College Basketball is back. And that is always reason to celebrate. A busy night in the ACC included a near signature win and some upsets.
Here are the headlines from around the ACC:
Kentucky is pretty freakin' good, but so is Maryland!
KU UK might just repeat as National Champions. Archie Goodwin is scary good. Noel Nerlens and Alex Polythress are going to be special as well. But the Terrapins certainly didn't look like they were outclassed in Brooklyn. They battled back hard from a big deficit, and despite losing 72-69, clearly have some real good young players. When Dezmine Wells gets his bearings they will be even better. They key wll be if PeShon Howard can improve at the point, and if they keep inside players like James Padgett and Alex Len consistently involved. Maryland dominated the glass, particularly in the second half. Len was spectacular with 23 points and 11 boards. Maryland was only a few plays away from pulling a major upset.
Defending ACC Champs upset!!!
#25 FSU opened the year at home against South Alabama in a game few thought they'd lose. Michael Snaer and Ian Miller combined to score just 18 points as the Seminoles dropped a tight one 76-71. WHOA!! Alarming as this loss is, the blowout loss to Clemson to start ACC play last year was just as bad. And all Coach Hamilton and the Noles did, was respond by finishing 3rd in the regular season and winning the conference tournament. Too soon to panic, but FSU's shooting (5-23 from 3PT) and inside play (PF Terrance Shannon appeared to get hurt) bear watching.
Virginia loses to George Mason?!
The Hoos were offensively challenged before Mike Scott graduated. Joe Harris went for 19, and Akil Mitchell pitched in 11, but UVA could not overcome Coach Larranaga's former squad in a 63-59 loss. Before you read too much into this, its worth noting that GMU is a solid program, and the Cavaliers were with out PG Jontel Evans (stress fracture). Until Evans returns it is too soon to pass judgement on this team, but their scoring troubles are worth monitoring.
About those 'Canes!
The score was a little more close then you'd hope against Stetson. But give the Hatters credit for making some big shots to keep the game close. Miami really only played defense the way they are capable for one stretch, and that is when they built a double digit lead. Shane Larkin was solid (13 points 6 assists). Reggie Johnson was only 6-16 from the floor, but that will improve. Bishop Daniels was solid in his debut (7 points 3 steals), and Trey McKinney Jones (14 points 5-10 from the floor) looks poised for a big year. Kenny Kadji (12 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists) was also as good as expected. This game wasn't nearly as close as it appeared in the box score, and UM was with out Durand Scott. Most importantly the peculiar exhibition loss to St Leo's appears behind them.
Also Around the ACC:
- Wake Forest won their opener 79-67 over Radford behind 19 from CJ Harris. Exciting freshman PG Codi Miller-McIntyre had 10 in his debut. Keep an eye on that young man.
- NC State HO HUM annihilated Miami (of Ohio) 97-59. Freshman Rodney Purvis and senior Richard Howell poured in 16 a piece. The Wolfpack's depth may be a question but their talent is not!!!
- James Michael McAdoo began what could be a monster season with 26 points and 14 rebounds as UNC rolled Gardner Webb 76-59.
- Mason Plumlee began his bid for ALL ACC honors with a 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks as Duke defeated Georgia State 74-55.
- Georgia Tech used a balanced attack to subdue Tulane 79-61. Kammeon Holsley knocked in 18. Freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt added 14. If the Yellow Jackets can score with consistency this year, watch out!!