ACC Games To Watch for Upcoming 2017-18 Season

With the basketball season right around the corner, starting Nov. 10, let’s break down some highlighted games and match-ups in one of the most talented, lethal conferences – the ACC.

A few exhibition games here and there, we won’t see action as a collective until the 19th annual Big 10/ACC Challenge Nov. 27-30. The conference leads the Big Ten in the challenge, 11-5-2.

ACC conference play

The ACC starts conference play Dec. 9, when Duke travels to Boston College. Don’t expect a riveting contest between the Eagles and the Blue Devils. Boston College has finished dead last the past two season, and they had an infamous 0-18 conference play record during the 2015-16 season. The battle begins in a conference that has won eight of the last 17 NCAA Championship Tournaments and combined for 63 Final Four appearances.

Tough proving ground for the faint-hearted.

The following match ups are in chronological order as the season progresses and give fans some excitement to look forward to.

Virginia at Virginia Tech –  Wednesday, January 3rd

Why not highlight a showdown between the two in-state teams. Virginia is looking to find its identity again on the road. Last year Virginia Tech topped off Virginia in a double overtime game in Blacksburg. It may be a down year for Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers, which will make this rivalry all the more interesting during the 17-18 season. 

North Carolina at Notre Dame – Saturday, January 13th

Any game that pits two of the most talented players in the conference head-to-head. Joel Berry II is an all-around stud, when healthy. He is an early favorite to win ACC Player of the Year. But Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson, another favorite to win the PoY, is going to protect his house when the Tar Heels come to town.

Duke at Miami – Monday, January 15th

Miami is a contender in the ACC. This isn’t news. They won the ACC title in 2013, and they see no reason why this year isn’t their year. Highly touted freshman Lonnie Walker is recovering from a knee injury, but should be back by the start of the season and fully healthy by this game. The game is highlighted because Duke is favored to win the ACC with their talented group of incoming freshman, giving the Hurricanes the ultimate proving ground early in conference play. Duke will look to outplay with talent in order to overcome a more experienced, sized Miami team.

Louisville at Miami – Wednesday, January 24th

Miami could have momentum coming into this contest if they manage a win at home against Duke. Louisville’s season is going to start with distraction, as Rick Pitino will be suspended the first five games for an off the court scandal. In early season polls, Miami sits atop of the Cardinals, who while was a No. 2 seed in last year’s tournament lost a key piece in Donovan Mitchell.

Duke at UNC – Thursday, February 8th

It’s the rivalry game we as basketball fans wait all season for. It’s part one of the epic saga between two powerhouse programs, separated by the 10-mile stretch on Tobacco Road. This game will be a perfect gauge of talent among the two programs. For obvious reasons, this game is going to draw the attention of the entire NCAA, not just the ACC. 

Last season’s results: Duke topped UNC, 86-78, at Cameron while the Tar Heels had the final say at home, closing out the season with a 90-83 win.

Louisville at Duke – Wednesday, February 21st

This is a big test for Louisville. The Cardinals look for a pair of wins in thee days against UNC and Duke. Two wins would give Louisville a boost up in polls and nods for better seeding in the tournament. While back to back games against UNC and Duke is never easy, the Cards have a veteran team capable of handling this tough test. It won’t be an easy year for the Cardinals. Hopefully they have talent to back up the team.

UNC at Duke – Saturday, March 3rd

The battle on Tobacco Road part two is a hands-down, no-brainer hyped game. Why not save the best for last. UNC not only has to take on a prolific Blue Devils team, but they have to keep their focus in one of the most legendary gyms in Cameron Indoor. At this point in the season, you can expect the two teams to be vying for the best eye bid. It will be a challenge to take on the Crazies at home. Not to mention it’s senior night for Grayson Allen. Talk about your momentum. 

Player watch list:

  • Joel Berry II, UNC

  • Deng Adel, Louisville

  • Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

  • Grayson Allen, Duke

  • Bruce Brown, Miami

  • Marvin Bagley, Duke

An Early Look At The ACC

ACC Basketball

We are 51 days away from the college basketball season. While college basketball season is fast approaching, many of us cannot have the new season come soon enough. With that said, let’s take an early look at the ACC for next season. Here’s our 1 through 15.

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Chris Lykes commits to Miami Hurricanes

Chris Lykes committed to Jim Larranaga and Miami Sunday, choosing the Hurricanes over Villanova. 

