Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Years!....ACC Ballers: ACC Season is warmin' up

The ACC did pretty well this past week as many teams added to their win column. It only make sense as yet again the conference ranks #1 in Conference RPI. Looks like the conference season will be one to remember. Speaking of which, Virginia traveled to Atlanta this past Sunday to take on Georgia Tech in the conference opener for both teams. In typical Sunday Night Hoops fashion this game had crazy ending and needed OT to determine a winner. Big time freshman guard/forward Sylven Landesberg put up 26 points, 6 boards, and 5 dimes to lead the Cavaliers to an 88-84 win, their sixth victory of the year. You can catch a bit of his performance here.

....while Sylven's performance was impressive, the real drama came in the last seconds of overtime as UVA senior guard Calvin Baker would hit a layup with 10 seconds left in Overtime to give the Cavaliers the lead for good.

While there was no shortage of drama in this game there was a ton of excitement in the other games played by ACC teams this week. Carolina, now 13-0, continued their dominance as they beat two talented teams, Rutgers and Nevada, by an average of 22 points. Again, if there is a college basketball team that can beat these guys I'd like to see them.

Speaking of talented teams, check out this dunk by Clemson's Trevor Booker against South Carolina on Tuesday (12/29).

....I think the dude in the South Carolina jersey should have gotten out of the way.

Next Up:


2pm - #22 Xavier (10-2) at Virginia (6-4, 1-0 Conference games)
3pm - Georgia Tech (8-4, 0-1) at Alabama (9-3) Espn Full Court,
4pm - North Carolina State (9-2, 0-0) at Florida (11-2) CBS
8pm - #6 Wake Forest (12-0, 0-0) at BYU (11-1)


5:30pm - Boston College (12-2, 0-0) at #1 North Carolina (13-0, 0-0) Sun. Night Hoops
7:45pm - Virginia Tech (9-4, 0-0) at #5 Duke (11-1, 0-0) Sun. Night Hoops

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week....

Raymond Sykes
of Clemson shows South Carolina that he plays on another level. This is one of those dunks where you see it and immediately feel bad for the guy being dunked....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ACC Ballers: ACC Season is Here!

The ACC basketball fans have spoken and have unanimously selected UNC as the favorite to win the ACC regular season crown. I really can't blame them as all signs point to the Tar Heels to being the last team standing in March. I also think they'd be able to compete with the Oklahoma City Thunder (worst major sports name ever?) of the NBA. We appreciate your input and look forward to hearing from you in our future polls.

After several long months of waiting and anticipating the ACC Season officially got underway down in Coral Gables on Sunday night as Clemson came into town to face Miami. The Canes' put up a good fight but in the end Clemson just had too much talent and depth for the home team. The difference in this 91-72 victory for Tigers was ball security as that fierce press that Purnell calls upon forced the Hurricanes into 22 turnovers. Tigers senior guard K.C. Rivers dropped in 28 while sophomore guard Terrance Oglesby added 17.

Best Game this Week (thus far):

#25 Marquette 68 - N.C. State 65 (box score)

Marquette senior guard Dominic James had 18 in the win. Wolfpack senior forward Brandon Costner had 24 points and 8 boards in the loss. I would describe the game in more detail but it might be better to just watch.

(last 6 minutes of a great game)

Next up:


Noon - Miami (7-3, 0-1) at St. Johns (9-2) ESPNU
2:00pm - Bryant University (1-9) at Maryland (8-2)


4:00pm - Western Kentucky (7-3) at Florida State (11-2)
5:30pm - Virginia (5-4) at Georgia Tech (7-3)
7:45pm - Rutgers (9-3) at UNC (11-0)

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week....

Jeff Teague is at it again against Indiana. This was just tough.

Monday, December 15, 2008

ACC Ballers: On deck

Last week was pretty lame as ACC hoops is concerned but this week promises to be much better as exams are finally over and done with. There aren't many big time matchups this week but there is a biggie this coming Saturday as #7 Xavier goes up against #6 Duke in East Rutherford, NJ. Should be an interesting game as both teams have played well thus far. The Musketeers are coming off of a tough road win against in-state rival Cincinnati and are undefeated (9-0) at this point in the season. Before we go on I want to give major props to my boy Pooh Bear Mars for being ranked in Rivals top 250 high school football players for 2009. Pooh Bear has one of the top names in sports and apparently the game to match. Take a look.


