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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “ACC only”

Women’s Sports in Chapel Hill at UNC

As an ex-female athlete and graduate, one thing I know for sure is that the University of North Carolina is a powerhouse for all things women’s sports. While UNC may be known for men’s basketball, the university really becomes infamous thanks to its women’s soccer team reining in 22 national championships. Compare this to men’s basketball, who has just 6 national championships, yet is revered as a dynasty in college athletics. This is not to take credit away from our infamous and deserving basketball team, but it is to showcase how unique our women’s soccer team’s success is. In fact, Carolina women’s soccer is the winningest program in college athletic history if you look at national championships. For additional reference, UConn women’s basketball, who is also revered as one of the winningest programs in college history- has won 11 National Championships. Lastly, what is most impressive about the Carolina women’s soccer team is that they have won 22 out of 36 total national championships, meaning UNC has won almost 2/3 of the total possible number of championships.

This article is not a plea for the recognition of women’s sports over men’s. It is actually to showcase the breadth of women’s sports viewing options fans have in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as compared to the rest of the country. Not only does Chapel Hill have great women’s sports due to the soccer team, it also has a variety of sports for people to watch. In contrast, I live in New York City and my viewing options for women’s sports are not only minimal, but they are not easily accessible. This is partially due to their not being a major division 1 collegiate athletic program in the city (I’m sorry Columbia, you don’t count). It is also partially due to how expensive fields and courts cost, which is doubly a problem when the revenue for women’s sports is so low. New York is the city that has everything, but it is not even comparable to Chapel Hill when it comes to viewing women’s sports.

New York City gives one pro women’s sports viewing option via the New York Liberty who play at Madison Square Garden. They play during the summer after the NBA and NHL season has completed, and on average about 9,000 people attend the games. In comparison, for a good soccer game at Fetzer field, upwards of 6,500 people will attend a game. What is important to think about is the fact that Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people, yet Carolina’s stadium sells out for the biggest games. There is a market for good women’s sports viewing in Chapel Hill that is unmatched elsewhere because of the depth of talent and viewing options UNC provides.

In addition to women’s soccer, field hockey has been a strong contributor to UNC women’s athletic success. The field hockey program matches men’s basketball with 6 national championships, and they landed their latest in 2009. Women’s lacrosse is a new women’s powerhouse sport, having won 2 national championships in the past 5 years. Women’s basketball is also consistently ranked in the top 25, and have a far more accessible stadium for the casual viewer who may not want to battle the crowds or parking decks over at the Smith Center.

I think there is a direct correlation between the abundance of women’s sports at Carolina and the success of female athletes who grew up in Chapel Hill. Every year, there is a girl like me to join the new recruiting class of UNC women’s soccer. The town of Chapel Hill also send athletes to the most competitive schools in the country, and it has even had a few Olympians who grew up in the town. This is not a coincidence, and the breadth and talent of UNC women’s sports is unique to Chapel Hill alone.

This article is supported by Wake Forest pediatric dental office Triangle Pediatric Dentistry. If you are a mother or father to a young child, we strongly recommend taking them to Dr. Porter or Dr. Hollowell in Wake Forest, NC.

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A 101 of UNC and the 2017 NBA Draft

Guest Article by Farrell Sweeney

Being a Carolina basketball fan means never settling, so now that we have our National Championship for the year, it’s time to look ahead to our legacy. As excited as Tar Heel nation was for our 2017 National Championship, we are now getting excited for the impending NBA careers of our 2017 graduates and players who will be entering the draft this year. It is always bittersweet to lose players before it is time for them to graduate, but Tar Heel nation is always supportive of prospects who have the potential to be the next Danny Green or Antawn Jamison representing UNC in the NBA. This year, UNC has four players working out in this week’s NBA Combine which is held from May 9-14.

2017 National Champions Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt, Kanler Coker, and Stilman White are the 2017 National Champions whose playing terms are up. Of those graduating, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks will be playing in the combine. Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley are the two players with eligibility left who will be playing in the combine. Carolina has the potential of regaining Tony Bradley, however Justin Jackson has officially left the University to pursue his dreams of playing in the NBA.

