Around the ACC: April 11, 2014

Basketball is over.  Football is long over.  In fact, we are closer to the next football season than the last one.  So… what else is going on to keep us interested?

Well, there is always lacrosse.  The ACC is stacked in lacrosse right now.  All six of the ACC programs are in the top 10, with Duke leading the way at #2.  The women are nearly as dominant, with the same six programs in the top 18.  On the womens’ side, however, the ACC has the top three spots: UNC, Maryland, and Syracuse.  Also, Louisville is #19.

And the ACC is doing typically well in baseball too.  Florida State is #1, while Virginia is #2.  Clemson and Miami area also ranked, while soon-to-be ACC member, Louisville, is #11 overall.

Softball is not faring as well for the ACC, with only FSU and Notre Dame in the top 25.  Meanwhile, Union eliminated Boston College in the frozen four last night in mens hockey.

But if you cannot get away from the revenue sports, there is always something going on somewhere involving an ACC team.  Consider the following articles on the Internet today:

So… there you go… some football and hoops news, even in the middle of April!   Enjoy the day!

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All Things FSU & Beyond

Before I begin, I’d like to start off with a quick thank you to the Confidential for providing me this opportunity to write about FSU and the ACC as a whole. This is something I’ve been tempted to do for quite some time and finally jumped at the chance. While I looked over the Confidential, I could not help but notice that this blog was missing a particular garnet and gold tint that I’ve become so accustomed to in my years as an FSU and ACC fan.  I am hoping I can provide that for my fellow FSU fans and ACC friends alike.

My name is David Shrimpton, I am almost 26 years old and a proud Alumni of Florida State University. I graduated with both my Bachelors and Masters degrees from FSU in Sports Management. Most people told me it was great that I was going to get an advanced degree right away, but truthfully I just wanted (okay, maybe needed) one more football season. After all I couldn’t graduate before beating the Gators at least once as a student, it just wouldn’t be right.

I spent the previous 2 years as a sales associate for a professional sports team, which was a great and unique experience. However, I recently switched up career paths to a traveling job that provides me the opportunity to spend more time with both my girlfriend and family. I know that sounds like it doesn’t make sense, a traveling job while seeing a girlfriend and family more? Well…that’s what happens when you have a girlfriend in Michigan and family in Florida.

Ironically enough my 3 favorite schools growing up were FSU, Syracuse (Born in NY) and North Carolina (I mean, who didn’t love watching Vince Carter?). I guess I was destined to be a “Go ACC” guy from the get go. However there was always something pulling me closer and stronger toward the garnet and gold. I’ve never looked back since, even though I wouldn’t blame anyone after having gone through the Chris Rix and Drew Weatherford eras. Once I got to FSU in the fall of 2006 my passion grew deeper and I developed a love for the school that even my girlfriend grows concerned at times. Yeah… we’ve had a few “disputes” over my fanaticism, yup, I’m that guy.

My goal here is to spark some conversation on all things surrounding FSU and the ACC. With that said I wanted to give just a brief overview of the “big 3″ sports at FSU and where they currently stand, how I feel on them.  This should help give the casual fan of FSU some basic knowledge or maybe provide some insight for a friendly rival here in the ACC.

Basketball:

I figure I’d start with the one sport that no longer has an active team, and the sport as a whole won’t be after tonight’s championship game. FSU had their bubble burst this year, narrowly missing the tournament as one of the dreaded “last four out”. The team was able to make a decent run to the NIT Final Four, including dropping a cool 100+ on Georgetown (Georgetown still sucks, right Cuse fans?). However the  run ended as they were ousted in overtime by the eventual champion Minnesota Gophers. Honestly though, it’s the NIT and who really gives a hoot about that? I care about the NIT as much as I do the PapaJohns.com Bowl in football. Anyway, the team has a lot to replace losing arguably their two most important players in Ian Miller and Okaro White. I plan to discuss the team more in-depth down the road, but look out for Aaron Thomas next year if you don’t already know the name. If you don’t, I promise you’ll know it next season. I still suspect FSU to fall in that “second tier” of teams of the ACC come next year, anywhere from the 5th-9th place.