Reggie Rankin, of ESPN’s Recruiting Nation, said Chris Lykes is “one of the fastest rising prospects in the class of 2017,” and as an alum of the Hoop Group, we couldn’t agree more.

Lykes is a 5-foot-6 point guard for Gonzaga College High School, hailing from Bowie, Md. Starting out unranked in his 2017 class, has shot up to No. 46 spot.

Chris Lykes

Chris Lykes

Larranaga made his selling point pretty clear from the start. On top of a successful resume working with small guards, Lykes was sold on the immediate opportunity to contribute for the Canes in the competitive ACC.

“He is a leader and has the basketball IQ of a coach. Lykes has three point range and can get into the lane at will where he is an excellent finisher and finder,” Rankin said about the future Cane.

The four-star recruit will join D.J. Russell, a three-star forward out of Jacksonville, Fla., that has been committed to Miami for four years.

Ja’Quan Newton and Melvin Johnson Show Out at Day 3 of Exposure Camp

Melvin Johnson at Hoop Group Elite Basketball CampIt’s not easy to Be Elite. At the Hoop Group Elite Exposure Basketball Camp at Albright College in Reading, Pennslyvania, the top-tier talent knows what it takes. From silky-smooth floor-generals to big men who own the post, the list below summarizes many of the prospects who impressed on day three of the summer basketball camp:

Ja’Quan Newton ’14 Neumann-Goretti (PA): The rising sophomore was extremely impressive on the Elite Camp’s third day. At 6’3, Newton has a superb ball-handling skill-set. Once past his defender, Newton has great body control once in mid-air around the rim. This allows him to finish at the basket with contact, a trait not found in most players today.

Melvin Johnson ’12 St. Benedict’s (NJ): The former Rice (NY) high school standout has been great on the offensive end throughout the entire camp. From displaying his lethal jump-shot from beyond the arc to finishing with ease around the rim, Johnson (pictured above) is making defenses weary when with the ball.

Ryan Denicola ’12 Blair Academy (NJ): Denicola is one of the more interesting prospects in the camp. At 6’7, the big fella is as rugged as they come inside the paint, but also has the ability to step beyond the perimeter and knock down the contested three. His size poses as a threat once charging in for a rebound on both ends of the floor.

Myles Davis ’12 Notre Dame Prep (MA): Davis was one of the more high-profiled prospects coming into camp, and the sharp-shooter has yet to disappoint. The 6’2 guard has displayed a solid offensive game. Similar to Johnson, Davis has been a threat each time to steps out onto the court due to his shooting stroke from beyond the arc.

Tobe Okerfor ’12 Mount Zion (MD): At 6’11, Okerfor is arguably one of the top big men in the entire Elite Camp. The Baltimore-product has a uncanny ability to swat shots left and right due to his length and basketball IQ. While Okerfor has yet to take over a game on the offensive end, his shot-blocking has proved to a major factor in a games outcome.

Justin Jenkins ’12 Wings Academy (NY): Playing alongside Johnson, Jenkins has played well on both ends of the court, helping his team to an undefeated record thus far. At just over 6′, Jenkins has shown his versatility on offense, connecting on contested jumpers as well as finishing at the rim. Jenkins handled the ball well and was instrumental for his team’s defensive intensity.

Amadou Sidibe ’12 Cardinal Hayes (NY): A teammate of Johnson and Jenkins, Sidibe’s highlight of the day was holding his own against fellow big man, Okerfor. Sidibe struggled offensively early on but was a presence under the boards. As the game progressed, Sidibe was able to score around the rim, including finishing possessions on fast-break run-outs.

Stanford Robinson ’13 Paul VI (VA): Robinson is as smooth a customer on the floor as they come in the camp. The 6’3 rising junior is a left-handed prospect, but coaches may have a difficult time pointing it out due to Robinson’s sharp ball-handling skills. Robinson has been at his best when breaking down his defender in few dribbles and attacking the rim with authority.

Jo-el Samuels ’13 Princeton Day Academy (MD): Samuels is easily one of the more athletic big men in camp. At 6’9, Samuels is a defensive-minded player, having the ability to block an opponents shot nearly anywhere around the basket. While Samuels’ offensive game is raw as of now, the rising junior’s pure athleticism shows promise of a great scorer. 

Jordan Reed ’12 Wissachicken (PA): On a team with top prospects such as Robinson and Jordan Dickerson, Reed may be the best overall scorer. At 6’3, Reed uses his strength to overpower defenders down low and finish at the rim. A smooth mid-range jumper adds a piece of the arsenal to Reed’s offensive game.