2011-2012 ACC Preview: #7 Maryland

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 7th-place finishers, the Maryland Terrapins.

Never fear, the Turtle has been much scarier in years past (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 10-3

Key Wins:
November 18- Maryland 78, Colorado 71
December 4- Maryland 78, Notre Dame 71

Tough Losses:
November 20- Iona 89, Maryland 63
November 29- Illinois 71, Maryland 62

Starting Lineup:[table id=20 /]Last Year Against Duke:
January 9, 2011 at Duke- Duke 71, Maryland 64
February 2, 2011 in College Park- Duke 80, Maryland 62
March 11, 2011 at ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC- Duke 87, Maryland 71

This Year Against Duke:
January 25, 2012 in College Park
February 11, 2012 at Duke

The Good: The Terps boast the leading scorer in the ACC in sophomore Terrell Stoglin, who has averaged 21.5 points per game so far this season. Stoglin has been held under 15 points in just one game this season, and notched 31 and 32 points in crucial victories over Notre Dame and Colorado, respectively. Especially during an intensely competitive conference schedule, it is possible to beat a superior team when you have a player that can score at will.

The Bad: This is a Maryland team that struggles on the defensive end of the floor, and they don’t have nearly enough offensive firepower to offset that. The Terps are one of just two teams in the ACC who have been outscored thus far, the other being the lowly Boston College, who we predicted to finish dead last in the conference this year. To make matters worse, if Maryland can actually take a lead late in the game, they might have trouble keeping it, as they’ve struggled mightily from the line this year. They rank dead last in the ACC this season, shooting just 63.6% from the charity stripe.

The Crazie: The greatest loss Maryland suffered from last year’s team was not a graduated player, but their head coach. The Terrapins entered this season with a new coach for the first time in 22 years following the departure of legendary head coach Gary Williams. New head coach Mark Turgeon entered the fold at Maryland after four straight NCAA tournament bids at Texas A&M, and although he is amply qualified, this is not a program that is used to leadership changes, to say the least. The most interesting thing about this Maryland team does not concern the coaching change, however, but rather how untested this team is. Although it faced a few quality opponents in its non-conference schedule, the Terrapins did not play a single game on the road. They did play four neutral site games, but one of the keys to a winning team in conference play is the ability to play in a hostile environment, which Maryland has not yet had to do this year. This could pose a problem down the road for a team that is already quite inexperienced to begin with.

Player We Love To Hate: Terrell Stoglin is the type of player that Duke hates to face. He is overwhelmingly his team’s primary offensive option, having taken twice as many shots as any other player on Maryland’s team. He is not afraid to take the ball to the rack and gets to the line consistently, but is also not afraid to step out and hit from deep. He has a scorer’s mentality and the capability to drop points on a team in bunches. With a team like Maryland, they’ll only pose a significant threat to upset you if Stoglin takes over the game.

The Bottom Line: This team has been difficult to read because it is widely inexperienced and generally untested, but despite these drawbacks it will benefit by being more talented than a few teams in a depleted ACC this season. It has the ability to beat bad teams and give better teams a run for their money if Stoglin is connecting and their defense learns how to shut somebody down. This team should finish somewhere toward the middle of the pack this year. But unless they overachieve significantly in conference play or make a deep ACC Tournament run they likely will not see an NCAA Tournament bid in large part due to a weak non-conference schedule.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina

2011-2012 ACC Preview: #8 Georgia Tech

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 8th-place finishers, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

As you'll read below, chances are this outside jumper didn't go in (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 7-7

Key Wins:
November 18- Georgia Tech 73, VCU 60
December 7- Georgia Tech 68, Georgia 56

Tough Losses:
December 3- Tulane 57, Georgia Tech 52
December 22- Mercer 65, Georgia Tech 59

Starting Lineup:[table id=19 /]Last Year Against Duke:
February 20, 2011 at Duke- Duke 79, Georgia Tech 57

This Year Against Duke:
January 7, 2012 in Atlanta

The Good: This is one of the best rebounding teams you’ll see in the ACC, and if you can control the glass you’ll be able to keep yourself in games. The Yellow Jackets average 39.3 rebounds per game which is good for 34th in the nation, and rank second in the conference in rebounding margin, outrebounding their opponents by nine boards per game. Their ability to control the glass significantly rebounds opponents’ second-chance opportunities, which is one of the reasons Georgia Tech is third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just under 58 points per game.

The Bad: This team cannot shoot. It can defend, it can rebound, but it cannot shoot. Despite the fact that the Yellow Jackets have shot a very respectable 45.9% from the field this year, they are shooting an abysmal 27.8% clip from beyond the arc. Not a single member of this team’s starting five shoots greater than 31% from 3-point range. This creates a very simple formula for beating Georgia Tech: you jump out on them early, force them to take shots from the perimeter to try and catch up, and you will come away with a win.

