Talking Points: ACC/B1G Challenge Edition
Posted December 5, 2013
1. Do yourself a favor and fill out separate brackets for North Carolina in March. It doesn't matter if the Heels are playing in the NCAA, NIT or CIT. Have them win it all on one sheet and suffering a brutal exit in the first round on the other.
Obviously that either-or proposition for North Carolina changes if P.J. Hairston ever returns to the active roster, but as of right now, it's fair to say the Tar Heels are the wildest roller coaster going in sports. They've hit lows against Belmont and UAB, only to follow those up with incredible highs in wins over Louisville and Michigan State.
Which situations are the outliers? When will it stabilize? Who knows, but it makes the Tar Heels oddly compelling to follow going forward.
Hey Carolina fans, if you could go 1-1 vs. us and Mich St, which win would you choose? Me too. Go Heels, Go Blazers.— Bobby Frasor (@BFrasor) December 5, 2013
Head coach Roy Williams had to use "I shouldn't have to coach effort" card during his various media obligations and his team responded. The Heels outworked Michigan State in transition, did gritty work in the paint and owned the glass. Williams' next trick is getting this team to put forth that effort consistently, regardless of whether the Heels are playing top-ranked opposition or mid-majors.
2. Once again, NC State rides with T.J. Warren.
The sophomore forward appeared everywhere on the court as he dropped 22 points in the Wolfpack's 69-48 win over Northwestern. Warren actually outscored his teammates 16-15 by halftime on 7-10 shooting, but he eventually got support in the second half. While Ralston Turner hit a trio of threes and Lennard Freeman notched a double-double, it was Jordan Vandenberg who continued to give Warren room to work.
Here's the delimna for NW - if you guard TJ Warren then they'll be no stopping Jordan Vandenberg— Austin Johnson (@austin_johnson) December 5, 2013
Vandenberg dunked and hooked his way to 12 points. Northwestern missed a ton of shots in the paint due to his presence and ended up blocking five shots.Best of all, Vandenberg has emerged as the most quotable player in the locker room.
3. Durham is officially under a "Rasheed Sulaimon Minutes Watch."
The sophomore started 33 games for Duke last season, but failed to keep that role in the early portion of this season. It's now a thing in fan and media circles after Sulaimon didn't play at all in the win over Michigan. Is he in Coach K's doghouse? Is he sick? Is Sulaimon showing the proper body language on the bench? Inquiring minds want to know.
Based on comments from Krzyzewski and Sulaimon's teammates, there isn't much to figure out. The Blue Devils have depth at his position and he's simply not playing as well as the guys who were on the court. "As a man, he has to step up and accept what he needs to do," guard Tyler Thornton told Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer.
No need to run anything through the Fanslator.
4. The ACC and Big Ten wrapped up the made for television challenge in a 6-6 tie.
Why is everyone saying the ACC/B1G Challenge ended in a tie? Judging the by the score, Wisc-UVa hasn’t started the second half yet.— Carolina March (@carolinamarch) December 5, 2013
Wisconsin shot under 30 percent from the field and they still won by 10 points. Virginia was an embarrassing 23.4 percent with 36 missed baskets and just 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.
The Cavaliers get plenty of love because Tony Bennett is a respected coach, but his allergic reaction to offense is mind-boggling.
5. Miami is exempt from discussing any curious loss by an ACC team in the challenge for one obvious reason – they'e the defending conference champions in name only. The Hurricanes were downgraded to tropical depressions thanks to a massive talent drain in the offseason.
On the other hand, there's Boston College. Considered by many to be a conference sleeper due to their seasoned roster, the Eagles lost at Purdue and dropped to 3-5 on the season.
Everybody likes Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson, but the duo isn't enough to mask Boston College's defensive woes. The Eagles are 320th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up an average of 80.9 points per game.