Three-point play: February 4, 2010

This is a new college basketball feature as we hit the time of the year where the sport is finally nationally relevant.

1. The ACC is a five-bid league at best

Up to this point, many of the NCAA Tournament projections across the internet have the ACC putting seven teams in the big dance. At the rate the league is going, that’s simply not going to happen.

North Carolina is in the tank, losing five of its last seven games. Duke got manhandled at Georgetown over the weekend, and after the Hoyas’ shocking loss to South Florida Wednesday night, it doesn’t make the Blue Devils look too good.

As of Thursday afternoon, there are nine teams within two games in the loss column of the league leader. Miami and North Carolina State both have six conference losses, but both of them are easily capable of beating anyone in the ACC.

Essentially, the league champion will likely finish 11-5 or maybe even a giant tie for first at 10-6. Most teams in the league will be around .500 or below in-conference, and none of them have much quality non-conference wins to brag about.

If the league gets five bids they should consider themselves fortunate.

2. John Wall has a long way to go to be an elite point guard

There is little dissension from the opinion that John Wall will be the first pick in June’s NBA draft. His skill set projects him to be an all-star point guard for the next decade or more at the next level, but there is one stat that should frighten the scouts.

If you take away his three games against Rider, UNC-Asheville, and Hartford, Wall has 101 assists and 82 turnovers. That is a 1.23:1 ratio against the tougher part of the Wildcats’ schedule.

Wall is a dominant scoring point guard – his 16.9 points per game leads Kentucky – but he must learn how to take better care of the ball if the Wildcats hope to make a run at the national title. There has not been a champion in recent memory with a freshman point guard.

3. Matt Bouldin is a warrior

For the better part of the country that does not live on the west coast, you couldn’t pick Matt Bouldin out of a crowd. The senior forward for Gonzaga might be the most valuable player to his team in America.

Over the last nine games, Bouldin has played an average of 39.5 minutes per game. He virtually never leaves the floor, and he is averaging 16.5 points, 4.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds per game, and shoots 39 percent from three-point range.

Wall has garnered most of the nation’s attention so far this season, but his recent struggles have opened the door for another player to be considered for player of the year. Here’s an advocate for Bouldin (He’s No. 15, with shaggy brown hair…. you can’t miss him if you’re browsing ESPN2 late at night).


Tyler Prichard said...

good insight josh, keep it up. I like the bit about everyone on the hype machine's boy Wall vs. the solid guy nobody has heard about in Bouldin. That kid has been a stud for a while and nobody knows it. If the ACC only get 5 in you think the hokies are one of them? I think a big win tonight would look gooooood..

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