Since we last posted, a lot has happened, but nothing as notable as the rather sudden retirement of Maryland head coach Gary Williams. With talented Terps big man Jordan Williams deciding to stay in the NBA draft, it was seemingly the last push that Williams needed to decide not to endure another rebuilding year in Aanapolis. The two most interesting pieces of the fallout now seem to be: 1) the overwhelming gap of postseason experience between UNC and Duke from the rest of the ACC, and 2) the gradual decline of the ACC into the southeast’s version of the Big Ten, by way of importing plodding, defensive-oriented coaches.
That first one isn’t all that unexpected, but the numbers are still pretty overwhelming. Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams now have more than twice as many Final Four appearances between the two of them (18) than the rest of the coaches in the league have Sweet Sixteen trips (7). Krzyzewski alone has won more ACC tournament titles (12) than the rest of the coaches in the ACC have won tournaments in any conference. Tar Heel Fan gives a nice breakdown of the current ACC coaching roster, noting that while the league certainly is still top-heavy when it comes to household names, ACC schools now feature only a single coach with a career record below .500: Jeff Bzdelik.
As far as the tempo change goes, with the hiring of Mark Turgeon at UM, fans can expect more games with an eye-gouging lack of pace, which seems to be part of a bigger overall trend, as detailed in this really good piece in the Washington Times. As a fan of a team that loves to play fast and struggles in the halfcourt, I’m not sure if I should be licking my chops or preparing my noose - UNC will likely have a level of talent that will allow them to overcome scrappy defensive teams, but if a few coaches like Turgeon and Brad Brownell continue to recruit well and build smart, veteran teams, it could mean a few more losses for UNC and Duke down the road.
After the past few lackluster years, I should be excited for the possibility of some parity in the ACC. But if it comes at the cost of exchanging barn-burners for “defensive battles,” I’m not exactly jumping for joy.
A few other links you may have missed:
- The UNC football roster got a little thinner last week as Jared McAdoo was dismissed and a few depth-chart casualties have decided to transfer.
- No surprise as The Dagger says UNC was the biggest winner on NBA draft deadline day: though Kentucky got Terrance Jones back, losing Brandan Knight and DeAndre Liggins seemingly makes Carolina the consensus title favorite next year.
- We continue to mourn the probability of Gus Johnson calling NCAA tournemant games in the future, as CBS and the announcer decided to part ways. Totally baffling.
- The NCAA looks like it is finally getting around to adding the restricted area arc. For Dexter Strickland, unfortunately, it’s a year too late…
- Sean May is apparently wearing a Kentucky shirt for a month as a result of having lost a bet when the Heels lost to UK in the Elite Eight.
- NC State football coach Tom O’Brien decided to cut ties with Russell Wilson rather than endure his “lack of commitment” to the program as he continues to also play baseball.
- UNC had a record nine Tar Heels taken in the NFL draft, and even had a few more that were thought to be good bets to have their names called at some point but fells through the cracks somehow, like Deunta Williams and Kendrick Burney.