ACC Tournament Tickets Go On Sale ( the Public)

February 25, 2009

For the first time since 1966, ACC Basketball Tournament tickets will go on sale to the general public. The general thinking is that the economy is driving the decision. I wrote a few days ago about the cheapest way to find ACC Tournament tickets, and I saw a few tickets a couple of days ago listing at less than $200 for a full session. Those, I think, went pretty quick.

This year’s tournament in Atlanta should be a real brawl, with several teams that could walk away with a title, so I expect that a lot of fans will take advantage of the great Georga Dome venue and the more availability of tickets…but I wonder if that will ultimately drive up demand, since a lot of fans would like to attend but didn’t have the ability to get tickets. Now, that’s changed a bit. The Georgia Dome is the largest venue that the ACC tournament will be played in, with seating for basketball at 30,000.

It’s the second time the tournament will have been played in the Georgia Dome.

NC State High School Basketball Playoffs

February 24, 2009

The North Carolina state basketball playoffs began this week with first round games being played on Monday. The Playoffs are great opportunity for North Carolina’s best talent to showcase their skills while competing for a championship. Sectional semi-final games will be played Wednesday (2/25) at 7pm with higher seeds having home court advantage. Sectional Finals will be held this Friday (2/27) at 7pm at the location of the higher seeded team. Please visit the link to view brackets for all men’s basketball pairings and stay tuned for updates on winners and premier player profiles.

North Carolina High School Basketball Playoffs

Jordan Brand Classic Rosters

February 17, 2009

The biggest high school all-star game of the year is the McDonald’s All-American game, but the Jordan Brand Classic might be the second in line and rising fast. The rosters for this year’s teams have been announced and there’s quite a bit of future ACC to see.

Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, Inc., announced today during a special ESPNU Selection Show that the top-five ranked ESPNU 100 players – Xavier Henry (Oklahoma City, OK/Memphis), Derrick Favors (Atlanta, GA/Georgia Tech), John Henson (Tampa, FL/North Carolina), DeMarcus Cousins (Mobile, AL/Undecided) and Renardo Sidney (Los Angeles, CA/Undecided) – will headline the nation’s best 20 high school senior basketball players at the 2009 Jordan Brand Classic, presented by Foot Locker, at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. EST. This year’s event will once again be televised nationally live on ESPN2.

The Jordan Brand Classic will also continue to include a regional game, showcasing the top prep players from the New York City metropolitan area in a City vs. Suburbs showdown. In its second year of the event, an International game will tip-off the tripleheader by featuring 16 of the top 17-and-under players from around the world. A portion of the proceeds benefit the New York City-based charity, The Children’s Aid Society.

In addition to Henry, Favors, Henson, Cousins and Sidney, the event will also include Kenny Boynton (Plantation, FL/Florida), Avery Bradley (Henderson, NV/Texas), Dominic Cheek (Jersey City, NJ/Villanova), Abdul Gaddy (Tacoma, WA/Washington), Keith Gallon (Mouth of Wilson, VA/Oklahoma), Jordan Hamilton (Compton, CA/Texas), Lamont Jones (Mouth of Wilson, VA/Virginia Tech), Wally Judge (Jacksonville, FL/Kansas State), Tommy Mason-Griffin (Houston, TX/Oklahoma), Alex Oriakhi (Tilton, NH/UConn), Daniel Orton (Oklahoma City, OK/Kentucky), Mason Plumlee (Arden, NC/Duke), Durand Scott
(New York, NY/Miami-FL), John Wall (Raleigh, NC/Undecided) and Royce White (Minnetonka, MN/Minnesota).

Tobias Harris visits UConn; Melvin Tabb commits

February 9, 2009

Tobias Harris (PF, 6’8″, 2010), a player that several ACC schools are after, visited UConn for the Michigan game:

“They liked the trip,” Torrel Harris, the boys’ father, said. “Ray Allen, Cliff Robinson and Chris Smith were present at the game. Coach Calhoun was glad to see both of my sons at the game and spoke to them at length.”

Harris is still being recruited by Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College.

Meanwhile, speaking of Wake Forest, the Deacons continued to get wins on the recruiting circuit by landing Melvin Tabb (PF, 6’8″, 2010), another in-state player. The Deacs have had quite a bit of success landing high profile North Carolina high school players. Tabb will need to improve his post play but might see time early if Wake epxeriences NBA defections between now and when he arrives. He’s got a lot of raw athletic ability, which appears to be one of the things Dino Gaudio looks for in building his roster.

UNC at Duke Basketball Brawl – Round One

February 6, 2009

True college basketball fans should experience this game at least once in their lives.

One of the biggest games in all of sports – not just college basketball – is the annual home-and-home series between the UNC Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils. If you’re a fan of the ACC, you already know so much about what goes into this rivalry, such as the fact that Duke University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill are only a few miles apart.

If you don’t think this game is in incredibly high demand, take a second to look at the latest UNC Duke ticket prices.

ESPN’s entire concept of ‘Rivalry Week’ was spawned from the Duke-UNC game, and few rivalries are this heated. The matchup between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels is in the ranks of the greatest rivialries ever, including Yankees-Red Sox and Ohio State-Michigan.

While analysts, writers and pundits will tick off all the reasons why the rivalry is so big, there’s really only one reason why it’s gotten to be one of the highlights of the entire college basketball season.

It’s because Duke and UNC are heavyweights. Having Duke and UNC in the same conference is like putting, literally, UCLA and Kansas in the same conference, or maybe more accurately, having the ’85 Chicago Bears play the ’72 Dolphins twice every season. It’s always a clash of Titans, and sometimes, literally, blood is spilled.

This year is probably going to be one of the better games even in this storied rivalry; the Tar Heels have slipped from the vaunted perch of ‘team of destiny’, and with three roster losses (Marcus Ginyard, Tyler Zeller and William Graves) since the beginning of the season, they are strong but vulnerable. Their offense is high octane, but sometimes their defense lags. Duke, on the other hand, has played better defense than the Heels up until now, but their offense sometimes gets sporadic.

Here’s some more bullets about this game:

– UNC can score very quickly and has the best transition game in the country. Everyone talks about Ty Lawson, but a key factor is that UNC can kill you in a lot of ways, not just Lawson and Hansbrough. On the break, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington can load up on teams and Ellington is out of his shooting slump.

– Duke’s ability to handle pressure. Until the Clemson game, I would have said Duke would not be rattled, but the type of pressure Clemson used so effectively against Duke is the exact type that UNC is so good at. In fact, UNC is far better at it than Clemson. However, we must remember that Clemson at Littlejohn against Duke and UNC is a completely different team than when they hit the road, and that has to be taken into account, just as UNC’s loss to Boston College.

– Can UNC effectively guard Paulus, Smith, Henderson, Scheyer and Singler? Forget the battle in the paint – Hansbrough has always pounded Duke, and nobody on the current Duke squad is going to change that. Add in Ed Davis and Deon Thompson and Duke is going to have to see if they can work an advantage from the wings and guards, where UNC’s defense often overcommits and sometimes completely misses assignments. Smith hasn’t proven that he’s adapted to college game well enough yet to best Lawson as the starting PG, but Paulus coming in off the bench will be matched up against Larry Drew II. Drew is a good point guard, but in this game, this year, you have to give a decided advantage to Paulus. I expect Duke to try and free Paulus for open threes when Drew is guarding him. Long story short: Duke will probably win or lose this game based on their offensive execution from the perimeter and their ability to prevent UNC from getting easy baskets in transition.

– The key matchup: who’s got Singler? Danny Green surprisingly gave Wake Forest’s James Johnson fits when matched up, and the reason is that Green’s athletic ability allows him to play against taller players, even those like Johnson and Singler who are deep threats. Singler may have good success if he can get a matchup on Thompson or Davis and pull them out of the paint, where he can shoot or put the ball on the floor.

This game should be a blast. With the first game at Duke, I have to give them an edge, but if UNC can play defense consistently for the entire game, it will be tough for Duke. Again, if you want to see the game in person, use this free tool to find the ticket service with the cheapest UNC vs. Duke tickets.

Georgia Tech’s Recruiting Woes

February 3, 2009

You’ve got to wonder how Paul Hewitt will be able to continue to cope with what has become a standard M.O. during his tenure as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Every year or two Hewitt brings in top recruits, such as this year’s Iman Shumpert, or a few years ago with Chris Bosh, and watches them bolt for the NBA before they ever get a chance to really make an impact on the program.

Unlike other programs, like Duke and UNC, Georgia Tech hasn’t managed to recover as quickly from NBA defections. With a top tier class coming in from 2009, including Derrick Favors (PF, 6’9″, 2009), it would appear that Hewitt’s Jackets might be the sleeper team for the 2009-10 season.

But not so fast.

It turns out that already, even in a lackluster season, players on the roster are looking toward the league, and the league is interested. Gani Lawal, a 6’9″ Sophomore, is projected to be a potential lottery pick in the next draft:

With 19 NBA scouts and executives watching him play Saturday, Gani Lawal gave an impressive performance.

The sophomore made 7 of 10 shots from the field and 11 of 14 from the free-throw line, and he grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots in Georgia Tech’s upset of Wake Forest.

What this means for recruiting is that if Lawal goes pro, suddenly a team deep at the post with NBA talent is right back where they started. What Paul Hewitt needs to really compete in the ACC is more than a couple of NBA prospects; Duke, Wake and UNC are loaded with NBA prospects and more are coming.

However, Lawal’s not a given to go pro early:

“I plan on being here,” Lawal said. “I just want to keep playing, take it day by day and see where it goes. When the season’s over and everything is in the books, I’ll just sit down, discuss it and see. … Right now I can’t even begin to get into it.”

If Lawal returns, expect Georgia Tech to be one of the better teams next season.