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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “This Day in ACC”

This Day in ACC History: October 14, 1961

It is always fun to look back on where things were in yesteryear–a welcome break from the allegations of NCAA violations that nobody REALLY cares too much about.  Today, we will take a random look back in ACC football history–to October 14, 1961.  Yes, that is now 53 years ago.  Even Greg Oden cannot remember that far back!

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Lets Get the Party Started!

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July 1, 2014, the day the impossible has become reality. The Louisville Cardinals year and half worth of anticipation, more like a life time, has come to an end. The University of Louisville Cardinals are now officially a member of the ACC.
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Clemson North

“The Cleveland Browns have traded the fourth pick to the Buffalo Bills. With the fourth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Clemson.”

The Bills gave up their 2015 first and fourth round draft picks for that trade, talk about a bold move. General Manager Doug Whaley told Sammy they were going to draft him and clearly, he meant it. The Bills had the 9th pick, but waiting their turn was not an option if they were going to get their number one choice. This trade was more than just getting Sammy Watkins; it was a statement to the NFL and Bills fans everywhere. The Bills are going to make it to the playoffs this season.  Or bust. Let’s hope it’s not the latter.

From a Clemson standpoint, I love this pick. I was fortunate enough to watch CJ Spiller run over defenses as a Clemson Tiger for one season before he was drafted 9th overall by the Bills in 2010. I watched Sammy Watkins glide his way through secondary defenses countless times on his way to the end zone in that Tiger uniform and I am thrilled to see Spiller and Watkins as teammates next season.

“Clemson North” is what they are calling it, as the Bills now have five former Clemson Tigers on their roster. Running back, CJ Spiller, offensive linemen, Chris Hairston and Antoine McClain, safety, Jonathan Meeks, and now wide receiver, Sammy Watkins.

Sammy Watkins is a player so outstanding that he makes others around him better. To get EJ Manuel healthy and prepped for the 2014 season, there is no doubt Sammy is going to shine. He is on his way to scoring touchdowns on Sundays and I can’t wait to watch. He has been compared to Detroit Lions wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, but next fall Sammy Watkins will begin his professional legacy and players to come will be compared to him.

To all Bills fans out there, rejoice. Clemson Nation gives you Sammy Watkins and we only hope you grow to love him as much as we did (and still do).

The fun is not over for the Clemson faithful. Still left to be drafted are QB Tajh Boyd, WR Martavis Bryant, CB Brashad Breeland, and OL Brandon Thomas.

You can catch night two of the 2014 NFL Draft tonight on ESPN.

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

Clemson and FSU will set Reputation of ACC for 2013

I can hear the comments now from the four letter network’s talking heads: “The ACC loses more BCS conference match ups….”  The presumption is that the ACC is a weak football conference if they lose lopsided match ups like unranked Virginia Tech vs. #1 Alabama.  I’m not convinced.  Conferences should not be judged by the performance of middle or bottom tier teams.  Would an Illinois victory over Kentucky indicate that the Big 10 is a better conference than the SEC?  No way.

The biggest game this weekend for the ACC is Clemson vs. Georgia.  As a matter of fact, it is the only game that really matters on the national front.

A Clemson victory would likely catapult them into the Top 5, put them in the national title conversation, and set up a nationally relevant game against Florida State on October 18th.  Florida State, the other ranked ACC team, has it’s own responsibility for carrying the ACC flag.  The Noles need to win their games against inferior competition and continue their presence near the Top 10 for a majority of the season.

How many years has it been since an ACC football team has been in the national title conversation in November?  It’s up to you Clemson and Florida State to buck the trend.

Non-Conference Schedule

How many non-conference ranked opponents will be played by conferences this year?

ACC:  11

Big 12: 2

Big 10: 4

Pac 12:  8

SEC:  who cares

Winston Debut

As Florida State finishes up preparations for the Pittsburgh Panthers, most fans are eagerly anticipating the debut of freshman QB Jameis Winston.  Winston has generated a significant amount of hype since his MVP winning Elite 11 camp in 2011.  The hype reached epic proportions after Winston’s spring game performance highlighted by a 58 yd strike against All-ACC conference corner Lamarcus Joyner.

