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Notes On 2013 ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Although there wasn’t a conference crowned the champion of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge because of a tied 6-6 outcome, plenty of story lines and questions emerged from the event. We take a glance into some intriguing aspects seen in the challenge.

Syracuse Backcourt is Special

There was a big void to fill at Syracuse with the departures of Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche, but freshman point guard Tyler Ennis and junior shooting guard Trevor Cooney showed in a 69-52 win over Indiana that they are more than capable of taking over the backcourt.

Ennis impressed in an all-around display with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go with eight assists, seven rebounds, and only one turnover in 38 minutes of action. He’s a mature, pass-first floor general who makes an impact in all areas of the game.

Cooney adds a lights-out shooter next to Ennis. In the win over Indiana, Cooney had a game-high 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting with a 5-for-9 showing from three-point range. With his ability to stretch the floor, Cooney opens up driving lanes and leaves a risky decision for defenders who leave him to play help defense. With the new backcourt leading Syracuse, the Orange are a legitimate championship contender.

"They played well. They really have the whole Hawaii trip," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said of Ennis and Cooney in an article by Brent Axe of Syracuse.com.

"Those two kids have really played well. One is a first-year player and the other guy didn't play a lot last year. I don't think you could ask them to play on a higher level than what they played. It's really amazing the level they have played. They have really picked up the whole team. I don't think you can say enough about the way they played this year."

Cook Shows Potential

Duke may have two future lottery picks in Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, but it was sophomore point guard Quinn Cook who led the Blue Devils to their biggest win of the early season.

Cook did it all, with 24 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and two steals in the victory. Despite Jabari Parker’s lowest scoring outcome of the season, Duke was never panicked because of the stellar play from its point guard.

“Quinn was magnificent,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski told Steve Wiseman of The Herald Sun. “Even though he didn’t score in the first half he managed the team well. We told him to be very aggressive in the second half.”

If Cook can remain a consistent scoring option for Duke then the Blue Devils will be tough to defeat. Another scoring option would certainly help relieve Parker and Hood, who are combining for 48% of Duke’s total scoring.

Rice Playing Inspired

Despite a 67-64 loss to Georgia Tech, Rayvonte Rice of Illinois showed that he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder this season.

The hometown native of Champaign wasn’t offered a scholarship to Illinois out of high school and signed with Drake, where he averaged 13.8 points per game during his freshman season and 16.8 in his sophomore year. When Bruce Weber was fired and John Groce replaced him, Rice saw an opportunity to transfer to his dream school and Groce was more than accepting of a new addition. "I don't know if I've seen a guy who's sitting out on a transfer make the number of strides that Ray did," Groce told Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune. "It's hard for guys … to understand that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and they have to grind every day to get to that light. He grinded."

After sitting out last season due to transfer rules, Rice is averaging 18 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this year. He had 24 points against Georgia Tech on 8-for-15 shooting.

Charles Odum from the AP added, “Rice, a junior transfer from Drake, is the first player to score in double figures in his first eight games at Illinois since Kiwane Garris opened his career with 10 straight games of 10 or more points in the 1993-94 season.”

With the loss of Brandon Paul, Illinois needed the talent that Rice has provided.

Michigan Misses Burke

It’s surprising that a team who returned three potential first round picks is 5-3 early on with losses to Iowa State and Charlotte, but Michigan is off to a slow start which was highlighted in a 79-69 defeat to Duke. It wasn’t a game the Wolverines were expected to win, but the ten-point margin seemed much closer than the game actually looked.

Michigan has gotten decent play at the point guard position from freshman Derrick Walton, but there are big shoes to fill when replacing the National Player of the Year. Burke simply took this team to another level that this year’s team lacks. Walton is averaging less than half the amount of points (8.6) and assists (3.0) that Burke did last season (18.6 and 6.7). Again, it’s a very tough position for the freshman to be thrown in, but it shows exactly how big Burke was to the lineup.

“I think I just need to keep remaining confident in myself, and the inconsistency will go out the window,” Walton told Adam Renuart of isportsweb.com.

Despite being held without a field goal against Duke, Nik Stauskas has shown his scoring ability by scoring 20 points or more in five of the seven games he’s played in this season. He was also returning from an ankle injury, which may have limited his impact. Caris LeVert has also shown progress, but this team is far from where they want to be.

However, we must remember that it’s still early in the season and the youngsters will adjust. Head coach John Beilein added, “They are 19 year old kids trying to figure things out, and the coaches don’t have all the answers either. It’s a game.”

We Still Don’t Know UNC

With wins over Michigan State and Louisville, the Tar Heels could be considered a top ten team. But, then again, with losses to Belmont and UAB, North Carolina may just be the most unpredictable group in the country.

Part of the equation may revolve around sophomore point guard Marcus Paige. When Paige scores over 20 points, UNC is 3-0, but when he scores under the 20 point mark, the Tar Heels are 2-2. With such a reliance on Paige’s scoring, North Carolina must get points from Paige each game. He’s also the only threat from behind the arc, as Paige has taken 66 percent of North Carolina’s attempts from three point range. Even more shockingly, he’s made 86 percent of the team’s three pointers.

There’s also the uncertainty of a backup scoring option. Brice Johnson, James Michael McAdoo, and J.P. Tokoto have shown flashes of supporting this role, but there’s a lack of consistency in the scoring department.

North Carolina has been the most unpredictable team this season, but the win over Michigan State will be a quality victory on the resume during the selection process.

"You can't tell in college basketball what's going to happen," North Carolina head coach Williams said to CBS Sports. Safe to say, this will be a long, fun season.

Comparing The Conferences

The Pac-12 has been suffering through a long dark period. The Big Ten has been dominant (at least in the pre-conference schedule) for the last few years. Should we expect a change this year? Is the Pac-12’s slump over? Is the Big Ten’s boom about to come to an end? Let’s take a quick look at some basic roster data and see if we can uncover any trends.

Part of predicting the season is noting the number of elite high school prospects on each roster. Not only are these players more likely to play well as freshmen, but they are also more likely to breakout later in their career. Recall, for example, Michael Snaer of Florida St. Snaer was a former Top 20 recruit, and while it took him three seasons, he broke out in a big way in 2011-12. After adding up the numbers…

- The Big East has the most former RSCI Top 100 prospects on rosters heading into the season with 58.

- But the Big East has more teams, and the Big East has only 3.9 elite recruits per team. The ACC has the most former Top 100 recruits per team with 4.6 per team.

- But James McAdoo is the only former Top 10 prospect in the ACC this season. That seems like an unprecedented lack of super-elite talent for the conference. If you want super elite talent, you probably want to watch the SEC, assuming everyone is declared academically eligible. John Calipari never lets us down on the recruiting trail.

- The SEC, however, is only welcoming ten Top 100 freshmen this year as a whole. Even the Big Ten, the land of typically poor recruiting, is welcoming more Top 100 freshmen than the SEC this season. And yes, the slumping Pac-12 brings in quite a few elite recruits this year.

Conf

T10

T100

T100 Fr

ACC

1

55

22

BE

1

58

17

SEC

4

49

10

B10

1

40

15

B12

3

33

11

P12

3

37

15

MWC

1

15

5

A10

0

11

3

The next table isn’t really roster data, but it does reflect some of my preliminary projections about playing time.

- The ACC is going to be the youngest conference in the nation this year, according to my projections.

- The Big East has a startlingly low number of key seniors on rosters this year.

- As usual, the MWC and A10 have more mature rosters. They lose fewer players to the NBA and that helps the top MWC and A10 teams compete, even without a plethora of blue chip talent.

Class

Sr%

Jr%

So%

Fr%

MWC

35%

30%

17%

17%

A10

33%

27%

19%

21%

P12

28%

32%

18%

22%

B12

32%

19%

26%

23%

BE

22%

32%

27%

19%

B10

27%

26%

23%

24%

SEC

25%

28%

24%

22%

ACC

25%

22%

23%

31%

The Pac-12 is getting older in a hurry, thanks in no small part to an influx of transfers. Note that your transfer numbers may vary slightly. I’m excluding transfer walk-ons and a few JUCOs who seem unlikely to play in the next table.

