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ACC Roundup

Larranaga says he’s falsely implicated and KenPom has his preseason rankings out.

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ACC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes reacts to a call in the second half of their 88-82 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies during the quarterfinals of the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament Verizon Center on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In ACC news, Jim Larranaga says he’s “Coach 3” in the FBI scandal. He insists he’s innocent and is not very happy about being implicated in the scandal.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Larranaga read a statement and took questions.

He said that he was “relieved” that none of his assistants were implicated and made this rather strong statement: “I’ve tried to live every single one of my 68 years on this earth with integrity, character and humility, and to set an example for my children, grandchildren and the hundreds of young men I’ve had the opportunity to coach. To have those values that I cherish so dearly even questioned is disheartening and disappointing.”

Up the coast, UNC has organized an event with its academic betters, in-state schools UNC-Greensboro, East Carolina and UNC-Wilmington.

They’ll raise money for the NC Disaster Relief fund. All three schools are coached by former UNC players or assistants.

How much has Buzz Williams revitalized Virginia Tech basketball? This much: season tickets are nearly sold out.

Ken Pomerey has his preseason statistical season rankings out.

He has Duke at #6. Here’s his Top Ten:

  • #1 Villanova
  • #2 Kentucky
  • #3 Arizona
  • #4 Wichita State
  • #5 Kansas
  • #6 Duke
  • #7 West Virginia
  • #8 Florida
  • #9 Virginia
  • #10 Michigan State

And here’s where the rest of the ACC, other than Duke and Virginia, are ranked.

  • #12 North Carolina
  • #16 Louisville
  • #23 Notre Dame
  • #27 Miami
  • #44 Georgia Tech
  • #47 Clemson
  • #53 Virginia Tech
  • #55 Florida State
  • #57 Wake Forest
  • #68 Syracuse
  • #95 Boston College
  • #109 NC State
  • #121 Pittsburgh

KenPom is more interesting than standard polls because he uses more analytics to get his results, but that has weaknesses too.

We’re not sure how Virginia ranks #9 and we tie that specifically to replacing 4-year point guard London Perrantes. How do you statistically measure that?

You can’t. Well you can measure his loss statistically but how do you calculate his replacement?

You can learn a lot from turnovers but it’s not possible to measure how Virginia responded to his intelligence and knowing that with Perrantes, turnovers were very unlikely. Assume for a minute that your point guard is erratic and mistake-prone and the team anticipates a mistake. It would be difficult to measure hesitancy, just as it’s difficult to measure confidence.

It would be interesting to have practice with digital trackers in the ball and in sneakers and sweatbands just to see if you could measure every possible level of reaction. For that matter, you could use something like an Apple Watch and try to measure stress and reaction time.

That’s more or less where analytics is heading of course. You can already look at it and get a very good idea of, say, how often someone goes left instead of right or when someone is tentative about driving. But it can’t predict emotion and that’s a key component of any competition.

All that said, most of the Final Four is likely to come from KenPom’s Top Ten.

But probably not Virginia.

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