....Moving on, we're going to take a look at some ACC ballers that have improved tremendously over the past year. Sometimes this increased productivity can be a result of more minutes or injury issues, but often times its just that these players have worked on their games in the summer. Time to give some props.

ACC Ballers: Most Improved Players

1) G Jeff Teague, sophomore, Wake Forest - Teague has put up monster numbers this year for Dino Gaudio's club and he looks as though he is coming into his own. He's a fantastic athletic with the quicks to stay with anyone and the leaping ability to challenge shots. Teague's statistical improvement can be attributed to his dedication in the off season and an injury to last year's starting point guard Ishmael Smith. He's upped his scoring average from 13.9 to 19.3 per game, his assist average from 2.5 - 4.6, and his steal average from 1.8 to 2.4. Jeff's big time. Judging by this..(although I think he was called for the charge here)

(This is the first reference to Arabian Goggles I've ever read)

2) PF Gani Lawal, sophomore, Georgia Tech - Gani, a former McDonalds All American has really gotten it done this year for Hewitt's squad. He's upped his scoring output by 11 points a night (18ppg in 08-09') and his rebounding production by 7 (10rbp in 08-09'). His signature game thus far came in a loss against Penn State as he went for 34 points and 10 boards. He is going to be dominant for Tech this year and might actually help them get back to the tournament this year.

(it's from his high school days in Georgia)

3) PF Deon Thompson, junior, North Carolina - Deon has been a man amongst boys from the beginning of the year. He really took advantage of Hansbrough's absence early on as he dominated the paint area for the Heels. The 6'8, 240lbs junior has had several monster games thus far including a 19 point (8-12 from the field) 13 rebound performance against Notre Dame in the Maui Invitational Final. Again, his numbers were pretty decent last year (8.4 points, 4 boards a game on a loaded squad) but nothing like the production he's delivering now Deon is putting up 15.7ppg and almost 7.9rpg this season.

4) PF Jeff Allen, sophomore, Virginia Tech - Jeff has been doing his thing down in Blacksburg this year to the tune of almost 15 points and 10 boards a game. He's pretty much the only inside threat Seth Greenberg and his staff have and at times he's all they need. In his last game, a home win against Longwood, Allen went for 19 and 21! That's right, 21 boards. The kid is a beast.

5) PF Alade Aminu, senior, Georgia Tech - Alade, the older brother of stud freshman Al-Farouq Aminu is a beast inside and finally coming into his own down in Atlanta. The 6'10 power forward has upped his scoring average from 6 to 13 while his rebounding numbers have jumped up 5 boards a game to 9.1. Much of this is attributed to the increased minutes Coach Hewitt has given him and apparently they are much deserved. Aminu has looked good in almost every contest this year and gave Vanderbilt 16 points, 11 boards, and 4 blocks a little over a week ago.

6) PF Mike Scott, sophomore, Virginia - Scott has doubled his scoring and rebounding averages to pull himself up to 10 points and 10 boards a game in the young season. He's a relentless rebounder and has tried to assert himself offensively when possible. Mike's progress is impressive considering the limited amount of high school basketball he played.

7) PF/C Ben McCauley, senior, NC State - McCauley, the 6'9 237 pounder from Pennsylvania is looking like an improved version of the player we saw in 2006-2007 where he averaged 14 points and 7 boards a game. Last season was tough on Ben, as it was on many a Wolfpack player due to their lack of a seasoned point guard. His scoring average dropped significantly and State had a tough time closing out games. This season seems like a return to the norm as Ben is putting up an impressive 15 points and 9 boards a game. He's always been very skilled and his ACC experience will help the Wolfpack tremendously as conference play comes around.

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week

Gerald Henderson gettin' up on Southern Illinois.....

Monday, December 8, 2008


Basically, exam week is synonymous with no games week. There isn't really much to look forward to in terms of great games to watch. But, since the players are spending a good bit of their time answering questions we at ACC Ballers will do the same.

