Last week, we analyzed the last decade of ACC performances in football and basketball. There were some surprises. For example, Boston College in football and Florida State in basketball. But what does it mean overall? How about a ranking of the performances of all schools in both sports? Here you go.
The ACC records for the last decade of football was posted by acaffrey earlier this week so I thought it would be fun to see the numbers for the basketball side of the conference. I believe the biggest surprise over the last decade of ACC basketball has been the emergence of Florida State as the third winningest program in the conference behind Duke and North Carolina, a period that includes an ACC tournament championship for the Noles.
1. Duke 123-39 76%: Arguable one of the most successful decades in conference history. Duke has won at least 10 conference games in 9 of the last 10 years. During the last decade Duke has won one NCAA title, 3 ACC Regular Season titles, and 6 ACC Tournament titles.
2. North Carolina 117-45 72%: The baby blue (UNC) and navy blue (Duke) have dominated the conference in hoops. Although Duke has a better conference record, North Carolina won 2 NCAA titles during the Roy Williams era (which started in 2003-04). The Heels have also won 6 ACC Regular Season titles and 2 ACC Tournament titles during that time.
3. Florida State 85-77 52%: How in the world did the biggest name in ACC college football climb so high in the basketball centric ACC? Leonard Hamilton. Hamilton’s teams consistently play above their talent level through hard work and relentless defense. However, FSU could be hit the hardest from the most recent conference expansion as the competition for 3rd place in the conference gets considerably tougher.
Few questioned the decision by Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams to forego his last two years of college basketball and enter the NBA draft. After all, NBA draftniks had been drooling and fawning over MCW for the entire season. The phrase “certain lottery pick” is enough to convince the Confidential that any player should turn pro. But this one is getting ugly.
The good news for MCW is that Chad Ford has stated to Syracuse.com that scouts either “love” or “hate” MCW. So some scouts still love him. But others hate him? That seems harsh… presumably they just dislike his game. But that is bad news.
Even worse is this quote from Ford:
“I know his agent thinks that I’m insane to have him, I think right now, I have him projected outside the lottery,” Ford said. “I think Dallas is a very good possibility for him at 13 and Sacramento is a good possibility for him if Anthony Bennett is off the board. Other than that, I just haven’t identified the other teams where I think he is a fit and they’re high on him.”
The good news for MCW is that he is still likely to be a first-round pick and get guaranteed money. If so, the decision to go pro was unquestionably a sound move. If the flaws in his game were not corrected next year, that extra year of college would be wasted.
But it is still a shame to see someone leave school when the “potential” outweighs the “actual.” If only the NBA and college basketball could work together to allow kids a chance to continue to develop their game in college, without making that a risky proposition from a business sense.
We all have a pet project that consumes our time and money. Some of us take it too far and wind up ignoring our significant others or forgetting meaningful moments in our lives. However, some us take it a little further.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that a new roadside sight along U.S. 52 near Winston-Salem is showing just how far some fans will go to vent their frustrations about college athletics. According to The Dagger’s Jeff Eisenberg, a group of Wake Forest University fans have spent a load of money to erect a billboard blasting men’s basketball head coach Jeff Bzdelik and athletic director Ron Wellman’s performance at the school.
Wow. Talk about not holding back. Tell me what you really think, Wake fans.
WXII12.com is reporting the group of fans raised over $4,500 to fulfill their wish of bringing more public attention to the disaster the basketball program has become under Bzdelik and Wellman’s watch. But the billboard is only the next chapter of their group’s efforts – they’ve also taken out newspaper ads and created websites like firebz.com.
Among other notables, the website keeps a rolling tally of the basketball team’s ventures – the Demon Deacons are 34-60 overall and 11-42 against ACC opponents under Bzdelik.
One Wake Forest fan who hasn’t disguised his displeasure with the basketball program is Fire Jeff Bzdelik Group fan Brian Stratton. Stratton is on record as saying the billboard was a necessary step to take because the fanbase has been alienated by the athletic director’s actions. He also took to Facebook to further explain the erection of the billboard.
“All would have been forgiven had [Wellman] done the right thing and fired Bzdelik at the end of the year,” Stratton wrote via the popular social media site. “However, he boxed us into a corner and we had to take the next step. Ron Wellman has clearly brought this on himself and needs to be relieved of his duties.”
Although this recent news is fascinating, fans weren’t too keen on Bzdelik’s hire even in 2010. He was chosen by Wellman after going 36-58 at Colorado after three seasons and never ended a Big 12 season ranked higher than eighth in the conference standings.
