ACC Basketball Tournament: Maryland v Duke

Did Dez Wells just knock Duke off the No. 1 seed line?


Dez Wells is quickly becoming the talk of the ACC tournament.

After lighting up Wake Forest for 23 points in the opener, Wells went off on Friday night, torching Duke to the tune of 30 points on 9-13 shooting. He beat them down the floor in transition, he beat them off the dribble in the half court and he dunked on them when challenged at the rim.

And in the process, Wells took Maryland one step closer to an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament as he orchestrated an 83-74 win over the Blue Devils.

It goes without saying that the Terps needed to get this game if they wanted to have a chance to dance, but we’ll delve a bit deeper into what this means for their at-large hopes here.

The bigger issue is with Duke. The Blue Devils looked down right awful on the defensive end of the floor. Seth Allen and Pe’Shon Howard posted their best numbers in what seems like an eternity — they combined for 17 points and eight assists — and Jake Layman chipped in with 10 points and nine boards of his own. That’s a concern. Maryland is not a good team on the offensive end of floor, and they made the Blue Devils look like a church league team at times.

But that’s also to be expected. Duke’s concern has more to do with the NCAA tournament than it does the ACC tournament, while Maryland had the extra motivation of needing to beat a rival to keep their hopes alive of dancing. The Terps were playing with a different level of intensity, and that was evident from the tip; they jumped out to a 12-2 lead before Duke knew what hit them.

Having said that, there may be some consequences for this loss for Duke. They didn’t win the ACC regular season title. They got knocked out in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. Without any kind of league championship to their name, will the committee give this team a No. 1 seed?

I know the argument: this was their first loss with a healthy Ryan Kelly on the roster, and the biggest reason they didn’t win the ACC regular season title was that they were not the same team without him. Given just how dominant they were back in November and December, there’s a reason that many believed Duke to be a favorite for a No. 1 seed entering Championship Week.

But what happens if, for example, Kansas, Louisville and Indiana all win their conference tournaments. Three teams winning duel-conference titles, and none of them are the current No. 1 team in the country — Gonzaga

Would this loss be enough to drop Duke down a seed line?

I don’t think it will, but stranger things have happened.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.