Prediction - My guess here is that the Heels' get off to a hot start being at home. With Lawson they jump out early and lead by maybe 8 or 10 going into half time and without him they are up maybe 2 or 3. Duke will come back in the second half and basically have the game tied, or even a slight lead, by the 8 or 9 minute mark. Ol Roy will probably call a timeout to remind his team to keep feeding Hansbrough, which they will do, and Carolina will win by 2 as a last second shot by Scheyer front rims.

....ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week

BC Freshman guard Rakim Sanders gettin' up on Kansas.