The Crazie: For a team that can’t hit the side of a barn door with a 3-pointer, it still boasts the fifth-best field goal percentage in the conference. This is a testament to how efficient Georgia tech is inside. It’s no secret- they will attempt to control the paint to win a basketball game. Glen Rice Jr. only shoots 30.8% from beyond the arc, but he shoots a staggering 65.6% this year on two-point field goals. Brandon Reed shoots 23.8% from long range but 50.0% from inside the arc. This is a team that you will certainly have to defend from the inside out, but if you are playing relaxed interior defense, they can hurt you.

Player We Love To Hate: Glen Rice Jr. Not only do the Cameron Crazies love to pick on players with NBA pedigree that might not live up to their fathers (completely ignoring the amount of NBA pedigree we’ve seen in Cameron from Austin Rivers, Seth Curry, Nolan Smith, and Gerald Henderson over the last few years), he also poses the greatest threat to this Duke team. He’s stepped up his scoring game this season, posting 14.7 points per game including 19 or more on four occasions this year. He is also exactly the type of player that this year’s Duke team has trouble defending- a big, stocky wing player that loves to bang around inside. He also rebounds surprisingly well for a player that is only 6-foot-5, pulling down 7.4 boards per game which is good for second on the team.

The Bottom Line: We appear to finally have worked our way out of the ACC’s cellar. This is by no means a bad team, but it is by no means a good team either. In fact, this is one of the most interesting teams in the conference because of the stark contrast between its strengths and its weaknesses. They definitely have the tools to cause teams that are more talented than them trouble, especially when they are playing on their home floor. However, this team is a full step below what you’d consider NCAA tournament material.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina

2011-2012 ACC Preview: #9 Miami

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 9th-place finishers, the Miami Hurricanes.

It appears that hopeful is all the Miami hopeful can be this season (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 9-4

Key Wins:
December 3- Miami 83, UMass 75
December 17- Miami 93, FAU 90 (2OT)

Tough Losses:
November 25- Ole Miss 64, Miami 61 (OT)

Starting Lineup:[table id=18 /]Last Year Against Duke:
January 2, 2011 at Duke- Duke 74, Miami 63
February 13, 2011 in Miami- Duke 81, Miami 71

This Year Against Duke:
February 5, 2012 at Duke

The Good: Miami has made it through an average non-conference schedule without its best player, junior Reggie Johnson. Though a 7-4 record against mediocre competition is nothing to write home about, the teams hopes to use Johnson’s recent return to the lineup as a springboard to future success. Johnson, who adds a significant presence inside to a team that only has two players taller than 6-foot-6, has averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds in his only two games this season.

The Bad: This team is not prepared for an ACC schedule. It was forced to shuffle around its starting lineup game in and game out due to injuries and inconsistency, and did not face more than a couple significant tests in its non-conference schedule. The Hurricanes were at least able to dispatch of the bad teams it played, though taking Florida Atlantic to double overtime is a bit scary to say the least, but were not particularly competitive against their opponents from major conferences. Let’s keep in mind that Ole Miss, Purdue, Memphis, and West Virginia, who account for Miami’s four losses on the year, are hardly national title contenders. Don’t be surprised if this team is shellshocked when reacting to a more difficult ACC schedule, especially as it faces an upstart Virginia squad and North Carolina in its first two conference tilts, both on the road.

The Crazie: Even with the addition of Johnson back into the lineup, this is an undersized team. Undersized teams can win in the ACC, in fact from our own experience Duke has put together a string of winning ACC and even National Championships with no true low-post presence. But when you’re an undersized team in the ACC that only shoots 41.9% from the field and 38.7% from beyond the arc, your chances are pretty slim. For a team that struggles on the defensive end, it doesn’t have the offensive firepower to compensate.

Player We Love To Hate: Have you heard his name enough already? This Miami team is going to hinge on the inside presence of Reggie Johnson. He will be asked to shoulder a huge burden and play more minutes than most big men should, simply because the Hurricanes cannot rely on a small lineup with a 6-6 power forward. In Miami’s two losses to the Blue Devils last season, Johnson was a force inside, averaging 19 points and eight boards. He is one of those players that knows he needs to step up his game when he plays Duke and does so- keep in mind that he only averaged 11.9 points per game for the entirety of last year. Although he doesn’t have nearly the same quickness or skill set that Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger used to terrorize the Blue Devils earlier this season, his strength and bulking frame could pose a problem for Duke inside.