As a Louisville graduate, I can certainly identify with fan malcontent over a sports coach who hasn’t performed. The Steve Kragthorpe Era at UofL really tested the Cardinal fanbase. Of course, our athletic director realized the error in his ways and put into motion the process of replacing him with up-and-coming star Charlie Strong.
No one wants a cloud of negativity to surround an athletic program for too long. Wake’s brass leadership may wake up one day soon and realize that Bzdelik and perhaps Wellman have to go, if not for the athletic program, for the university image and relationship with fans and alumni.
Demon Deacon fans, you simply have to believe that better things will come. The one thing Wellman can do to revive your trust is to make a stellar choice as the next head coach to lead Wake back to relevance.
And we wait.
So decision day came and went and Andrew Wiggins will not be playing in the ACC next year. Both Florida State and North Carolina lost out this afternoon when the nation’s consensus #1 recruit picked the Kansas Jayhawks. Am I upset? I’m not sure yet. After reading up on Wiggins, I’m just not sure he’s the type of guy I want on my team. You’ll probably think I’m just bitter. Didn’t I write a glowing article about him yesterday? Stay with me. His decision, and the way he went about it, told me a lot that I didn’t think about before.
Throughout Wiggins’ recruitment I kept hearing that the reason he didn’t speak to the media was because he was “shy.” But if that was the case, why did he drag out his recruitment so long? Why did his coach and brother issue statements about him almost daily? And why did he have such a “low-profile” announcement? Certainly, he realized that by doing it all that way, he would get even MORE attention in the long run?
I totally understand that some things are out of his control. Maybe he didn’t ask for all of this, but his ability commands it. He’s a truly gifted player, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime find for Bill Self. So the circus surrounding him is just the reality of the situation. But in waiting until the second-to-last day of the signing period, I really lost a lot of respect for him. I’m just going to be honest. Maybe he WAS truly on the fence. I apologize to him for being quick to judge. But that’s just not my impression. From what I’ve read, he’s been down to Kansas and Florida State for a while. So why drag it out? It just doesn’t seem fair to the other coaches, having them make visits and calls when he’s made up his mind. Spending good money, real money, on an effort that wouldn’t change anything. Yes, I even feel for John Calipari, who I’m sure you know that I do not have a lot of respect for.
I do realize that this was an important decision for Wiggins. I remember being in his shoes, at least somewhat, in deciding what to do with the rest of my life. But isn’t this just a pit-stop on the way to the NBA? A colleague of mine at work pointed me to a story today where Wiggins said that he didn’t want to enroll in summer school. That pretty much ruled out North Carolina before the announcement since that’s a requirement for incoming players. But I just don’t understand why Wiggins would think this, or even worse, say it. Doesn’t he want to be with his teammates? So I wasn’t too optimistic to begin with. But, why wouldn’t Wiggins want to enjoy the extremely shortened college experience that he’s going to have? That just doesn’t make sense. I do get this- his actions and words portray a player who is driven. A guy who’s extremely focused and motivated. Yet, a guy who’s is almost TOO inwardly motivated. TOO focused. Through his actions, he’s made a lot of people wait. In waiting, he’s made everything about himself. That doesn’t sound like a team player to me.
But most commentators will be quick to mention how much he will improve Kansas’ team. There’s no doubt they’re right. After all, the Jayhawks are losing the majority of their minutes from last year, including another superstar freshman, Ben McLemore. But most polls have them going from a borderline top-25 team to a top-5 team! I just don’t see it. There’s just not enough experience on that team to make a deep run. I’m be happy to be proven wrong, though. For all my skepticism surrounding Andrew Wiggins’ motivation, I absolutely respect him as a player. He’s certainly a sight to see and would have made an impact wherever he went. But his actions just don’t feel right to me. A good teammate is someone who doesn’t just want to make himself better, he wants to make everyone around him better; even at his own expense. Maybe Kansas will find this out. Think of some of the great point guards- Jason Kidd, Steve Nash…even Kendall Marshall from North Carolina. They have a pass-first mentality. A team mentality. They would want to be there for their teammates the very first second they could. And they would do everything in their power to make sure that the spotlight was on anyone but them.