Incoming Transfers

D1

JUCO+

P12

15

8

SEC

10

11

BE

14

6

MWC

7

5

B12

7

5

A10

8

3

ACC

3

3

B10

5

1

The transfer table doesn’t mean the Pac-12 has suddenly become the conference of transfers. This is all a natural consequence of recent league history. The Pac-12 teams have struggled the last few years making those teams particularly attractive places for transfers to matriculate. If you want to transfer and PLAY in an elite league, you would have chosen the Pac-12 too.  On the other hand, the Big Ten has been on an upswing and few coaches have needed to dip into the JUCO ranks as a quick fix. Deverell Biggs of Nebraska is currently the only incoming JUCO player projected for the Big Ten this year.

Overall, the Pac-12 was a depleted league, but it is adding a number of impact freshmen and key transfers this year. The days of the league failing to field a Top 25 team are over. As for the Big Ten, the jury is still out. The teams at the top still have plenty of talent, but programs like Purdue could be in for a bit of a slip without an influx of can’t miss players coming in.

Team-By-Team Gold Medal Winners

Since the United States began to allow professional players on their Olympic roster for the 1992 Games, there have been 63 NBA players to win Gold Medals. The United States has won the Gold Medal in five of the six Olympics, accounting for 60 of the players, while there were three NBA players on Argentina when they won in 2004.

The following team-by-team list tallies the Gold Medal winners at the time of their respective games.

The Utah Jazz have won the most Gold Medals with six, followed by the Thunder/Sonics with five, Bulls, Lakers, Heat and Knicks with four.

The Bobcats, Grizzlies, 76ers and Wizards have yet to have a player win a Gold Medal.

Atlanta Hawks (0)

Boston Celtics (1): Larry Bird (92)

Brooklyn Nets (1): Deron Williams (12)

Charlotte Bobcats (0)

Chicago Bulls (4): Michael Jordan (92), Scottie Pippen (92), Scottie Pippen (96), Andres Nocioni (04)

Cleveland Cavaliers (1): LeBron James (08)

Dallas Mavericks (1): Jason Kidd (08)

Denver Nuggets (3): Antonio McDyess (00), Carmelo Anthony (08), Andre Iguodala (12)

Detroit Pistons (3): Grant Hill (96), Carlos Delfino (04), Tayshaun Prince (08)

Golden State Warriors (1): Chris Mullin (92)

Houston Rockets (1): Hakeem Olajuwon (96)

Indiana Pacers (1): Reggie Miller (96)

Los Angeles Clippers (1): Chris Paul (12)

Los Angeles Lakers (4): Magic Johnson (92), Shaquille O’Neal (96), Kobe Bryant (08), Kobe Bryant (12)

Memphis Grizzlies (1): Shareef Abdur-Rahim (00)

Miami Heat (4): Tim Hardaway (00), Alonzo Mourning (00), Dwyane Wade (08), LeBron James (12)

Milwaukee Bucks (2): Ray Allen (00), Michael Redd (08)

Minnesota Timberwolves (3): Christian Laettner (92), Kevin Garnett (00), Kevin Love (12)

New Orleans Hornets (2): Chris Paul (08), Anthony Davis (12)

New York Knicks (4): Patrick Ewing (92), Allan Houston (00), Carmelo Anthony (12), Tyson Chandler (12)

Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Super Sonics (6): Gary Payton (96), Vin Baker (00), Gary Payton (00), Kevin Durant (12), James Harden (12), Russell Westbrook (12)

Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard (08)

Philadelphia 76ers (0): (Iguodala was member of 76ers until semifinals of 12 Olympics)

Phoenix Suns (3): Charles Barkley (92), Charles Barkley (96), Jason Kidd (00)

Portland Trail Blazers (2): Clyde Drexler (92), Steve Smith (00)

Sacramento Kings (1): Mitch Richmond (96)

San Antonio Spurs (3): David Robinson (92), David Robinson (96), Manu Ginobili (04)

Toronto Raptors (2): Vince Carter (00), Chris Bosh (08)

Utah Jazz (6): Karl Malone (92), John Stockton (92), Karl Malone (96), John Stockton (96), Carlos Boozer (08), Deron Williams (08)

Washington Wizards (0) 

Colleges

The below list accounts only for Olympic Gold Medals since 1992.

Duke and UCLA have had three separate Gold Medalists, while Cal has had three by counting Jason Kidd’s two wins.