The Bottom Line: Johnson, along with Malcolm Grant, who earned 3rd-Team All-ACC last season, will establish themselves as two of the more talented players in the conference this year. Normally a team with two All-ACC caliber players shouldn’t have a problem finishing in the top half of the conference, but the rest of Miami’s rotation is so thin that this most likely will not happen. The Hurricanes have too many glaring weaknesses at this point to succeed this year.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina

2011-2012 ACC Preview: #10 Clemson

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 10th-place finishers, the Clemson Tigers.

Clemson only faced Duke once last year, and luckily for the Tigers they only face Duke once this year as well (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 8-6

Key Wins:
November 29- Clemson 71, Iowa 55

Tough Losses:
November 19- College of Charleston 72, Clemson 69
November 22- Coastal Carolina 60, Clemson 59

Starting Lineup:[table id=17 /]Last Year Against Duke:
March 2, 2011 at Duke- Duke 70, Clemson 59

This Year Against Duke:
January 15, 2012 in Clemson

The Good: This team stays true to Clemson’s brand of basketball. They are defensive-minded, allowing only 53.6 points per game through the first 10 games of this year. The Tigers are a team full of big bodies that are there to out-muscle and out-rebound you. So far Clemson has pulled down 35 rebounds per game with an average rebounding margin of 5.7. This is also a fairly deep team- expect to see nine or ten Tigers rotating on and off the floor during any given game.

The Bad: Although this team has many weapons on the defensive end and on the glass, it has no shooters to speak of. Clemson has shot an abysmal 34.8% from 3-point range this season and 66.9% from the charity stripe. Though this team appears to be playing mediocre basketball on paper, in order to get a sense of this team you need to examine the bigger picture. Yes, they’ve played well defensively and rebounded well, but they’ve played a very easy non-conference schedule. The only worthy opponent they’ve faced thus far is Arizona, who should be mildly competitive at best in a relatively weak Pac-12 conference. Other than that, they’ve lost to South Carolina, who won’t come close to competing in the SEC, and enough can be said for losing to College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina. So congratulations, Clemson Tigers, for your 20-point blowout of teams like Withrop. To put it in perspective, Duke fans, Withrop beat Presbyterian by three points, and you all remember watching that team play.

The Crazie: This team is an interesting combination of experienced and inexperienced players. On the surface, this looks like a fairly experienced team, with two juniors and two seniors in the starting lineup along with lone freshman Rod Hall. But the Tigers actually have six freshmen on the roster along with the two juniors and four seniors. This creates an puzzling situation at Clemson because with this many new players this is definitely a team that is still learning to play with one another, but by the time the team starts to gel it will lose at least four of its key contributors. This is a less than desirable situation when planning for the future, which at this point seems to be all Clemson can plan for because they won’t be playing postseason basketball this year.

Player We Love To Hate: Devin Booker. Though he was a non-factor in last year’s matchup, Devin Booker’s name sends shivers down Duke fans’ spines. Why, do you ask? Because Devin Booker is the younger brother of former Clemson forward Trevor Booker, who now plays for the Washington Wizards. Older brother Trevor infamously torched the Blue Devils with 21 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting during the Tigers’ 74-47 rout of Duke in 2009. Although Devin hasn’t proved to be quite as dangerous as his older brother was, I’m sure many Cameron Crazies will be holding their breath as Clemson throw the ball into the paint to a guy with the name Booker on the back of his jersey.

The Bottom Line: This Clemson team could finish in the middle of the pack in a lower tier conference, just not in the ACC. Don’t expect them to keep up a .500 record for very long, especially with two of their first three ACC matchups against Florida State and Duke. Clemson might cause some problems in a few games if their opponents fall into a massive shooting slump, but unfortunately defense is built to win championships, not games. Expect this to be the first of two rebuilding years for the Tigers before their young players can grow and gel together into what second-year head coach Brad Brownell hopes will be a winning nucleus for the future.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina

2011-12 ACC Preview: #11 Wake Forest

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 11th-place finishers, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest struggled against ACC competition last season, winning only one game (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 9-5

Key Wins:
November 30- Wake Forest 55, Nebraska 53
December 21- Wake Forest 87, UNC-Wilmington 78

Tough Losses:
December 3- Richmond 70, Wake Forest 62
December 10- Seton Hall 68, Wake Forest 54

Starting Lineup:[table id=16 /]Last Year Against Duke:
January 22, 2011 in Winston-Salem- Duke 83, Wake Forest 59

This Year Against Duke:
January 19, 2012 at Duke
February 28, 2012 in Winston-Salem

The Good: After a 8-24 season last year that boast just one ACC victory, this year’s Wake Forest team has nowhere to go but up. That being said, just because this team is on the rise doesn’t mean it will rise very far. So far this year’s Demon Deacons have been no slouch on the offensive end, averaging just over 70 points per game and shooting 45.6% from the floor. They have also taken pretty good care of the ball, turning the ball over an average of 12.5 times while maintaining a positive turnover margin.