Junior Justin Jackson has declared he will be entering the 2017 draft without the option of returning to school for his Senior year. This is after Jackson’s decision to enter the 2016 draft with the option of returning to school, which he ultimately did to play for his Junior year. Jackson leaving this year is not surprising given his 2016 combine participation in addition to his having won a National Championship. Jackson enters the draft having played three years scoring 1,626 career points. He has also scored the second-most career points in the NCAA Tournament of any Carolina player, which is impressive given Jackson only played in the tournament for three years. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year this year joining the likes of Tyler Zeller, Tyler Hansbrough, and Antawn Jamison among others. He is currently projected to be selected in the first round among the top 10-20 picks, and will almost certainly be Carolina’s top draft pick this year.

Tony Bradley has entered into the draft but has not hired an agent yet. Depending on how he plays in the combine, Carolina could regain the Freshman center for the 2017-2018 season. Draft projections have placed Bradley as a late first round or early second round pick. Many are projecting that if the Freshman returns to UNC for his Sophomore year, he will have a good chance of being drafted in the top 15 picks. Bradley played alongside Hicks and Meeks this past year, and for the 2017-2018 season he would have the opportunity to be a standout center and the backbone of the team in a way he was unable to do his Freshman season. Bradley has until May 24th to decide whether he will continue onto the draft or remain at Carolina for another season.

Charlotte born and bred Kennedy Meeks has had an up and down four years at Carolina. He stepped up this past year after the departure of Bryce Johnson and became one of Carolina’s most reliable players. He averaged just shy of a double-double during his senior season with 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He was an integral part of Carolina’s success during the NCAA tournament as well, and we can undoubtedly contribute his performance as an important part of UNC winning the National Championship. While Meeks is not projected to get drafted in the first two rounds as of now, we certainly hope he will get picked up.

Isaiah Hicks, also an NC native, is the other senior to join the NBA Combine with Meeks in the hopes of getting drafted after graduation. In the 2017 season, Hicks scored on average 11.8 points a game, and he was known for his unmatched free-throw shooting ability, having hit 113 out of 145 free throws during his tenure at Carolina. Hicks is also looking to get drafted high in the second round or as an undrafted free agent.

The biggest question mark for Carolina fans is certainly whether Bradley will be staying or leaving. Justin Jackson is has been projected to be picked up by the Heat, so any Miami based Carolina fans could have Jackson to look forward to. Hicks and Meeks are both on the fringe of being picked up late in the second round or as undrafted free agents. Players such as Danny Green have unexpectedly created the Carolina legacy in the NBA, so we can’t count any of these players out as the next alumn to carry on the Carolina legacy in the NBA. Tune into the draft on June 22 to find out where our boys are off to next.

This article is sponsored by Wells Family Dental in Raleigh, NC. If you have any oral health or dental needs, many of the dentists and doctors at Wells Family Dental graduated from the UNC School of Dentistry.

Joel Berry II Returns to UNC in an Attempt to Go Back to Back

Joel Berry II is looking to become one of the most successful UNC basketball players in the history of the program. During his freshman year, the Tar Heels lost to Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. His sophomore year was a Final Four run that ended with a loss in the national championship game to Villanova. The following year, his junior year, Berry was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four as he helped lead the Tar Heels to the National Championship.

That puts Berry’s NCAA Tournament record at 13-2. Another run to the Final Four will put Berry in unchartered territory. While Berry was a highly recruited point guard out of Lake Highland Prep School in Orlando, Florida, most did not see him becoming a player of this stature.

In fact, many were worried that he would be stuck behind Marcus Paige who was UNC’s go to scorer when Berry came in as a freshman. After slowly working into the role of the starting point guard at UNC, Berry could now go down as the winningest player in the history of the program.

With another year in Chapel Hill to pad his stats, it will be interesting to see how Berry reacts to being the most valuable player on the court at all times. For the past two years, Berry has had Paige and Justin Johnson as the leading scorers on their respective UNC teams. Now, it may be time for Berry to step up and take more shots.

We know that Berry is not going back to UNC so he can get into dental school or law school, but it is nice to see a player of his skill set come back for his fourth and final year.

Grayson Allen Will Return to Duke for 4th and Final Season

One of the most hated players in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference will be back for a fourth and final season. Grayson Allen will be a member of the 2017-2018 Duke men’s basketball team. This comes as a surprise to many as it has been well documented that Grayson Allen has had his struggles with Coach K and the Duke staff for not starting many games during his junior season.

Some are saying that Grayson Allen could rival Christian Laettner as the most hated player in the history of the league. If you haven’t had the opportunity, I suggest watching I Hate Christian Laettner which is one of the best ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries on college basketball.

If Grayson Allen continues his “tripping” ways, there is no doubt he will continue to reign as the most disliked player in ACC basketball. With many diehard ACC fans having a strong dislike for Coach K, it comes as no surprise as one of the top players on the Duke team is not a player that is looked highly upon.

In fact, there are very few Duke players that would be considered “liked” by ACC fans. While UNC fans hate all Duke players, it is not all that unusual for other fan bases to have some type of distaste for the players in the Blue Devils jerseys.

So, what do you think of Grayson Allen coming back to Duke? Do you think he will get a few technical fouls for tripping players in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill next winter and spring?

This post was supported by Triangle Pediatric Dentistry. If you are looking for the best Raleigh pediatric dentist give them a call at 919-435-7660.

Is the Heisman Trophy Going to an ACC Quarterback?

It was all but wrapped up for Lamar Jackson two weeks ago. It may still be, but the race has gotten closer with Louisville’s poor performances against Houston and Kentucky; both losses. With Deshaun Watson playing in his second straight college football playoff after winning the ACC Championship two years in a row he has pulled to a close second according to the Heisman “experts”.

In a year in which the Big 10 (B1G) is supposed to be head and shoulder above any other conference, they only have one Heisman finalists and he has almost a zero percent chance of winning it. In fact, the ESPN experts have him 10th yet he is still getting a trip to NYC. Go figure. If he is 10th on the list wouldn’t it make sense to take one of the guys from, I don’t know, 5th through 9th? I guess that bias against the Big 10 (B1G) isn’t so strong anymore.

So, it is between Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. Two dual threat quarterbacks from the ACC that have thrown for a gazillion yards and dozens of touchdowns. They have also helped their teams with their legs with each quarterback rushing for well over 500.

When looking at the stats, Lamar Jackson should. He threw for 3390 yards and ran for 1538. Heck, his rushing stats along would make him one of the best running backs in the nation. With 21 rushing touchdowns and 30 passing touchdowns it is going to be hard to not hand him the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.

Either way, the Heisman Trophy will be going to an ACC quarterback. That is really all that matters.

The Direction of The ACC Confidential

As many of you know, the previous owner of The ACC Confidential has stepped aside and has graciously allowed me to take over. I cannot thank him enough for allowing me to do this. It was an efficient and seamless transition and hopefully the direction will be the same.

Having grown up in North Carolina and attended an ACC university, that will go unnamed, I have a strong connection with the ACC. I can remember getting out of school at noon on Fridays to watch the first round of the ACC Basketball Tournament. The ACC Basketball Tournament will always be a Friday, Saturday and Sunday event for me; no matter how much they try to change it.

I can remember growing up watching Grant Hill, Hubert Davis, James Forrest and Tim Duncan. In football, I watched Florida State dominate the 1990s only to be dethroned by Maryland in the early 2000s. I can remember the day Virginia Tech and Miami were brought on board to make it a football conference. Well, we know how that went.

I lived through the scandals at UNC, Duke (lacrosse) and Louisville. I have been to three Final Fours of which UNC lost in two of them; they were not part of the third. I have watched numerous national championships won and lost by the ACC. In fact, I am a huge fan of non-revenue generating sports as well. Look for many women’s lacrosse and volleyball posts on The ACC Confidential moving forward.

Overall, I cannot tell you an exact direction. I am going to publish what comes to my mind. If I have time, I will publish several posts a week. If I don’t have time, I might only publish one blog post every few weeks. It will all be by the seat of my pants. Hopefully you enjoy the ride and I look forward to discussing the ACC with many of the readers of The ACC Confidential.