I’m absolutely certain that Andrew Wiggins will have a great college career. He’ll use his brief time at Kansas to resume his rightful position as the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and go on to be an All-Star for years to come. But after some reflection on the latest “Decision,” I can only hope that I’m wrong about him. I want to believe that Andrew Wiggins is the shy kid that everyone else talks about. Young men certainly need more role models that embody the trait of humility. But like everyone else, I’ll just have to wait and see. As I said yesterday, I hope that Wiggins is happy with his decision. Surprisingly, I am too.
The ACC ‘s annual meetings began in earnest yesterday and there are several topics of interest for Florida State fans:
1. Bowl tie-ins for football: We should learn the bowl lineup for the post BCS era this week. Here’s hoping the addition of Notre Dame results in an appealing slate. After the first day of meetings ESPN’s Brett Murphy has mentioned the potential for the Russell Athletic Bowl to host the #2 ACC team. Most FSU fans would be disappointed with this result.
2. ACC Network: Can the ACC really generate enough interest at ESPN to support another college oriented network? If the answer is yes, then how much money will it bring to the conference? FSU fans are anxious to fill the conference money gap as soon as possible.
3. Basketball Tournament Sites: Will the ACC consider a geographic rotation of sites for the ACC basketball tournament to better represent the geographic foot print of the conference? Can the new ACC programs influence the other non Carolina schools to become less Carolina centric? The selection of future sites for the ACC tournament could shed some light on the future direction of the conference.
Other potential topics of interest:
4. Geographic Division Alignment: it’s time to make North and South divisions to create meaningful geographic rivalries. Surely, FSU was able to work a deal “under the table” to enhance their ACC slate by adding Georgia Tech to their division in exchange for the Grant of Rights. I can’t imagine the Seminoles signing themselves over for a 15 year commitment to the conference without some assurance of immediate benefit for the football program.
FSU fans are mostly tired of hearing about Swofford’s endless amount of promises for an improved revenue and an enhanced league. It would be nice if the ACC could start to flex it’s muscle regarding the topics above so we can all sleep better at night.
The most disappointing part of Andrew Wiggins’ recruitment is also the most endearing. He does not like the spotlight. Unfortunately, there is no “inside information” available for fans to debate and dispute. FSU fans are hoping for the best. This could become the biggest day in the modern era of Florida State basketball.
At North Carolina, we have an awesome set of videos at the Dean Smith Center. During men’s basketball games, former Tar Heel greats appear on the video board in a montage where they take turns saying- I’m __________, and I’m a Tar Heel. Michael Jordan. Rasheed Wallace. Jerry Stackhouse. Antawn Jamison. Vince Carter. Tyler Hansbrough. It’s incredible. But there’s one guy that I want to see up there that isn’t there yet- Andrew Wiggins.
By now, you know who he is. The consensus #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The best high school prospect since Lebron James. A guy they call “Maple Jordan.” Tomorrow is possibly the biggest day of the entire offseason for college basketball fans. At 12:15pm in a “low-key” ceremony, Wiggins will announce his decision between North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky and Kansas. But where will he go?
I’m not sure. His coach says he’s not sure. Maybe even Wiggins himself doesn’t know….yet. But the official signing day window closes on Wednesday, so Wiggins is doing his due diligence and announcing at the last minute. In my opinion, there’s only one real option, and that’s to go to North Carolina. Stay with me, I know what you’re thinking. This guy’s name is “Mr. Tar Heel.” He’s a Carolina grad. He lives near Chapel Hill. OF COURSE he wants Wiggins to go to North Carolina. But no, really. It’s his best option.
Think about it. North Carolina is returning a suddenly veteran team with Marcus Paige, PJ Hairston and James Michael McAdoo. They’re receiving big-man help in top prospects Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks. They have an opening in the starting lineup that just happens to be at Wiggins’ position. And not only that, but the spot was vacated by a player from Kinston, NC- Wiggin’s father’s hometown. Wiggins’ North Carolina roots run deep. His father was raised here. He almost went to prep school here. And his father grew up wanting to play for North Carolina, only to be turned down by the legendary Dean Smith. So maybe the Wiggins’ family has a chip on their shoulder, I don’t know. Maybe his father still hates North Carolina? Or maybe he wants his son to realize the dream that he always had; to play on the biggest stage, with the best players, against the top teams. North Carolina is the only place he can do this.