This Day in ACC History: 50 Years Ago (Wake Forest @ North Carolina)

In a new feature, the Confidential will attempt to bridge the gap between yesterday and today by providing some publicity for ACC events from the past.  Today, the Confidential takes a look at a regular season game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  The game took place on February 10, 1962–exactly 50 years ago today.

At the time, these were two of the true blue-bloods of ACC basketball.  North Carolina had already established itself as a great basketball school, most recently under the coaching of Frank McGuire.  Wake Forest would finish #1 in the ACC during the 1961-1962 season.    On February 10, 1962, Wake Forest traveled to North Carolina and won, 87-80.

One of the notable facts of this game is that North Carolina was coached by a young man named Dean Smith.  The Wake Forest game was only his 11th game ever.  As we know, he would go on to win many more games before retiring in 1997 with a then-record 879 wins.  While that record has since fallen to Coach K, Bob Knight, and most recently Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith was a legend in the game.

But the 1961-1962 North Carolina team would struggle.  First, due to a point-shaving scandal, the team drastically cut back its regular season schedule.  Second, the team would finish 8-9 on the year, including 7-7 in conference play.

Against Wake Forest, the Tar Heels were led by Senior Larry Brown’s 21 points.  Yes, that Larry Brown.  Brown led the team in scoring that year with 16.5 points per game.  Senior Jim Hudock also scored 21 points.

Wake Forest jumped out to a 47-37 lead at the half, before holding on to win the game.  The leading scorer was Senior Forward Len Chappell, who scored 36 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.  On the season, Chappell would average a remarkable 30.1 points and 15.2 rebounds per game.  Senior Guard Billy Packer also contributed 14 points in the win over North Carolina.  Yes, that Billy Packer.

The Demon Deacons would finish the ACC slate 12-2.  They then defeated Clemson to win the ACC conference tournament.  And then in the Big Dance (although not quite as big back then), Wake Forest advanced to the Final Four with wins over Yale, St. Joseph’s, and Villanova.  Wake would lose to Ohio State before beating UCLA in the consolation game.

That was a lot of star power on one court–only nobody could have possibly realized it yet.  Fifty years later–two coaching icons and a broadcasting icon.

Do you remember this game?  Please feel free to share any details…

Billy Packer.  Image courtesty of CBS @ http://www.cbssports.com/cbssports/team/bpacker

Billy Packer. Image courtesy of CBS @ http://www.cbssports.com/cbssports/team/bpacker

This Day in History is a feature that relies heavily on information obtained from Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Games, Michael O’ Hara, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2008).  Special thanks to that fine publication.

This Day in ACC History: 27 Years Ago (Maryland & Georgia Tech)

In celebration of Grounghog’s Day, the Confidential is going to roll out another edition This Day in ACC History.  Today, the time machine goes back to a game between the Maryland Terrapins and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on February 2, 1985, 27 years ago.

On February 2, 1985, Georgia Tech traveled to Maryland for a regular season game.  1984-1985 was a good year for both teams.  Georgia Tech would go 9-5 in conference play, and ultimately lose in the Elite Eight to Georgetown.  Maryland would go 8-6 in conference play, and lose in the Sweet 16 to Villanova.  As you may recall, Villanova would shock the world with its defeat of Georgetown in the National Championship Game.

In the game in question, Georgia Tech got the huge road win over Maryland, 72-60.  Maryland’s two leading scorers all season were Senior Adrian Branch and Junior Len Bias.  Branch averaged 18.1 PPG, while Bias averaged 18.9.  There were two of the top three scorers in the ACC that year.  And it was no different in the losing cause against Georgia Tech, with Branch scoring 20 points and Bias adding 14.  Anther key player for Lefty Driesell’s team that night was Sophomore Keith Gatlin, who scored 10 points and added 4 assists

Georgia Tech, coached by Bobby Cremins, was led by two familiar names–Juniors Mark Price and John Salley.  Against Maryland, the Senior Yvon Joseph did most of the damage, scoring 20 points.  Salley added 14 points.  Price had an impressive all-around game with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.  But Sophomore Bruce Dalrymple nearly matched Price with his 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Do you remember this game?  Please feel free to share any details in the Comments section below.


Several of these players would go on to have professional success:

And, of course, Len Bias died tragically only two days after being drafted #2 overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 draft.