My Final Post, New Era Begins

After 5 years and 1,000+ posts, and running this blog, it is time to move on to new and exciting ventures.  I am in the process of transferring the blog.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to the blog while I was owner/operator.  Thank you to all of our followers, especially those who followed us into the new format.

The new owner/operator will likely make a post of introduction and continue things from there.

Go ACC!

 

The Confidential’s ACC Football Over-Unders: Recap.

Every year, the Confidential does over-unders for each ACC school, based solely on the regular season.  In 2014, we had 6 schools correctly pegged within 1/2 a win of their ultimate totals.  In 2015, we improved to 7 schools correctly pegged within a 1/2 a win of their ultimate total.  And now it is on to 2016.  Remember, these are regular season wins only.  No bowl games or playoffs.  Here is the final tally of the Confidential’s over-unders for 2016, as well as the final results/analysis:

Clemson: 11.5 wins.  CORRECT!  At 11-1, Clemson ended up within 1/2 a win of the Confidential’s projection.  And Clemson certainly could have beaten Pitt.  Of course, Clemson should have lost to NC State, Troy, or both.  It is what it is.

Notre Dame: 10.5 wins.  WOEFULLY INCORRECT.  At 4-8, Notre Dame blew a season with a weak schedule.  They lost to Texas (who fired its coach), Michigan State (down season), and Duke (down season), among others.  Just a horrible, terrible season.

Florida State: 9.5 wins.  CORRECT!  At 9-3, Florida State fell a bit short of the under, but this was always setting up to be a tough season for the Seminoles.  They did fine overall.

Miami: 8.5 wins.  CORRECT!  A streaky season for the Hurricanes, with blocks of 4 wins surrounding a block of four losses.

North Carolina: 8.5 wins.  CORRECT!  UNC fell one game short of its win total, like several of the above teams.  In fact, the ACC ended up fairly down by the end of the year.  However, it it was a decent OOC season and the ACC teams fared well in their SEC rivalry games (3-1) again.

Louisville: 7.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Many folks criticized this one and perhaps deservedly so.  But Louisville losing to Kentucky should silence Cards fans for a while.

Virginia Tech: 7.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Like Louisville, the Hokies did much better than expected at 9-3.

Pitt: 7.5 wins.   CORRECT!  Despite the difficult schedule, Pitt fared well at 8-4, including the sole win over Clemson so far.

Duke: 6.5 wins.  INCORRECT!   Duke finished at 4-8, well short of the estimated over-under.

North Carolina State: 5.5 wins.   CORRECT!  This one was correct heading into the surprise  victory over UNC, which pushed NC State into the “over” category.

Georgia Tech: 5.5 wins.  INCORRECT.  The Yellow Jackets did much better than expected with an 8-4 regular season.

Virginia: 5.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Virginia only managed 2 wins.  On to 2017.

Boston College: 5.5 wins.  CORRECT!  BC had an easy OOC schedule and fared well.  Wins over NC State and Wake Forest gave the Eagles the “over.”

Syracuse: 4.5 wins.  CORRECT!  Losing to USF, Wake Forest, and NC State meant that Syracuse could not get the over, despite the Virginia Tech upset.

Wake Forest: 3.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  At 6-wins, the Demon Deacons went way over and are going bowling!

PRESEASON ANALYSIS: By far, the most controversial selection was Louisville at only 7.5 wins.  However, with road trips to Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, and Houston–it is asking a lot of the Cardinals to avoid tripping up against three of its four easiest conference games and two challenging OOC games.  Meanwhile, Florida State and Clemson remain on the schedule.  Notre Dame at 10.5 wins surprised some folks too, but look at who the Fighting Irish play and where.  In any event, it is what it is.  The Coastal, of course, is a mess.  Would any team winning it be a true surprise?  Meanwhile, the Atlantic has NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest in a perpetual battle to avoid the cellar, it seems.