Baseball:

I could start both this and football with the same sentence: #1. FSU is currently ranked first in 2 of the 4 polls, and not ranked lower than 3rd in any poll. The team is coming off a sweep of Notre Dame, helping keep that #1 ranking in tact. I recommend googling for the rain delay videos as the two teams jousted, yes jousted, during it among other games to entertain themselves. It is definitely worth it and a good laugh to say the least.

The offense is led by DJ Stewart and John Nogowski but the arms on this team are really where it’s at. Brandon Leibrant, Mike Compton & Luke Weaver are an awesome trio for any weekend match up. Not to mention in relief there is Gage “the stache” Smith and my personal man crush as my girlfriend says, Jameis Winston. I fully expect the Noles to make it to Omaha this year yet again, but will they finally win one for #11 Coach Mike Martin?

Football:

#1. The Seminoles are currently the reigning national champions and will be ranked #1 heading into next season. I’ve waited since 1999 to say that which feels like an eternity, so I’m going to say it every day I get a chance to. Admittedly this will probably be the team I cover the most, since I follow it the most passionately. The FSU Spring Game is actually happening this Saturday, and if you’re not in the Tallahassee I recommend kicking on ESPN3 to catch it.

The Noles have lost a lot to the draft once again this year, including some key departures who decided to forego their senior season. It will be interesting to see how FSU is able to replace these key players heading into 2014 and something I plan on covering. I will say though that I’m not going to doubt the man who replaced 11 NFL draftees last year and still led FSU to a perfect record and a championship. Then again, when you have a guy like Jameis Winston playing QB for you, it sure can make you look like you’re one hell of a coach. With that said I do love Coach Fisher and hope he’s at FSU for a long, long tenure. I love his approach to the game as a business and a process.

Well there you have it, sorry for the length but I wanted to at least provide a little bit of coverage on myself and those teams. For those looking to delve a little more in-depth with their FSU knowledge I highly recommend checking out Tomahawknation.com as it is free and jammed packed with information. If any of you are interested in having me write on a particular topic, have questions about FSU or myself in general don’t hesitate to ask! Also feel free to follow me on twitter @Shrimpton4 and reach me there. The more people engage, the better this is for me, especially since I’m new to this.

As always, Go Noles!

The Tigers Aren’t Finished Yet

Picked to finish 14th in the ACC, Coach Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers surprised everyone when they ended the regular season 6th in the conference. Not to mention a season long, star performance by junior forward, K.J. McDaniels who was voted an ACC first team All-American and defensive player of the year.

The Tigers take on Georgia State in Littlejohn Coliseum tonight at 9pm on ESPNU in the first round of the NIT, a postseason honor not all ACC schools can boast about. The ACC is one of the toughest basketball conferences in the nation and you must give credit where credit is due to Brad Brownell. He took the underdogs and made them into competitors that demanded to be taken seriously.

With a heartbreaking overtime loss to Pitt at the end of the regular season, Clemson started the ACC Tournament right with a thrilling overtime win against Georgia Tech, just to be fortunate enough to move on to play Duke in the quarterfinals. What at one point looked like it would be a Blue Devils blowout, the Tigers fought back to bring the game back to within a few points, only to lose by 1 on a controversial call that sent Duke to the next round.

While Clemson won’t be entering “The Big Dance” this March Madness season, they do have a lot to be proud of. Players like Landry Nnoko, Demarcus Harrison, and Jaron Blossomgame improved to become vital assets to the team. Consistent players like K.J. McDaniels and Rod Hall gave another tremendous effort to show that at least one school in South Carolina knows how to play basketball.