The famous John Salley, courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Salley_LF.JPG

This Day in History is a feature that relies heavily on information obtained from Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Games, Michael O’ Hara, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2008).  Special thanks to that fine publication.

This Day in ACC History: 11 Years Ago (Virginia @ Clemson)

Today, in another installment of This Day in ACC History, the Confidential takes a look at a regular season game between the Virginia Cavaliers and Clemson Tigers on January 27, 2001, a mere 11 years ago.

On January 27, 2001, Virginia took a 2-4 conference record into Clemson expecting to right the ship against the last-place Tigers.  The game was notable because it was the 100th game between the two teams.  And Virginia won in style, setting a record for the largest margin of victory in a game at Clemson, 104-76.

The Wahoos were able to win notwithstanding the efforts of Clemson Freshman Chris Hobbs.  Hobbs, a forward, led Clemson with 28 points and 9 rebounds.  He converted 10 of his 13 shots from the floor, while making 8 of 9 free throws.  Another Freshman, guard Tony Stockman, led Clemson with 5 assists.  Stockman added 13 points.  The leading scorer on the season, Junior Will Solomon, was held to 10 points, well below his season average of approximately 18 points per game.  Instead, it was Hobbs’ night, as he provided his best performance of the season.

Virginia jumped up to a 19 point halftime lead and largely coasted in the second half.  But four different players scored 17 or more points.  Junior Chris Williams led Virginia with 22 points, with the other three scoring leaders being Senior Donald Hand (20), Sophomore Travis Watson (18), and Junior Adam Hall (17).  Hall contributed 12 rebounds, while Hand added 9 assists.  Williams was the team’s leading scorer on the season in conference play, averaging 15.4 points per game.  However, on the season as a whole, Virginia was led by Sophomore Roger Mason and his 15.7 points per game.

Clemson would end the season with a disappointing 12-19 record.  Virginia went 20-9, with the season ending in a first-round loss to Gonzaga in the Big Dance.

Do you remember this game?  Please feel free to share any details…

Virginia's Chris Williams led a quartet of high scorers as Virginia dominated Clemson, 104-76. Image courtesy of http://www.euroleague.net/

This Day in History is a feature that relies heavily on information obtained from Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Games, Michael O’ Hara, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2008).  Special thanks to that fine publication.

This Day in ACC History: 24 Years Ago (Duke @ North Carolina)

Today, in another installment of This Day in ACC History, the Confidential takes a look at a regular season game between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels on January 21, 1988, 24 years ago.

Any match-up between these bitter rivals is always noteworthy.  Both teams had very good years, with North Carolina losing in the Elite Eights and Duke losing in the Final Four.  Duke actually swept North Carolina in three matchups in 1987-1988.

But the first one was the toughest, as Duke had to travel to North Carolina on January 21, 1988.  Duke was able to pull out the victory in exciting fashion, 70-69.  In fact, GoDuke.com considers this game one of its top 10 moments in Chapel Hill and provides this summary:

Duke’s chances didn’t look too good heading to the Smith Center for their 1988 meeting with No. 2 ranked North Carolina. The No. 9 Blue Devils were coming off a dispiriting homecourt loss to Maryland and appeared to have little offense beyond junior star Danny Ferry.

But what the ’88 Devils did have was defense – maybe the best overall defense in the Krzyzewski era. Although UNC star J.R. Reid abused the smaller Devils inside for 28 points, with UNC down a single point in the final minute, he couldn’t get the ball when it counted. Duke, which got 19 points from Ferry and a vital 22 points from Kevin Strickland, tenaciously held on to its 70-69 lead.

UNC missed three straight shots, failing to take the lead, but got the ball back for one last chance. A second before the buzzer sounded, sharpshooting guard Jeff Lebo launched a potential game-winner from the left baseline. His shot was blocked by 6-foot-5 jumping jack Robert Brickey as Duke claimed the first of three victories over the Tar Heels in 1988. 

So this game went right down to the wire before Duke was able to grab the victory.

The Tar Heels were led by a famous name.  Sophomore J.R. Reid scored 27 points, while another Sophomore, Scott Williams, added 14.  Both players had double-doubles as Reid grabbed 13 boards and Williams snared 10.  Junior Jeff Lebo had 10 assists for the Tar Heels.  Other than the final score, Reid was unstoppable, converting 11 of 13 field goals attempts.  Although Duke’s defense was impressive that year, North Carolina converted 65.9% of its shots in the game.

The Blue Devils were also led by some familiar names. Senior Kevin Strickland scored 22 points, while Junior Danny Ferry scored 19.  Ferry just missed a triple-double as he had 10 rebounds and 7 assists.  Ferry, of course, gained some recent notoriety by being the Cleveland Cavaliers general manager during most of the Lebron James era.  He is currently Vice President of Basketball Operations for the San Antonio Spurs.  See here.

Do you remember this game?  Please feel free to share any details…

After a lengthy NBA career, JR Reid is not an assistant coach at Chowan University. Image courtesy of Chowan University. http://gocuhawks.com/news/2011/9/22/GEN_0922112429.aspx

This Day in History is a feature that relies heavily on information obtained from Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Games, Michael O’ Hara, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2008).  Special thanks to that fine publication.

This Day in ACC History: 29 Years Ago (Wake Forest @ Duke)

In a new feature, the Confidential will attempt to bridge the gap between yesterday and today by providing some publicity for ACC events from the past.  Today, the Confidential takes a look at a regular season game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

On January 19,1983, exactly 29 years ago, Wake Forest traveled to Duke.  Admittedly, there is nothing particularly historical about this game.  It was a basketball matchup between two private, North Carolina schools that lurked in the shadows of the state flagship school, the North Carolina Tar Heels.  And 1982-1983 was no different, with North Carolina (led by Michael Jordan) and Virginia (led by Ralph Sampson) each finishing 14-2 in conference play.

Instead, what is notable is just how bad Duke was in 1982-1983.  The college basketball world is familiar with Duke and its successes in the past few decades.  In 1982-1983, however, Duke finished 3-11 in conference and 11-17 overall.  Mike  Krzyzewski was in his third season as coach, after five years of coaching at Army (73-59 record there).  By the end of the 1982-1983 season, Coach K would be 38-47 as a head coach of Duke, giving him an overall record of 111-106.  Today, he would likely have been fired.  But he was not.  Instead, 1982-1983 was the lowpoint, as he would win at least 23 games a year for the next 12 seasons, en route to breaking the all-time wins record.

Still, January 19, 1983, was not his night.  Instead, the night belonged to Wake Forest, who traveled to Duke and won 88-84.  The win was part of a 7-7 conference slate, resulting in an overall record of 20-12.  Wake Forest would head to the NIT, where it won three games, before losing to Fresno State in the semifinals.

The Demon Deacons were led by Junior Anthony Teachey’s 29 points and 11 rebounds.  The rebounds were not a surprise, as only stars Ralph Sampson and Sam Perkins averaged more rebounds per game than Teachey in the ACC that year.  From a scoring standpoint, Wake Forest had significant balance, with six different players averaging between 10.4 and 14.8 points per game in conference games, led by Junior John Toms.  With 10 points, Toms was one of four other Demon Deacons to score in double figures for Wake Forest against Duke , including Teachey (29), Senior Alvis Rogers (17), Junior Danny Young (11), and Freshman Kenny Green (10).  For more on Anthony Teachey, go here.

The Blue Devils were led by some familiar names.  Freshman Johnny Dawkins led Duke with 21 points, while Freshmen Jay Bilas and Mark Alarie added 16 and 10 points, respectively.  Sophomore Danny Meagher scored 14 points.  The youthful talent was on full display.  Bilas led the team with 8 rebounds, while Dawkins added 5 assists.  Bilas, of course, has had ample success in his work for ESPN as a basketball analyst.  After spending 9 seasons in the NBA, Dawkins has turned to coaching and he is now the head coach at Stanford.  The 1982-1983 season was just the beginning for that young Duke team and its “mediocre” head coach.

So, the next time you are watching a below average team being coached by a .500 coach and losing to an NIT bound team, bear in mind that you never know if you are watching a legend.  Nobody would have thought that on January 19, 1983.  And they all would have been wrong.

Do you remember this game?  Please feel free to share any details…

Wake Forest's Anthony Teachey, image courtesy of http://www.thedraftreview.com

This Day in History is a feature that relies heavily on information obtained from Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Games, Michael O’ Hara, McFarland & Company, Inc. (2008).  Special thanks to that fine publication.

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