Caulton Tudor

Missteps likely in Friday's ACC cage debuts

Posted November 8, 2013

Jabari Parker (1) during Countdown to Craziness (Blue-White Scrimmage) on October 18, 2013 in Durham, NC.

Fourteen of the ACC’s new-look 15 basketball teams begin play tonight, and if recent history holds, at least one or two are in store for baffling debuts.

Dating back to Hampton’s 77-69 win over UNC to initiate the 2001-02 season (Nov. 16 in Chapel Hill), ACC teams have made a habit of absorbing some fairly startling early-season losses.

Two teams to specifically keep an eye tonight are No. 21 Notre Dame, which hosts 18-point underdog Miami of Ohio, and Clemson, which hosts long-shot Stetson in its first game under new coach Corey Williams.

As an assistant to Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton for the last six seasons, Williams did much of the back-stage work on the Seminoles’ productive defense and inherits a Stetson program that has a reputation for giving ACC opponents trouble.

Miami of Ohio went 9-22 last season in John Cooper’s first year, but the Red Hawks retain four starters and have one of the best Mid-American Conference players in senior forward Will Felder.

All three Triangle teams should win with relative ease, although No. 4 Duke hardly scheduled a cupcake in Davidson.
No. 12 UNC will be without Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston against Oakland.

N.C. State virtually will be breaking in a new roster against Jason Capel’s fourth Appalachian State team, which will be without top scorer and all-star Jay Canty.

THE LONG-RANGE VIEW
As the season unfolds, here are five areas of interest to follow:

UNC chemistry 

Hairston’s availability hasn’t been determined, but there’s no doubt the Tar Heels and Roy Williams will have to deal with a fluid personnel mix for a while.

Without Hairston, the perimeter offense will likely struggle although his absence could indirectly help the big men since they will become the first scoring options.

But when Hairston returns, the offensive blueprint will change, meaning it could take a while for the players to get a comfortable feel for each other.

With everyone in place – and in step – Carolina should be a top 10 team and very possibly the ACC’s best. But if or until that point is reached, it could be a see-saw advanture.

Duke defense 

There hasn’t been much discussion about the traditional trademark of a Mike Krzyzewski championship team. When all else has failed Blue Devil teams for the past four decades, their relentless man-to-man has created ways to continue the winning.

But the emphasis – well, the primary conversation for sure – this season has been about a free-lancing NBA offensive system and the influx of talented scorers. In short, a new personality. 

Behind the scenes, it’s a virtual lock that Krzyzewski is preaching defense, but is the choir paying attention? In three of the team’s final four losses last season, opponents scored at least 83 points, and that was with Mason Plumlee playing goaltender.

Wolfpack in the house 

Against conference foes, N.C. State should have up to seven winnable games in Raleigh – Pitt, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest, Miami and Boston College.

That’s not to say State will have no chance against Virginia (Jan. 11) and/or Carolina (Feb. 26), but on paper a win in either of those games would have to be deemed a bonus.

In the other seven, the Pack needs to win six to have a realistic shot at an NCAA bid when it goes to Greensboro for the March 12-16 league tournament.

The in-league road schedule – which includes trips to Notre Dame (Jan. 7), Duke (Jan. 18), UNC (Feb. 1) and Syracuse (Feb. 15) – appears to be so difficult that there’ll simply be no room for error in PNC Arena.

Injuries 

If recent trends hold, at least five or six of the league’s best players will miss a substantial number of games as the result of injuries.

Already, State players Jordan Vandenberg and Cat Barber have been banged up in preseason. A year ago, the Pack’s Lorenzo Brown played in pain much of the season, as did Duke’s Ryan Kelly. In recent seasons, injuries to UNC guard Kendall Marshall and Duke guard Kyrie Irving totally uprooted the national power picture.

Injuries are the ultimate X-factors in sports and the ACC can expect to get its share as usual.

Officiating consistency 

New rules aimed to stop hand-checking and much off-ball contact are certain to lead to hot controversies and fan frustration galore.

The rules are needed, of course. College basketball gradually has become much more physical than the NBA, and the pros get six personal fouls rather five. The hitch will be the degree of consistency we’re likely to see. It’s only natural to assume that some officials will be more lenient than others – an unavoidable byproduct of the new rules that the players and coaches will detect instantly.

Refereeing tendencies will be profiled more than ever, but it’s a lock that we’ll see a good many technical fouls whistled against outraged coaches.

In other words, stand by for some spirited indoor fireworks.

16 Comments

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  • Gunnstigator Nov 9, 6:59 a.m.

    All three Triangle teams took care of business last night.

  • hoodwinked82 Nov 8, 5:00 p.m.

    Wahhhhh! Duke gets all the calls!! Grow a pair pansies.

  • tlg0022 Nov 8, 4:06 p.m.

    Didn't take long for the Carowhiners to start crying..Go Duke!

  • scousler Nov 8, 2:56 p.m.

    On paper, it looks like Duke has the most challenging opener versus a usually always capable Davidson ball club. NCSU and UNC's opponents have been far less consistently good. Still it will be a good early look at the new players on these teams.

  • roylovescanada Nov 8, 2:38 p.m.

    Whether the referees will call hand-checking and grabbing in Cameron Indoor Stadium is the real... View More

    — Posted by charlesboyer

    oh boy.....

  • charlesboyer Nov 8, 2:26 p.m.

    Whether the referees will call hand-checking and grabbing in Cameron Indoor Stadium is the real question. No matter what, though, we know that John Clougherty and the ACC office will never admit that any of their referees have ever done anything wrong.

  • noonya Nov 8, 2:21 p.m.

    If grabbing and hand checking aren't allowed, that will definitely hurt Duke. That is if the refs actually call it.

  • lec02572 Nov 8, 1:37 p.m.

    Can't wait for some basketball tonight. Football around here, except for Duke really sks. Need some relief.

  • roylovescanada Nov 8, 1:22 p.m.

    "College basketball gradually has become much more physical than the NBA, and the pros get six... View More

    — Posted by Ken D.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • roylovescanada Nov 8, 1:21 p.m.

    good times

More...

 

 

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 91
CHI 86
Final
DUR 6
NOR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
Final
CIN 4
PIT 0
Final
BAL 3
TAM 0
Final
NYY 3
CHC 0
Final
MIL 5
STL 1
Final
ARI 2
NYM 5
Final
PHI 0
ATL 1
Final
NYY 2
CHC 0
Final
DET 2
CLE 3
Final
MIA 3
WAS 6
Final
TEX 3
SEA 2
12th
CWS 4
BOS 4
 
Final
HOU 4
KAN 6
 
8:10pm Wednesday
MIN 0
TOR 0
7th
ANA 1
OAK 4
 
8th
SDP 4
COL 1
 
7th
SFG 1
LOS 1
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
ATL
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CLE
 
1:10pm Today
MIN
TOR
 
2:05pm Today
TEX
SEA
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
LOS
 
6:40pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
STL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
Final
CHA 91
CHI 86
Final
ORL 86
IND 101
Final
MIL 103
ATL 111
Final
CLE 114
BRK 85
Final
MEM 106
DAL 105
Final
OKC 112
DET 111
Final
NOP 105
HOU 100
Final
SAN 100
LAL 113
Final
MIA 87
PHI 100
Final
NYK 95
TOR 92
Final
MIN 130
UTA 136
Final
BOS 102
WAS 118
4th
DEN 80
GSW 88
 
3rd
POR 79
LAC 85
 
4th
SAC 84
PHO 87
 
Final
TAM 4
MON 5
Final
PIT 4
CLB 3
3rd
ANA 4
DAL 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
DUR 6
NOR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR