Big Four balance

Chasing St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s is the lone undefeated team within a major conference at 20-4 and 10-0 in the West Coast Conference. The ACC, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, American, Big East, and other conferences are all beating up on each other and usual conference leaders including North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan St, and others are looking to have six or more conference losses before the end of the season. Relaxed transfer rules and the extra year of eligibility granted to all players on teams during the first season affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have changed the way rosters are shaped. Some players that had been granted a fifth year of eligibility also got a sixth year to complete their playing time. This has helped to narrow the talent gap as teams that traditionally attract the best high school players are also having to adapt to recruiting experienced transfer players to compete with teams that are having success recruiting more mature players through the transfer portal.

ACC Big Four

The Big Four ACC college basketball teams (North Carolina, Duke, NC State, and Wake Forest) provide a good example of how different teams are put together and how balanced the conference is. North Carolina has one transfer and relies heavily on multi-year players. Wake Forest and NC State reshaped their rosters with as many as 8 transfer players, and Duke has seven freshmen plus transfers on its roster. The results have been somewhat surprising. North Carolina easily beat Wake Forest and NC State at home but struggled with Duke in a loss on the road. NC State beat Duke soundly at home, won a tight matchup against Wake Forest on the road, and had the previously mentioned loss to North Carolina on the road. Duke suffered double-digit losses to Wake Forest and NC State on the road but held off North Carolina at home. Like the rest of the major conferences the ACC is balanced. Results from Big Four play provide a good example of what we should expect from other conferences this college basketball season.


Ten takes on UNC win

1 – UNC 84 – NC State 74. They did what they had to do and move to 21-8 overall 13-5 in conference play.

2 – Armando Bacot was super with 28 points and 18 rebounds. Just work to avoid the touch fouls and stay in the game.

3 – Brady Manek continues to give solid play. Improved defense and rebounding are very noticeable.

4 – Puff Johnson had a career game with 16 points and 5 rebounds while filling in for the Leaky Black who left the game before halftime with a knee sprain and did not play in the second half.

5 – RJ Davis had a quiet, controlled offensive game while playing great defense.

6 – Caleb Love added 16 points and played a good defensive game but continues to turn the ball over at a high rate and continues to make questionable decisions on the offensive end.

7 – Winning by 10 is great. Not scoring in the last 2:07 and allowing NC State to score the last 9 points of the game is concerning.

8 – Key to next game for UNC: Be happy with this win, stay on the game plan, be smarter with fouls and decision making. Don’t look ahead. Remember that the next game is not important until after you win this game.

9 – Avoiding history – NC State needs to win one of their last two games to avoid being the first team in school history to lose 20 conference games.

10 – Any team can win it. As of this post, two games separate the top four teams in the conference with one week to go in the regular season.