POSTSEASON ANALYSIS: Well, the Confidential edged up to 8 teams picked correctly (within 1/2 game of their final win total).  ND and Duke were the biggest disappointments (along with Virginia), while Wake Forest, Va Tech, Louisville, and Georgia Tech all did better than expected.  Louisville ended up handling its difficult road games, except Houston.  And they almost nipped Clemson.  Anyway, it is an improvement for the Confidential!

 

 

ACC Thankfulness

No matter how high or low you are, you have much to be thankful for.  The life that God gave you (even if you are falling short in using it Him).  Liberty (to the extent that government still allows much of it).  Health.  Happiness.  The Lord’s forgiveness and plan of salvation.  But each ACC school also has much to be thankful for this year in football, such as:

  • Clemson–thankful that Dabo Swinney has restored success to Clemson and then some.  Even if Clemson loses before bowl season, Clemson was in the running all year long again.
  • Louisville–thankful that Lamar Jackson and Bobby Petrino have made Louisville as much as a football school as a basketball school lately.  What Charlie Strong started, Jackson and Petrino have taken even farther
  • Florida State–thankful that Jimbo Fisher has put FSU back in a position where 8-3 seasons are disappointing.  There were some mediocre years.
  • Virginia Tech–thankful that the transition from Frank Beamer has been so smooth.  The team has not only not lost a step, it is doing even better.
  • North Carolina–thankful to avoid sanctions and to have hoops/football teams that are at the top.
  • Miami–thankful that Mark Richt came home to restore some of the Hurricanes swagger, even if streaky and not quite all the way back.
  • Georgia Tech–thankful that last year’s dismal season remains the anomaly, as a nice rebound season continues.
  • Wake Forest–both football and hoops are trending up under Clawson and Manning.
  • NC State–thankful that the A.D. does not schedule tougher, so as to keep them within scratching distance of a bowl every year (unlike some schools that over-schedule)
  • Duke–thankful for Coach K, always, as well as Cutcliffe’s turnaround.
  • Notre Dame–thankful to be a partial member of the ACC, given the football team’s struggles this year.
  • Syracuse–thankful for Coach Boeheim, always, but also thankful for Dino Babers injecting life into the football program
  • Boston College–see NC State.
  • Virginia–thankful for Coach Bennett and hoops dominance of late, as well as a new era in football.
  • The ACC–thankful that ESPN has been able to keep the Big 10 and its cash at bay.

What do you think?  What else should each school be thankful for?

ACC Football: From Riches to Rags in Weeks

For a good part of this season, ACC football was something to brag about.  Entering Week 5, only Notre Dame and Virginia were below .500.  As of Week 10, only Duke was added to those schools and it was very impressive how deep the football depth actually was.  Plus, Clemson and Louisville were a combined 15-1.  Good times!  Even entering this week, there was a way–however unlikely–for both Clemson and Louisville to be in the playoffs.  And then Houston goes ahead and throttles Louisville, 36-10.  So much for that.

Now, the ACC looks to be having a down season.  Clemson is 9-1, but could have (should have) lost to both Troy and NC State.  Although Clemson beat Louisville, Louisville just lost by 26 to a team that lost to SMU.  Florida State has losses to both Clemson and Louisville.  Virginia Tech has lost to Georgia Tech and Syracuse.  North Carolina was blown out by that same Virginia Tech team and lost to Duke.  Miami lost four straight at one point.  North Carolina State lost to Boston College and East Carolina.  Even Notre Dame has been more dreadful than mediocre.  And so on.

This is a long way of saying that maybe, just maybe, this is a year that the ACC does not have a representative in the playoffs.  If Clemson wins out, it (and the ACC) will be there.  But that is it.  Much like Washington is the Pac-12’s only hope, the ACC is down to one school with a chance.  At present, it seems as if the playoff will be: Alabama, (winner of Ohio State/Michigan), Clemson, Washington.  And if everything holds, that is how it should be.

As for Louisville, with Ohio State and Michigan yet to play each other, the Big 10 was guaranteed to have only one school with one loss.  Louisville had a chance to beat out any of those two loss teams by winning out.  It failed.  Now it is part of a group of two loss teams, and not a real opportunity to make the sour taste of a blowout loss fade away.  As always in football, if you are going to lose bad, lose early.  See Penn State, Oklahoma.

 

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