I got another in-person look at a bonafide Final Four participant (other being Virginia) when Roy Williams’ Carolina Tar Heels invaded Conte Forum to face Jim Christian’s Boston College Eagles last week. BC gave the Heels all they could handle before falling 90-82.
Carolina with its impressive front line of Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Justin Jackson leads the nation in rebounding margin (+14.2). With Jackson and point guard Joel Berry III (both averaging just under 40.0 ppg in ACC play) in charge of an up tempo offense the Heels are fourth in scoring offense (89.4).
They also have one of the leading candidates for sixth man of the year in Theo Pinson and a future All American in 6-foot-11 Tony Bradley.
Carolina was stunned by Chris Jenkins three-pointer in last year’s NCAA final but I predict the Heels are plenty motivated to get the job done this year.
In case you missed it, Williams became the ninth NCAA Div. 1 head coach to reach 800 wins when the Heels defeated the ‘Cuse 85-68 on Jan. 16. Williams joins Mike Krzyzewski (1057 wins), Jim Boeheim (996), Bob Knight (899), Dean Smith (879), Jim Calhoun (877), Adolph Rupp (876) and Eddie Sutton (806) with 800 career wins.
There is another Spieth grabbing some headlines and his name is Steven, Jordan’s younger brother, who is a senior on the Brown University basketball squad. Spieth (Dallas, Texas) was named the Ivy League’s Co-Player of the Week (Yale’s Sam Downey the other recipient) after he poured in a career-high 33 points (9-of-16 shooting) in a losing cause as Brown lost to Yale, 75-74. The senior sharp shooter connected on a career-best 7-of-10 threes while scoring his team’s final 13 points.
In addition to his offensive prowess Spieth also grabbed four boards, along with two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Princeton (3-0) and Harvard (2-0) are currently at the top of the Ivy League standings with Yale, Columbia and Cornell close behind with one loss. The standings will take a turn this weekend when Harvard hits the road for back-to-back games with Cornell and Columbia.
Freshman Bryce Aiken (Randolph, NJ /The Patrick School) leads Harvard in scoring at 13.3 ppg.
The Ivy League will host its first postseason basketball tournament on Saturday and Sunday March 11-12 at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. The top four teams in the regular season standings will earn berths in the tournament and play for a berth in the NCAA tournament. The ESPN family of networks will broadcast all the games.
I like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia.
Saint Peter’s (12-9, 8-3 MAAC) continues their impressive play after they trounced Marist 81-65 on Jan. 26.
The Peacocks shot an eye-popping 65% from three-point land. They are a half-game behind league-leading Monmouth (8-2).
Saint Peter’s and Monmouth will square off against each other on Feb. 3.
Save the dates
March Madness Tournament dates:
AAC – XL Center – Hartford – (March 9-12)
ACC – Barclay Center – New York City – (March 7-11)
A-10 – PPG Arena – Pittsburgh – (March 8-12)
Big East – Madison Square Garden – (March 7-11,)
Ivy League – The Palestra – Philadelphia – (March 11-12)
Colonial Athletic Association – North Charleston Coliseum – Charleston (March 3-6)
MAAC – Times Union Center – Albany – March (2-6)
Did you know?
The top overall seed for this year’s NCAA Tournament will choose where it plays its first two games, per the NCAA. Sites for the first two rounds of the tournament include Buffalo, Greensboro, N.C., Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Orlando, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Tulsa.
Princeton has won an Ivy League best 26 conference titles. The Penn Quakers are second with 25.
Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado is now the nation’s top board banger at 12.9 rpg. Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys is third among NCAA rebounding leaders at 12.0 rpg.
Boston College outstanding freshman point guard Ky Bowman was recruited by North Carolina’s football coach Larry Fedora as a wide receiver. Bowman and NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr. are two of three freshmen in the nation to score 30-or-more points in three different games this season. Sorry Roy….
While we are talking ACC hoops, the league has seven teams in the top 30 and 13 in the top 75 in the recent RPI … No. 4 Louisville leads the way. The ACC is the top-rated conference in the country. Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie became the first player to record a 35-point, 14-rebound game vs. a Division I opponent this season.
Eight schools have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the past six seasons – Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, VCU, Wisconsin and Cincinnati.
Keep shooting…. see you next week….
Follow Bob on Twitter for all the latest in college hoop happenings, game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob
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