ACC Ballers Predictions:

ACC Standings:
  1. North Carolina
  2. Duke
  3. Wake Forest
  4. Miami
  5. Maryland
  6. Clemson
  7. Virginia Tech
  8. Florida State
  9. Georgia Tech
  10. North Carolina State
  11. Virginia
  12. Boston College

1st team All-ACC:

Tywon Lawson, junior, UNC (click)
Jack McClinton, senior, Miami (click)
Greivis Vasquez, junior, MD (click)
Tyler Hansbrough, senior, UNC (click)
Kyle Singler, sophomore, Duke (click)

2nd team All-ACC:

Tyrese Rice, senior, BC (click)
Wayne Ellington, junior, UNC (click)
Gerald Henderson, junior, Duke (click)
James Johnson, sophomore, Wake Forest (click)
Trevor Booker, junior, Clemson (click)

3rd team All-ACC:

Toney Douglas, senior, Florida State (click)
Jeff Teague, sophomore, Wake Forest (click)
A.D. Vassallo, senior, Virgina Tech (click)
Danny Green, senior, UNC (click)
Deon Thompson, junior, UNC (click)

Honorable Mention:
Jeff Allen, sophomore, Virginia Tech (click); Gani Lawal, sophomore, Georgia Tech (click); John Scheyer, junior, Duke (click); K.C. Rivers, senior, Clemson (click) ; Dwayne Collins, junior, Miami (click)

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week:

Duke freshman Elliott Williams goes on spin cycle....

Monday, December 1, 2008

ACC Ballers's BIG TEN/ACC Challenge Preview

It's officially that time of year again, the BIG TEN/ACC Challenge is here. Or should we call this an event since the BIG TEN has never actually won (or really made it a 'challenge') since the event started in 1999. While this year should be no different the Big Ten might be able to compete a bit more this year due to the youth up and down the roster's of several ACC teams....By the way, I advise that any true college basketball fans watch as many UNC games as you can this year, you could be watching history. What I mean by that is that they might not lose a game all season long. They are one of the few college basketball teams that I've seen that combine top tier returning talent with top tier incoming freshmen. Honestly, how many college basketball programs can make the claim that they have more McDonald's high school all americans on their bench than in their starting lineup? I can't think of any. With that said. Here are the matchups:


#22 Wisconsin 74 - Virginia Tech 72 (box score)


The Badgers, led by guard Trevon Hughes (14 ppg) and forward Marcus Landry (12.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg), are 5-1 and typically play tremendous defense. Their one defeat came to the only legitimate team they have played thus far, UCONN, and that's not a bad loss at all. Virginia Tech comes into tonight's game with three players averaging over 10 points per game and a bit more
firepower than the Badgers. Lead by the trio of power forward Jeff Allen, shooting guard A.D. Vassallo, and point man Malcolm Delaney (each average 16 points per game) the Hokies have a talented squad that should more than be able to compete at home. Cassell Coliseum is a tough place to play (ask Duke) and the Badgers might have some issues with the atmosphere.

ACC Ballers pick: Virgina Tech.


The number 22 ranked Badgers controlled this game until the last few minutes when Virginia Tech guards got hot. The Hokie backcourt of senior A.D. Vassallo and sophomore point guard Malcolm Delaney went off at the end of the game to bring Tech storming back into the game late. Vassallo's 3 with seven seconds tied the game at 72 and sent the Hokie crowd into a frenzy. Unfortunately for the Hokies the crowd was silenced shortly after as Badger guard Trevon Hughes dribbled the length of the court and hit a pull up jumper from about 10 feet to give his team the 74-72 lead with less than a second in the game. The footage probably does a better job of describing this than I can. See for yourself.

Iowa 55 - Boston College 57 (box score)


Iowa is young and Boston College will have the top player in the game in 6'1 guard Tyrese Rice. Look for him to score early and often. While I don't think BC will win many this year they should win this one.

ACC Ballers pick: Boston College


This game was very close and came down to a missed free throws by Iowa freshman Andrew Brommer with .4 seconds left. These free throws were awarded after a 'suspect' loose ball foul call on BC guard Corey Raji. BC senior point guard Tyrese Rice paced the Eagles with 15 points.

Ohio State 73 - #22 Miami 68 (same # of votes as Wisconsin) (box score)


The number 22 ranked Canes' are flying high after a couple of blowout wins against San Diego and Stetson. To go along with Jack McClinton's 16 point average Miami junior forward Dwayne Collins is averaging a 13.6 and 10 boards a game. On the other hand, the 3-0 Buckeyes are very young as they rely on a handful of freshman and sophomore's to play the majority of the minutes. This is also their first true test as Ohio State has not played anyone of note to date. They also haven't played outside of the state of Ohio.