This young team should be coming back in full force next season, but might be one short. K.J. McDaniels, while only a junior, is likely to enter the NBA Draft after this season concludes. While I can’t say I blame him, I do hope he’ll consider finishing out his career as a Clemson Tiger and seeing how far he can lead this team next season.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the Tigers play this season, catch them on ESPNU tonight at 9pm in the first round of the NIT!

clemson

Syracuse Basketball: Grading the Orange

The Syracuse Orange closed out the regular season on Sunday with 74-58 win over the Florida State Seminoles.  The win earned the Orange a 27-4 mark for the regular season, a record that, any other year, would have SU fans jumping for joy.  This season, though, the fact that Jim Boeheim’s squad went only 2-4 over their last six has many of the Orange faithful’s panic-o-meter cranked up to 44.

Relax.

Yes, the Orange had their seasonal slide a bit later than usual.  True, that slide included a couple of really bad losses to Boston College and Georgia Tech.  And, of course, one fairly dominant win over the ‘Noles doesn’t erase the flaws shown by Syracuse late in the season.  So, let’s take a moment to take the long view and grade the Orange as they prepare for the post season.

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Virginia Wins ACC Title

The Confidential has devoted a lot of time and space to the Syracuse Orange.  Once 25-0 and ranked #1, this made sense.  But today’s matchup between the Virginia Cavaliers and Syracuse left no doubt which team deserves the regular season crown.  It’s Virginia… who rolled over Syracuse, 75-56, on the way to a 16-1 regular season and championship.

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Power of the Beard

Following an overtime loss to Notre Dame last season Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino promised his players that he would get a tatoo if they didn’t lose another game. Soon after they won the national championship he got a tatoo on the back of his left shoulder to honor thier accomplishment. To inspire his team to finish strong this season the whole program has decided to stop shaving until they lose. The power of the beard has become a popular and successful practice in sports, mainly in baseball. Only a few games in and Pitino appeares to be sporting a 5 o’clock shadow. By the end of the year I am hopeing they are styleing beards more like ZZ Top than Duck Dynasty.
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Syracuse Loses to Boston College–Yikes!

The Confidential just spent 1,000 words explaining that Syracuse deserved to be 25-0.  They most certainly did–even with their flaws.  But those flaws came out in full force in a loss to Boston College last night.  And now Syracuse most certainly deserves to be 25-1.  Only the specifics of that “1″ are such that there is significant cause for concern.  And perhaps even relief.  Here is why.

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IMPORTANT GAME TIME CHANGE: #1 Syracuse vs. NC State

The game time has moved from 3pm to 7pm for weather-related reasons.  http://scores.espn.go.com/ncb/preview?gameId=400502855

Note this for your TV viewing pleasure (or lack thereof).   For television options, check here: http://www.theacc.com/#!/GameCenter/52685b9be4b0f86829b3c7f1

 

 

 

 

Syracuse Orange: Team of Destiny?

With the Syracuse Orange having recently ascended to their third #1 ranking in five years, a lot of the talk has been if Jim Boeheim’s squad is the team to beat.  The notion has been phrased different ways; “the national title Syracuse’s to lose”, “The title is there for the taking”, but all boil down to the idea that Syracuse is really, really good and deserve their share of time at #1.  The fact that Syracuse’s selection was the first unanimous one since  Duke in the 2010-11 season lends weight to that argument and, of course, a 23-0 record doesn’t hurt either.

Yet, looking back at that Orange this season, another phrase comes to mind when I think of this particular squad: a team of destiny.

Now, what do I mean when I say that?  Do I mean that I literally believe some cosmic entity has preordained the Orange to win a national title? Well…no, of course not.  What I mean is that whatever it’s taken for Syracuse to win, that’s exactly what has happened.

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Tar Heel Panic-o-Meter Level- MODERATE

It’s been almost a month since the Confidential looked at the current Tar Heel basketball team and not a lot has changed-

We still have no idea who this team is, or what they’re capable of.

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