Image (1) 040705_krzyzewski_vlg_11a.standard.jpg for post 438

Coach K: ACC will be ‘best conference in the history of the game’

8 Comments

While much of this past season was spent lamenting the changing of the Big East, another result of conference realignment was the improvement of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s basketball product.

Sure Duke and North Carolina managed to carry their share of the load in the years following the move from nine to 12 schools, but a number of the holdovers failed to make much of an impact nationally.

With the addition of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse (not to mention Louisville, which arrives in 2014) the ACC will not lack for firepower when next season rolls around.

One person confident that the new league will make its mark: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

During a press conference announcing his decision to return as head coach of the USA men’s basketball team for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Krzyzewski proclaimed the ACC to not only be a 10-bid (NCAA tournament) league, but also stated that “we’re going to be the best conference in the history of the game.”

That’s certainly possible given the new arrivals, but whether or not the ACC reaches (or even exceeds) the lofty expectations will depend as much on the remaining programs as it will the newcomers.

In the years following the ACC’s first major change, programs such as Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Wake Forest fell on hard times, leading to an era in which five NCAA tournament bids became commonplace.

The league has averaged only five NCAA Tournament bids per season since the expansion and only placed four teams in the field four times in that nine-year stretch, including 2013. All of the teams that are entering over the next several seasons made this past season’s field, and Louisville became the champion.

However, that still means some current members will have to improve their programs to back Krzyzewski’s promise. Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Boston College haven’t made the field since 2010. Virginia Tech hasn’t been there since 2007.

As was the case with the 16-team Big East, “getting off the canvas” will be even tougher for programs that have struggled in recent years. But for the programs that are in good shape (and well-positioned to remain so) the “new” ACC can do a lot to prepare them for the NCAA tournament.

Getting stronger doesn’t guarantee that the ACC will rack up the national titles (their last came in 2010), but it certainly won’t hurt matters.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
Leave a comment

Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Leave a comment

Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.