The Bad: This team struggles to crash the boards and will get beaten inside. On average Wake Forest has been out-rebounded by five rebounds per game this year. This is not a huge margin, but the Demon Deacon’s greatest struggles have come on the defensive glass, allowing over 11 offensive rebounds per game to their opponents. Allowing this many second chance points has hurt them thus far, as they’ve allowed 70.5 points per contest, including 83 points to a lowly High Point team.

The Crazie: This year’s Wake Forest squad definitely appears to be a second-half team. In four of Wake’s seven victories this season they’ve gone into halftime leading by five points or fewer. These include games against Loyola (MD) (leading by five), North Carolina Central (tied), Nebraska (trailing by one), and Gardner-Webb (trailing by three).

Player We Love to Hate: Though in the past this player would certainly by Travis McKie, Duke’s significantly improved inside presence should be able to shut him down this season. I think we’ll end up hating C.J. Harris much more this year. Harris has started off hot this year, averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting a ridiculous 51.2% from beyond the arc. Harris is a quick guard that scores in bunches, which is something Duke has struggled with in the past. He’s the type of player that if we catch him at the wrong time, he could put up one of those “opponent’s guard absolutely takes over the game and Duke can’t do anything to stop him” type performances like Boston College’s Tyrese Rice in 2009 or Wake Forest’s own Chris Paul in 2005.

The Bottom Line: Don’t expect too much from this team, but don’t be surprised if it plays a couple strangely competitive games with teams in the top half of the ACC this year. With a team that’s built on hustle, heart, and streaky scorers, anything can happen. And after last year’s Wake Forest squad set the bar extremely low, this team isn’t exactly playing with much to lose.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-12 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina

2011-2012 ACC Preview: #12 Boston College

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected last-place finishers, the Boston College Eagles.

Boston College has struggled this season after losing eight players from last year's team (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 5-9

Key Wins:
December 11- Boston College 66, Stony Brook 51
December 18- Boston College 75, Bryant 55

Tough Losses:
November 21- UMass 82, Boston College 46
December 3- Boston University 75, Boston College 61

Starting Lineup:[table id=15 /]Last Year Against Duke:
January 27, 2011 at Duke- Duke 84, Boston College 68

This Year Against Duke:
February 19, 2012 in Chestnut Hill

The Good: This is a team with a lot of upside that could compete in the ACC someday, that day is just not today. However, despite having a weak team that is surely in for a rough season, expect this team to grow a lot throughout a difficult ACC schedule. With nine freshman on the roster, including four starters, this season should serve as the ultimate learning experience. Though they will not win many games this year, they will undoubtedly be a better team by the end of their conference schedule than they are now. With a ton of experienced players two or three years down the road, this team is potentially dangerous.

The Bad: All of the positives about this team reside in the future. Boston College’s seven losses this season have come at the hands of Holy Cross, UMass, Saint Louis, New Mexico, Penn State, Boston University, and Providence, none of whom are considered to be top-notch competition. The ACC schedule did not decide to be kind to the Eagles this year, either, as they open the conference slate January 6th in Chapel Hill. The loss of star guard Reggie Jackson, who was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of last year’s NBA draft, along with seven other graduated seniors is simply too much to recover from for a team that just barely missed the NCAA tournament last season.

The Crazie: This is easily the youngest team in the ACC, and head coach Steve Donahue isn’t easing his freshmen into their roles on the team. All 15 Eagles, have appeared in a game this year, and 10 different players have started a game. Keep in mind that this team has only played 11 games so far. Seven of the team’s nine freshmen have started a game for Boston College in this young season, and four freshmen make up this team’s typical starting lineup. To say the least, this is an inexperienced team, and it has showed in BC’s early-season tests.

Player We Love To Hate: With a team this experienced, the Eagle we’ll be hating the most has not yet been revealed to us, and won’t be until this team continues to develop and grow into its own. Chances are we won’t be hating any of these players this season, as this is surely not a team that will be giving the Blue Devils much trouble, even as they play in their own gym. But if I had to put my money on a player we’ll probably be hating in a year or two, it would have to be freshman Ryan Anderson. Anderson is the type of player that typically gives Duke fits. He plays all over the floor, but is too big to be covered by a guard. He can step outside to shoot the three, but is also Boston College’s leading rebounder and will surely grow into his 6-8 frame over the next couple of years. He’s played a large role in Boston College’s last two victories, averaging 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bottom Line: This is going to be a rough season for Boston College. They might be able to steal a couple games at home against fellow ACC bottom-feeders Wake Forest and Clemson, but otherwise don’t expect the Eagles to win more than a couple of ACC contests this season. They will have many more moral victories than actual victories this year as this young crop of freshmen continues to develop.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina