Ranking the 10 Streakiest Shooters in College Basketball for 2014-15 Season

A streaky shooter can bring college basketball fans to their feet in excitement one night and then make those same diehards despondent with a tall column of bricks the next time he takes the court.

Even some of the nation’s best shooters can have terrible nights, but they’re among the best because they’re able to minimize the clunkers. Guys who aren’t quite as well-known are still highly capable of great games, but those guys can also struggle, especially if they’re on mid-major teams playing a higher-level opponent.

The 10 players and five honorable mentions here aren’t all the best shooters in America, but they’re certainly guys who are capable of epic streaks, both good and bad.

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Virginia Basketball: Position-by-Position Breakdown of Cavaliers in 2014-15

The 2013-14 season will be remembered as the year the Virginia Cavaliers returned to national relevance in college basketball. 

The Cavs won the regular-season ACC title and the ACC Tournament, and they received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. UVa defeated Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Pitt en route to one of the greatest seasons in school history.

The question now becomes, “Was it a one-year wonder, or is Virginia here to stay?”

All-ACC guard Joe Harris is now in the NBA, and Akil Mitchell, one of the best defenders in the country over the past few seasons, is gone, too. 

But the Cavaliers are loaded and have the talent in place to replace the two departed stars. 

Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Cavs for the 2014-15 season. 

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UNC Basketball: Tar Heels’ Tough Schedule Will Prime Them for 2015 Title Run

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is like most great college basketball coaches: He has never been timid about testing his teams with a challenging slate of contests.

On an annual basis, Williams puts his squads through a gauntlet of grueling nonconference games before beginning their always-demanding Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.

This upcoming season is no different.

Some programs will consume more than their share of cupcakes in November and December. The Tar Heels will face an impressive list of opponents before they open league play in January.

In fact, North Carolina’s tough schedule should prepare it to contend for the ACC crown and make a major March Madness run.

Let’s take a month-by-month look at UNC’s 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule, marking the calendar with the must-see matchups that could get the team ready for a trip to Indianapolis, Indiana in April.

 

No Day at the Beach in November

After the Heels open at the Smith Center with what should be two easy targets (North Carolina Central and Robert Morris) and a dicey neutral-court matchup with Davidsonthe Wildcats took UNC to overtime last yearCarolina will head to the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas.

This year’s formidable field is second to none.

Williams’ squad will open against always-bothersome Butler. Regardless of whether the Tar Heels win or lose, they will play either Oklahoma or UCLA in the second round.

The top half of the bracket includes heavyweights such as Wisconsin, Florida and Georgetown.

Because of this resort road trip, North Carolina will have an excellent opportunity for early-season evaluation when it returns to Chapel Hill after Thanksgiving.

 

Hardly a Holiday in December

Williams is not letting his troops off easy in the last month of 2014.

In the three weeks leading up to Christmas, UNC will face no fewer than three Top 25 teams.

It will host Big Ten foe Iowa (December 3) before going on the road to battle the USA Today coaches poll‘s preseason No. 1, Kentucky, on December 13. One week later, the Heels will head to Chicago to go to war against Ohio State.

Even if Carolina’s record is blemished by New Year’s Day, the Heels will come out of the first six weeks of the season battle-tested and ready to wage war when their ACC slate begins on the road against Clemson.

 

Jump into January

There is no such thing as easing into the ACC gauntlet. The Tar Heels will play nine action-packed contests in the first month of year that will set the tone for the rest of the 2014-15 campaign.

Their second challenge in league play is a home game against Notre Dame (January 5), which could be the most improved team in the ACC.

North Carolina will welcome Rick Pitino and his Louisville Cardinals to the conference not just once but twice in January (10 and 31). The Heels will also meet a capable NC State (January 14) squad in Raleigh and Syracuse (January 26) at home before the end of the month.

If North Carolina is still a Top 10 team by the end of January, you’ll know that this team is going to be special.

 

 

Ferocious in February

The final third of Carolina’s regular-season schedule will be just as extreme as the first 20-plus games.

The Heels will meet Virginia (February 2) in the first game of the month. By this time, the ACC race will be in full swing, and this matchup could be significant down the stretch.

After facing the Cavaliers at home, UNC will play three consecutive road games: Boston College (February 7), Pitt (February 14) and Duke (February 18).

Many would write off the BC game as an automatic win. If the Tar Heels look past the Eagles, they could be sorry that they did.

 

Must-Win Games in March

North Carolina has only two regular-season games on the schedule in March. However, these two contests could make or break their conference championship hopes.

The Georgia Tech road game could be problematic. At the very least, the Yellow Jackets will be looking to play spoiler to keep the Heels from building momentum at this point of the season.

The season finale against Duke will be a Smith Center spectacular. Even if the ACC title is not on the line, these two teams will pull, struggle and scrap from the opening tipoff to the final buzzer.

 

Looking Ahead

Williams has one of the most talented and deep rosters in college basketball.

He has also set up an uber-demanding schedule to match.

This slate will be taxing. It will shape and mold the Heels, pushing this team to the brink and making it work hard to pile up wins.

However, this schedule will also help the Heels become a force to be reckoned with when March Madness comes around.

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USA TODAY Sports top 25 men’s basketball preseason coaches poll teams

      
 

 

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NCAA Basketball Stars Playing in the Perfect System in 2014-15

Sam Dekker and Kennedy Meeks are two of the most notable college basketball stars who are playing in the perfect system this season.

When good basketball players end up on the right team, it’s a magical thing. Even average players can evolve into stars if the dominoes fall properly.

Just look at Marshall Henderson and Aaron Craft.

If those two guys had switched teams, no one would have ever heard of Craft, and Henderson would have been reviled for his antics and average shooting.

But Henderson thrived in Ole Miss, where he was free to take as many shots per game as he wanted. And Craft was a stud for the perennially defensive-minded Buckeyes.

Maybe these 10 players won’t receive the unadulterated love of Dan Dakich, but they are in the perfect position to succeed in 2014-15.

 

All advanced stats via KenPom.com (subscription required) and Sports-Reference.com.

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Fordham Basketball: A ‘Hungry’ and ‘Humble’ Eric Paschall Prepares for Season

Fordham’s Eric Paschall is the face of the future at Rose Hill. It seems almost a certainty that before too long he’ll be the face of the Rams.

If it’s possible for someone who has yet to play a minute of college basketball to be hailed as a savior, then Paschall might be that guy.

After arriving in late May, the 6’6″ forward spent the summer months working out with his new teammates. In late August, he helped lead the Rams to a 4-0 record in Canada. On Oct. 7, Fordham had its first official practice. We’re under way in the Bronx.

After Fordham concluded its practice Saturday, Paschall told Bleacher Report he thinks things are moving in the right direction. 

“I think we’re progressing well,” he said. “The team chemistry is getting a lot better. We’re starting to learn each other’s games more, starting to know what we like to do. I think by the time the season comes we’ll be real comfortable.”

The regular season begins on Nov. 14 when Fordham hosts the New York Institute of Technology. Following the opener, the Rams will play Penn State and Maryland in back-to-back road games against Big Ten opponents.

Before too long, the Atlantic 10 schedule will start. It will be a tough two-month stretch for Fordham—a young team in rebuilding mode playing on a nightly basis against established programs, including six teams that made last season’s NCAA tournament.

Playing against top-notch competition won’t be anything new for Paschall, who saw plenty of it last season when he attended Connecticut’s St. Thomas More, where he was named the New England Prep Player of the Year.

“I played against a lot of great competition,” Paschall said. “It’s prepared me a lot. I’m feeling ready for the A-10.”

With Paschall, there’s reason to believe that better days may be ahead. Joining him this year will be six other freshmen (two redshirts), including point guard Nemanja Zarkovic and forward Christian Sengfelder. Paschall may headline the rookie class, but he’ll have support around him.

“It’s been great,” he said when asked about the impact the freshmen have had so far. “[They] all bring a lot to the table. We all play well together. I’m looking forward to the season.”

As he moves through October en route to his first college season, Paschall outlined his goals.

“I just have to stay humble and be hungry,” he said. “Keep working hard; [do] all the little stuff.”

Paschall said what pleases him most is “seeing [his] game progress,” telling B/R he’s been working on his shooting and ball-handling.

“All that is [helping me] progress into a better player,” he said.

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora has been talking up his star recruit for some time.

“We really expect a lot out of Eric, and that’s why he came [to Fordham],” Pecora said at media day, the New York Post’s John DeMarzo reported. “We talked to him a lot about going somewhere where you’re going to have an impact right away. I believe he could play just about anywhere in the country, as most of the best players in this conference [can].”

 

Unless otherwise noted, quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.

Charles Costello covers the Fordham Rams for Bleacher Report. A full archive of his articles can be found hereTwitter: @CFCostello

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Ranking the Top 20 Coach-Player Duos in College Basketball in 2014-15

Every college basketball coach is only as good as his players. Schemes and set plays can only do so much; for a coach to be successful, he has to have talent and be able to work with that talent effectively.

Look at the top teams in the country from last season and heading into the 2014-15 campaign, and you’ll see a common thread: a good coach and at least one key player. Put them together, and the wins are much easier to attain. Each duo has its own impact on the results for its team, yet one part of the duo can’t be expected to do as well without the other.

With only a few weeks left before the season gets going, here’s our ranking of the 20 best player-coach duos in college basketball, along with a little explanation of why they work so well together.

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Big 12 basketball will tip off with same big obstacle at top: Kansas

The Jayhawks have ruled the Big 12 for a decade. Is this the season that changes?

      
 

 

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Duke Basketball: Ranking Jahlil Okafor’s Toughest Matchups in the 2014-15 Season

The accolades continue to pour in for Duke center Jahlil Okafor before he’s even suited up in his first collegiate game. The CBSSports.com National Player of the Year is preparing to embark on what should be a very short collegiate career, 35 or so games between him and a date with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

During that span, there will be nights when Okafor resembles a father posterizing his kids in the driveway. In other games, however, Duke will face teams featuring burly, athletic big men who can deliver the Chicago product a stern test.

The five well-known bigs listed hereas well as five lesser-heralded sleeper pickswill make the Blue Devils’ rookie star put in work during their dates this season. They may not be Okafor’s fellow McDonald’s All-Americans Karl Towns, Myles Turner or Cliff Alexander, but they are veteran college players anxious to teach the newbie a couple of tricks.

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Arkansas schedules Red-White basketball game

Annual Arkansas Red-White basketball scrimmage is scheduled

      
 

 

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