If you ask anyone who’s not from the United States to name a college basketball player, they’ll almost always go back to Michael Jordan. Why? Because not only was he greatest ever, but he was the most visible ever. He made himself a brand. THE brand of college basketball. North Carolina is one of the most recognizable, if not THE most recognizable brands in all of college sports. Lebron James is on record stating that he wanted to go there. So is Kobe Bryant. And Dwight Howard. It’s not hard to see that Wiggins might like to be a part of that legend. So why not? Without Wiggins, the team’s ceiling is high for next year. With Wiggins, it’s immeasurable. Where else can he have this kind of schedule?-
Duke (twice) Kentucky
NC State (twice) Michigan State
Syracuse Louisville (possible Hall of Fame Tip-off matchup)
Notre Dame (twice)
The answer? Nowhere. That’s basically a who’s who of NCAA tournament success past and present. And as any North Carolina fan knows, you can go ahead and add Kansas to that list too because the NCAA will continue to match us up with them in the Tournament until they disband. To be a star on the biggest stage, Wiggins has to be on the biggest stage.
He can’t do that at Kentucky. Sure, there’s a lot of hype surrounding John Calipari’s program right now. But did anyone watch last year’s NIT flame-out fiasco? It’s not like those players weren’t the top recruiting class either! Having great players doesn’t guarantee success. You have to have a great TEAM. Kentucky just hasn’t shown that, there’s too much ego. After all, Calipari just isn’t the kind of coach that people give him credit for. The reason he gets so many players to the NBA isn’t because he develops prospects into NBA stars. It’s not his own doing. These guys are ALREADY NBA-ready players. He just babysits them for one semester. If they didn’t have to go to college, they wouldn’t. The one reason they probably stay? Money. Yes, I said it! Think about it. What other coach has gotten so many Final Fours vacated? Right, Calipari stands alone. There has to be something going on. Of course he wasn’t “implicated” in any of the charges, but that’s a weak excuse. Neither was Butch Davis, or Cam Newton, but don’t tell me those guys didn’t do anything wrong. There was money exchanged. And the sin of omission is just as bad as the sin of commission. You can’t claim ignorance if it’s your job to know. If anything, John Calipari is guilty as charged with the utmost gross negligence. It’s his program. He should know what’s going on. Is he a bad coach? Absolutely not. It takes talent to get to the level that he’s on. Is he a nice guy? Maybe, I’m not sure, I’ve never met him. But he isn’t the Midas of the NBA draft. Kentucky isn’t guaranteed a title next year. Williams and Self are the better coaches in this bunch anyway.
But Kansas just doesn’t seem like a great fit for Wiggins either. The Big 12 is weak, and no, Marcus Smart’s return doesn’t change that. It only makes it a two-horse race. Kansas will probably walk through the conference again like they always do, because there’s really no competition outside of a few teams. The Jayhawks also lost a lot from last year’s squad. They just don’t have the veteran presence of some of the other teams on Wiggin’s list. Not to mention that there’s an ongoing scandal surrounding last year’s top player Ben McLemore now. Does Wiggins really want to be associated with that? What if the NCAA comes down hard on the Jayhawks in his only season? Don’t get me wrong, Bill Self IS a great coach. I’ve seen that enough times by watching his team beat my team in the NCAA tournament. But why go to a place that he really has no connection to? No family, no history, and really, a weaker roster than some of his other choices. It just doesn’t make sense.
Which brings me to Florida State. If he was going to go there because of his family connection, why didn’t he just decide that a long time ago? That would have saved a lot of people a lot of time, and a lot of money. It makes you wonder. One thing the Noles have going for them is a very similar schedule to North Carolina. In fact, they get to play North Carolina while the Tar Heels have to play an FSU team that looks weak with the loss of sharpshooter Michael Snaer. But if that wasn’t enough, Wiggins’ best friend Xavier Rathan-Mayes has already signed on to move to Tallahassee. So maybe that is enough for Wiggins. I’m a family guy, so I can totally respect that. I’d even cheer for him when he wasn’t playing North Carolina. But even with Wiggins, the Noles aren’t a Final Four contender. Sure, they’d be better. A LOT better. But they just don’t have the firepower, or experience needed to go all the way.
So what will he do? We’ll find out tomorrow afternoon. I hope that whatever he chooses, he’s happy. Certainly, everyone hopes for that. As a North Carolina fan and graduate, I’d love for him to come to my school. But if he didn’t, I wouldn’t regret it. I just hope he wouldn’t either.
The ACC-B1G Challenge games were announced a few days ago. After looking to see who your school played, the next thought was probably to check out whether any other games were intriguing. And there are several. So let’s just go ahead and rank them for interest.
