Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mid-Term Grades

Halfway through conference play... it's time to send out some progress reports.

Duke: A+
No post players? No Problem, just play better D and outscore everyone. The Blue Devils have the league’s best scoring defense at 71.6 points per game. All those folks who thought that Coach K was spreading himself too thin by coaching the national team forgot to factor in what he could learn from other coaches. Duke is now playing more of an international game with their reliance on the drive and pitch out for the three.

Carolina: B-
How can you be disappointed with a 6-2 record? Well let’s just say it’s a shaky 6-2 record. The Heels easily could have been 3-5 if they had not caught some breaks against Clemson, Ga Tech and FSU. This is not a great defensive team, as evidenced by their league high 78.4 points allowed per game. Their high-powered offense, outstanding rebound margin and some guy wearing # 50 have gotten them to second place. If forced into a half-court game, they are vulnerable, especially if Ty Lawson is not at full-strength.

Clemson: B+
Everyone thinks of Clemson as a run and gun team, but surprisingly they have the league’s second best scoring defense. The Tigers did a good job of getting to five wins despite the injures they’ve suffered. Clemson can punish you down low and kill you from three point land. Unless the wheels come off of the wagon, look for the Tigers to go dancing for the first time in a decade.

Maryland: B++
True road warriors posting a 3-1 road record during the first half of conference play. Especially impressive was the road win in Chapel Hill. The Terps boast the league’s best assist to turnover ratio, while holding their conference opponents to a league-best 41.3 % from the field.

Va Tech: C
Smoke, mirrors and wins against teams with a combined record of 13-28 in league play. The Hokies are young, and are averaging a league worst 1.018 points per possession. They also have the league’s lowest assist to turnover ratio and field goal percentage. On the bright side, they do have the league’s second highest rebound margin, but that is not going to be enough to keep them out of the Thursday session at the ACC Tournament.

Ga Tech: B
There’s no place like home… not. The Yellow Jackets are a disappointing 1-3 at the Thriller-Dome. Given 0-3 conference start and the early-season questions at point guard, The Jackets are probably releaved to be at .500. The Jackets boast the leagues best field goal percentage and 49.3% while holding their opponents to 29.3 % beyond the arc. The Bad news for the Jackets is the poor non-conference record that leaves them in a bind when it comes to tournament selections

NC State: B-
Talk about questions at point guard, for the second straight year injuries have made Pack vulnerable at Coach Lowe’s former position. It is starting to appear that the Pack is overcoming its chemistry problems, and JJ Hickson is just an absolute freak in the post. State is a league best 41.4% from beyond the arc, but they will need to improve on their defense, rebounding and turnovers to challenge for a first round bye at the ACC tournament and get off af the bubble.

Boston College: C-
Had it not been for the Wake Forest game, BC’s stats would be really ugly. The Eagles opponents are attempting twelve more field goals a game than the Eagles are. Adding to the Eagles’ woes are the league worst 15.9 offensive rebounds allowed per game.

Wake Forest: C-
There is still no D in W-A-K-E F-O-R-E-S-T. The scary thing is that they are improved defensively from last year. Wake has the worst field goal percent defense in the league at 48.2 %, but they have a ton of upside with a young and very talented line-up. Leave it to Wake Forest to find a star player from Wyoming of all places… Seems like that center they found down on the Islands a few years ago turned out to be pretty good. If the Deacs can figure out how to win on the road and rein Ish Smith in a bit, they could be one of those teams no one wants to see in March… question is will their post-season games be on CBS or ESPN?

Florida State: D
Is Leonard Hamilton writing a book on how to win lots of games and not make it to the NCAA’s? At least last year the ‘Noles were a bubble team. FSU needs to improve on their .66 assist to turnover ratio and league worst -5.1 rebound margin to have any shot at making it to the dance.

Miami: D-
As goes Jack McClinton, so go the ‘Canes. Miami is allowing their opponents to a league worst 40.7% from beyond the arc. Combine that with their opponents getting to the line 5 more times per game and you have a recipe for a long season… again.

Virginia: F
Wow, what can you say? I would give an incomplete, but that would be too king. I hate it for Sean Singletary. Players who stick around for their senior are supposed to be rewarded, not tortured. The Cavaliers are shooting a league worst 40.4% from the field. The poor shooting combined with lack of an inside presence, only 1.3 blocks per game?!, will combine to make Sean Singletary’s senior season one to forget.


Ken White said...

Pretty high standards when you give the #3 team in the country a B-. They won't stay #3 of course, and injuries are a huge part of their issues, but they could sure benefit from better defense.

Maryland has to be the surprise of the year so far, but I'm not so sure they aren't over achieving so far. Won't say smoke and mirrors, but I'm not a believer yet. Probably will be after today's game.

No way I give NC State a B. Not yet. While they've overcome a major injury, Costner has no game right now (he will at some point), and these guys were supposed to be a sure top 20 team.

What you think of Bobby Knight to FSU?

February 9, 2008 9:29 AM

Anonymous said...

I guess I would be one of those teachers that students hate when it comes to grading. I was looking at the Heels potential and grading them against that and their lack of D. I probably graded the Pack a bit high, but I was considering how they've recovered a bit from what started as a absolute disaster in league play. Based on the stats, there's no way they should be 4-4, but with a break or two in the Ga Tech game, they could be 5-3... of course 1-7 was just as possible.

Not that contracts mean anything, but didn't Leonard Hamilton just get a contract extension? Knight to FSU would be interesting... Imagine the media hype around the Duke - FSU games. Does the General know that Ted Valentine works a lot of ACC games?