ACC Ballers pick: Miami


After hitting 4 three point shots in the first 8 minutes of the game, the U's Jack McClinton got hit with an ejection after he retaliated to smack by Buckeye guard Anthony Crater with a smack of his own. The issue for McClinton was that Crater hit the floor, garnering the attention of the officials, who then looked at replays and determined that Jack had to exit state right. However unfair, this completely turned the game. Slowly but surely Ohio State climbed back into the game behind 20 points from sophomore two guard Jon Diebler.

Clemson 76 - Illinois 74 (box score)


Illinois is off to a great start (6-0) and have four players averaging double figures led by sophomore power forward Mike Davis. The Illini have several young players that they ask to contribute but this talented group looks like they are coming together fine. Senior point guard Chester Frazier from Charm City (Baltimore), 'Murlin' is averaging 7 assists per game and should be able to control the tempo for Bruce Weber and the Illini.

ACC Ballers Pick: Illinois


Sophomore forward Mike Davis (Alexandria, VA) poured in 28 points for the Illini but it was Clemson, powered by 4 starters reaching double digits in scoring, that carvered out the win. The game changed when Clemson decided to bring it on D. The Tigers' forced Illinois' into 17 turnovers in the second half to come back and take the lead in a game that they were trailing in at the half. Clemson would eventually catch a break at the end as Illinois guard Demetri McCamey failed to get a shot off as time expired.

#4 Duke 76 - #10 Purdue 60 (box score)


Great great game here. Duke has 4 experienced players leading them in scoring and Coach K has considerably more talent on his bench this year than last year. The Boilermakers have a good bit of talent returning as well with guard E'twaun Moore and forward Robbie Hummel back in the fold. The Robbie Hummel vs. Kyle Singler matchup should be fun to watch as both have similar size (each around 6'9, 215lbs) and similar styles on the court. I think Duke has too much talent to lose to this team and will take care of Purdue at some point in the second half. If Purdue can keep the game close at the end they will have a shot but I still favor Duke in this one.

ACC Baller's Pick: Duke


Coach K and the Blue Devils put Purdue in its place from the onset. Kyle Singler and John Scheyer each scored 20 in a rout of the Boilermakers on the road. The store of the game was the defensive pressure Duke put on the Boilermakers backcourt. Purdue was held to just 37% shooting from the field and start guard E'Twan Moore never really got into a rhythm. In typical Duke fashion they exposed the weaknesses of this young Purdue team in route to yet another W for the Dukies.

Virginia 56 - Minnesota 66 (box score)


Pretty decent matchup of programs that are both playing young players in hopes of success a year or two from now. Tubby Smith's Gophers have played well and have rode junior guard Lawrence Westbrook (14 ppg) to a 6-0 start. The rest of the team is still coming together and while they are at home, the Cavs have more talent and should pull this out. Big time freshman Sylven Landesberg leads Virginia in scoring (20ppg) and sophomore power forward Mike Scott puts in work on the glass (11 rpg). The difference in this game will be Virginia's overall talent and size down low.

ACC Baller's Pick: Virginia


Tubby Smith's Gophers forced the Cavaliers into 18 turnovers and basically controlled the game from midway in the first half. The pressure applied by guard Al Nolen was too much for the young and inexperienced backcourt of Virginia. In a game that pitted freshman Center Ralph Sampson III against his dad's former team, Gophers simply hit shots when they needed to and allowed the Cavaliers to give them the game. Junior forward Jamil Tucker lead the Cavaliers in scoring with 12 points.

Indiana 58 - #17 Wake Forest 83


This would be a great game if everybody and their mom didn't leave Bloomington in the tumultuous off season the Hoosiers had. Wake Forest has an advantage in almost every department (size, skill, athleticism) and shouldn't have a problem with this group of Hoosiers. Jeff Teague (21 ppg, 57% 3 point shoting) and James Johnson (15ppg, 9 rpb) should lead the way for Wake in this one. Coach Creen's Hoosiers should be better next year when his highly rated 2009 class steps on campus.

ACC Baller's Pick: Wake Forest


This game wasn't really close as Wake Forest played with high level division one talent and Indiana have a few scholarship freshman and sophomores mixed in with a ton of walk-ons. This was evidenced here....

