A.L.: Clemson gets insane, too

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  • Remember when John Gasaway (and subsequently yours truly) told you about Illinois' historically brilliant shooting performances in two of its first three Big Ten games? Rarely -- and by "rarely", we mean it happens once every three or four years -- do teams post effective field goal percentages higher than 80 against major-conference opponents. The Illini did that twice in their first three league games. That's pretty nuts. Even more nuts? Last night, with an eFG percentage of 83.3 (!!), Clemson joined the club, too. From Gasaway: "So to me the really shocking event in the ACC last night was Clemson’s 87-62 win at home over Georgia Tech. In that game the Tigers shot better from the field than any team has in a major-conference game for at least six years. When I wrote about Illinois’ historically insane shooting on Monday, little did I think I would need to update both the history and the insanity just three days later. [...] Brad Brownell’s team shot 16-of-25 on their twos and 11-of-14 on their threes. Nor are the Tigers alone in the increasingly crowded 'Accurate in or near calendar 2011' club. As seen here, four of the ten best shooting performances in major-conference play over the past five-plus seasons have taken place within the last 15 days. No, I have no idea why. But the next time an announcer bemoans the 'lost art of shooting' it is your solemn duty to roll your eyes."

  • This morning, a Rock Chalk Talk commenter helpfully corrected me via Twitter on the proper use of "Morri." In the meantime, the gents at RCT broke down last night's win over Iowa State, concluding: "This game basically comes down to this: Kansas was saved by Marcus Morris."

  • Rob Dauster says it's time to start paying attention to Colorado as a potential Big 12 sleeper again. I jumped off the Buffs bandwagon early -- blowout losses to Harvard will do that for your national perception -- but there's no denying the progress Tad Boyle's team has made (especially, as Dauster notes, on the boards).

  • The college hoops must-read of the day -- Seth Davis called it the "must-read of the year" -- came from Yahoo! Sports' Jason King. King writes about the shared loss between Billy Donovan, Mark Pelphrey and Anthony Grant, and it is very much worth your time.

  • And you know a college hoops feature story is pretty good when it garners more Twitter love than Dana's latest, a look at Gonzaga guard Stephen Gray's life-changing recent trip to Africa. Read both, folks.

  • In his Carmelo Anthony-heavy chat yesterday, ESPN's Chad Ford made an interesting point about the potential draft prospects of North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes, one that ought to make UNC fans cautiously giddy: "[The notion that Barnes will stay in school next season is] probably right. He's struggling to create his own shot in North Carolina ... still have a long ways to go in the season, but so far a pretty big disappointment and a kid who would likely stay in school if he's not a Top 3 pick." Interesting stuff.

  • AnnArbor.com's Mike Rothstein began a rather fun feature last season: Rothstein started polling college hoops writers asking for their hypothetical national player of the year votes. That feature is back this year, and thus far, Kemba Walker is leading the way.

  • FanHouse writer Viv Bernstein checked in on retired CBS college hoops analyst Billy Packer, an iconic figure (for better and worse) during his decades-long broadcasting career. Packer still seems as, um, irascible as ever: "Those old, iconic CBS Sports jackets are long gone from Billy Packer's closet. The premier college basketball television analyst for three decades doesn't own a video or DVD of any of his games, either. And that Emmy Award Packer won in 1993? 'He's probably using it as a doorstop,' cracked his son, Charlotte radio personality Mark Packer. Billy Packer is more likely to display his prized Picasso ceramics or Barbazon art than a faded photograph with some basketball player or coach. He is neither sentimental nor nostalgic about a career he refers to almost dismissively as a 'hobby.'"

  • In other broadcasting icon news: On Wednesday, ESPN's Dick Vitale signed an extension with the mothership that will keep him in the broadcast booth until 2014-15. This is good news for anyone who loves this sport. Congrats, Dickie V. (And for a firsthand account of why Vitale is such an amazing, one-of-a-kind guy, read this story from Rush The Court. If you've ever been in the same room as Vitale, you've probably experienced something similar. He's the best.)

  • If Wake continues in its current inept fashion, as Mike Miller writes, the Demon Deacons have a chance go down as one of the worst teams in ACC history.

  • For the first time in weeks, Duke was leapfrogged at the top of Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency rankings. The new No. 1? Ohio State. But Duke and Kansas remain right on the Buckeyes' heels.

  • And, per the routine, some in-house stuff: Gasaway has fresh tempo-free goodness for you today, this time discussing the rise of the Washington Huskies, who are still one of the most underrated teams in the nation. Ohio State assumed its first No. 1 spot of the season in our ESPN.com Power Rankings. And, if you're still in the question-asking mood after Wednesday's Hoopsbag, ESPN's Fran Fraschilla is chatting live at 3 p.m. ET today.