Gold Medal Games:
1. North Carolina @ Michigan State. Tom Izzo v Roy Williams. That’s a lot of Final Four appearances. MSU always reloads, and North Carolina never stays quiet for long. This one should be a battle in Breslin.
2. Michigan @ Duke. Both teams had good seasons in 2012-2013, with Michigan exceeding expectations by making a run to the title game. Both have a lot of production to replace. Will be a great game though.
3. Indiana @ Syracuse. A rematch of a March Madness game that went for the Orange. A lot of new faces in 2013-2014, but a lot of star power will be back and new to both campuses.
4. Wisconsin @ Virginia. The first one to 40 wins? Don’t expect a lot of points in this one. But this is still a darn good matchup.
Silver Medal Games:
5. Notre Dame @ Iowa. Any time ANY Fighting Irish team comes to town, it is a big deal. A nice regional battle too.
6. Penn State @ Pittsburgh. A battle for Pennsylvania. This one should be close too–Penn State has experience coming back.
7. Miami @ Nebraska. The Hurricanes invested in their program by hiring a dynamic coach. Nebraska is investing in its facilities. A better game on the gridiron, but one to keep an eye on anyway.
8. Florida State @ Minnesota. Both teams fell short of expectations last year. A lot of new faces.
Bronze Medal Games:
9. Northwestern @ North Carolina State. This game might be underrated at #9. But until the Wildcats make a Big Dance, it is hard to take them seriously on the hardcourt.
10. Illinois @ Georgia Tech. Still waiting for that Georgia Tech team to turn the corner. Illinois fans may feel the same way.
11. Boston College @ Purdue. Not exactly the old Patriots-Colts battles featuring Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. It is what it is.
12. Maryland @ Ohio State. Big 10 fans will be rooting for Ohio State. ACC fans will be rooting for Ohio State. Not much of a “challenge.”
Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest are left out of the challenge. We’ll give them participation ribbons even though they are not, obviously, participating.
Listening to ESPN Radio on the way home from work and heard that the schedule for next season’s ACC-Big 10 Challenge had been released.
Here’s the lineup:
Tuesday, December 3
Florida State at Minnesota
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Indiana at Syracuse
Michigan at Duke
Notre Dame at Iowa
Penn State at Pittsburgh
Wednesday, December 4
Boston College at Purdue
Maryland at Ohio State
Miami, FL at Nebraska
North Carolina at Michigan State
Northwestern at North Carolina State
Wisconsin at Virginia
Admittedly NC State does not have the most attractive draw. This is only right after the debacle of 2012/13; however I do believe the coming year will see a less star-laden but more focused Pack. Meaning, of course, this game is winnable, especially at Raleigh.
However there are some great matchups here. Duke/Michigan and UNC/Michigan State, of course, but also the Battle of Pennsylvania, Pitt/Penn State; Syracuse/Indiana looks huge; and the first Challenge appearance of the Irish, Notre Dame/Iowa.
There is even a game in which I might end up rooting for the B1G team; er, go Buckeyes?
Big 10 fans were scrambling around yesterday applauding the announcement that the conference would be distributing $25.7 this year. It is unclear why the St. Louis Dispatch was issuing the report. After all, the Big 10 did not want Missouri. But it is what it is.
However, before Big 10 fans start looking for a popsicle to suck, it should be noted that the TV revenue contribution to each school decreased. ESPN reported this regarding the Big 10 distributions:
The league’s fiscal year doesn’t end until June 30, but according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Stu Durando, conference payouts to member schools should reach another record high this year. Figures provided by Illinois show that Big Ten distributions are expected to be $25.7 million per school, including $7.6 million from the Big Ten Network.
Last year, schools got $24.6 million from the league, including $8.1 million from BTN. In 2011, the number was $22.6 million per school and $7.9 million from BTN. The Big Ten continues to distribute more revenue to its member schools than any other conference, which explains why Maryland was eager to dump decades of tradition in the ACC to jump on board.
People scoffed at the Big Ten Network when it first began, but Durando writes that the venture will have resulted in $42.5 million per full league member over the past six years. The figure has decreased this year for the first time, but that’s likely due to an increased slice of the pie given to Nebraska, which does not receive a full share of league revenue until 2017.
So there you go. Stu Durando calls it a “record” distribution, even though the to-school distribution is expected to be lower than either 2012 or 2011. Oh wait, there is an excuse. The lower distribution is because Nebraska is being given a larger slice of the pie. And Nebraska will not even get a full share until 2017! So apparently Nebraska’s mere increase in share caused a decrease in payouts per school.