That was just 2 of James Johnson's 21 points. Super star freshman Al-Farouq Aminu dropped in 13 points and 9 boards in the rout.

Penn State 85 - Georgia Tech 83


This game should be better than people think but Penn State will get dominated down low. Georgia Tech has way too much quality size for the Nittany Lions to contend with. On the perimeter Penn State should be fine as guards Talor Battle and Stanley Pringle average 19 and 15 points per game respectively. Down low is where they will run into issues as their best post player, 6-5 power forward Jamelle Cornley, might have trouble with Tech's mammoth front line of Alade Aminu, Gani Lawal, and Zach Peacock who are averaging a combined 46 points and 23 rebounds per game.

ACC Baller's Pick: Georgia Tech


Penn State is much improved this year and it showed by the performance of the backcourt alone. Battle and Pringle went for 40 points and 10 assists in a hard fought and well played game in Atlanta. As predicted, Gani Lawal went to work and poured in 34 points and 1o boards but Penn State was able to squeak this one out. A last second runner from the three point line by stud freshman Iman Shumpert (14 points, 12 assists) hit high off the rim and out.

Michigan 70 - Maryland 75


While this is a home game for the Terps it's a tough matchup for them as well. Coach Williams' young team will have it's hands full with Michigan's 1-3-1 zone defense. They key in this game is how well the young Terrapin big men will be able to defend the paint. Michigan has a beast down low in DeShawn Sims who randomly comes off the bench (the reason given is that Beilein wanted to have some scoring punch in the second unit. Don't make sense to me) but puts up huge numbers and was instrumental in the Wolverine's victory over previously #4 UCLA at MSG earlier this year. Unless Greivis Vasquez and the rest of the Terps play like they did in the Michigan State game I don't see them beating Michigan.

ACC Baller's Pick: Michigan


Michigan's 1-3-1 zone did not slow Maryland down as much as I antipated it would. The Terrapin guards showed great poise and even more importantly, so did big forward Dino Gregory. Dino put up 6 ponts, 7 boards, and a block in about 26 minutes. Doesn't seem like gaudy numbers but he was a force in the paint for the Terps and a positive sign for the rest of their season. Greivis Vasquez went to work again as he put up 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists.

#1 North Carolina 98 - #12 Michigan State 63


North Carolina will win, because nobody can beat them....I shouldn't say anything more because this is basically the truth. Michigan State has no shot at winning this game, esp. if Goran Sutton is out. Regardless, Sutton hasn't practiced in weeks and he won't be much of a factor I can imagine. It's hard to imagine UNC's Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Hansbrough, Ed Davis, Danny Green, and Deon Thompson will choose the same night to have a bad game. North Carolina is better at every position on the court in almost every way you can be better that someone else at basketball. This is as elementary as I can put it.

ACC Baller's Pick: North Carolina


This was a blowout from the opening tip. The Spartans, who haven't been playing particularly well, got ran out of Ford Field. The confusing part of the game was that the Spartans tried to play at Carolina's speed. That's not a formula for success against the Heels. Tyler Hansbrough went for 25 and 11 while Ty Lawson 17 points, 8 assists, and a ridiculous 7 steals. Carolina won this game by 35 points without playing any starter more than 28 minutes. Carolina's walk-ons got considerable time in this game. This is 9th man William Graves catching an oop from Lawson.

Florida State 59 - Northwestern 73


Florida State is too athletic for this Wildcats team and that should be evident from the jump ball. The only factor that NU has in their favor is the home court. I suspect the crowd will help them out early but the Seminoles have too much firepower for this team. As long as senior guard Toney Douglas (19 points, 2.3 assists per game) is effective and can stay out of foul trouble, the Seminoles should win easy. Look for freshman phenom Chris Singleton to have a monster day on the boards.

ACC Baller's Pick: Florida State


This was a truly bad performance by Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles as they got beat by 14 points to a not so great Wildcat team. Florida State's youth showed up in this game as Northwestern forced them into 21 turnovers, 7 of those by their best player Toney Douglas. NU guard Craig Moore played all 40 minutes and scored 20 points in the process. This was a huge win for their program and a telling loss for the Noles.

ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week:

Wake Forest's sophomore guard Jeff Teague gettin' up on Cal State Fullerton at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, California.....