Alabama: Antonio McDyess (00)

Arizona: Andre Iguodala (12)

Arizona State: James Harden (12)

Auburn: Charles Barkley (92), Charles Barkley (96)

California: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (00), Jason Kidd (00), Jason Kidd (08)

Central Arkansas: Scottie Pippen (92), Scottie Pippen (96)

Connecticut: Ray Allen (00)

Duke: Christian Laettner (92), Grant Hill (96), Carlos Boozer (08)

Indiana State: Larry Bird (92)

Georgetown: Patrick Ewing (92), Alonzo Mourning (00)

Gonzaga: John Stockton (92), John Stockton (96)

Hartford: Vin Baker (00)

Houston: Clyde Drexler (92), Hakeem Olajuwon (96)

Kansas State: Mitch Richmond (96)

Kentucky: Tayshaun Prince (08), Anthony Davis (12)

Illinois: Deron Williams (08), Deron Williams (12)

LSU: Shaquille O’Neal (96)

Louisiana Tech: Karl Malone (92), Karl Malone (96)

Marquette: Dwyane Wade (08)

Memphis: Penny Hardaway (96)

Michigan State: Magic Johnson (92), Steve Smith (00)

Navy: David Robinson (92), David Robinson (96)

North Carolina: Michael Jordan (92), Vince Carter (00)

No College: Kevin Garnett (00), Kobe Bryant (08), Dwight Howard (08), LeBron James (08), Kobe Bryant (12), Tyson Chandler (12), LeBron James (12)

Ohio State: Michael Redd (08)

Oregon State: Gary Payton (96), Gary Payton (00)

St. John’s: Chris Mullin (92)

Syracuse: Carmelo Anthony (08), Carmelo Anthony (12)

Temple: Pepe Sanchez (04)

Tennessee: Allan Houston (00)

Texas: Kevin Durant (12)

UCLA: Reggie Miller (96), Kevin Love (12), Russell Westbrook (12)

UTEP: Tim Hardaway (00)

Wake Forest: Chris Paul (08), Chris Paul (12)

2012 Big Ten Power Rankings

The Big Ten was incredibly close at the top, with a three-way tie in the standings and also in our statistical rankings.

Who Is Hot, Who Is Not

When it comes to February in college basketball, some teams get better, the rest get left in the rear view mirror. Here are the teams that are surging and falling over their past 10 games.

Top NCAA Coaches Of Past Five Years

There are a lot of complicated ways to evaluate college coaches, but in this edition we look at the coaches with the best per possession numbers over the last five years.

Behind Brandon Paul's 43 Points, Upset Of Ohio State By Fighting Illini

Brandon Paul had a night to remember, almost doubling his career high in points and converting eight three-pointers to lead Illinois to a 79-74 win over No. 5 Ohio State.

Big Ten Power Rankings (Jan. 9th)

With teams having played either three or four conference games, it is an opportune time for a Big Ten power rankings.

Freshmen Bring Hope

Teams that play a lot of freshmen are the most likely to improve as the season goes on, while those with a lot of experience are more likely to plateau. In this piece, we examine freshmen minutes for every major school in the country.

The Census: RealGM's NCAA Rankings For Dec. 12

Syracuse has yet to leave New York and have played a relatively soft schedule, with their only impressive wins coming against Florida and Stanford, but they are 10-0 and now No. 1 in RealGM’s weekly poll.

The Census: RealGM's NCAA Rankings For Dec. 5

Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger and Ohio State were ready to trounce on the No. 1 slot in RealGM's rankings if not for an Anthony Davis block.

Harry Potter And The 2011 NCAA Tournament

Unlike books and films, sports is always unscripted entertainment and the good guys don't win every time. Let's look at how that relates to the schools (beyond UConn) that should celebrate their March success.

College Coaching Series Part 3

Part two showed that Jim Calhoun's teams have been the best in the nation at forcing missed shots over the last 9 years. But which coach has consistently taught the best defensive rebounding?

On The NCAA Tournament (Day 2)

Kyrie Irving's return, Gus Johnson's Mom, why Georgetown was Friday's biggest loser, plus Texas' expectations remain relatively stagnant.

Surprises And Flops, Part 1

Looking at the surprises and flops this season in the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Mountain West.

Conference Rankings (End Of Jan. Edition)

As we have commonly seen in recent seasons, the Big East has been the deepest conference in the country.

 

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