Hoopsbag: North Carolina edition

Every couple of weeks, I’ll try to answer your queries, comments, raves and rants about North Carolina hoops (and other related issues/teams). Send your interrogatives by visiting this page. You can also email me at bylinerp@gmail.com or contact me via Twitter at @bylinerp.

Lots of forward-looking questions this week:

Annie from NC: Saw you mention on Twitter that Kendall Marshall isn’t eligible to have his jersey honored in the rafters (like Tyler Zeller last weekend). Why? Didn’t he win the Cousy Award?

Pickeral: Marshall, now a rookie in the NBA, did win the Cousy Award last season as the nation’s best point guard, and set numerous assist records before he went pro. But he hasn’t met school’s rules for having his jersey honored. A refresher on the criteria:

  • ACC Player of the Year

  • First- or Second-Team All-America (from the Associated Press, NABC, USBWA, The Sporting News, Wooden Award, Naismith Award)

  • Most Valuable Player of an NCAA-Tournament-winning team (as voted by coaches and teammates)

  • Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four, or

  • Olympic gold medalist

To have a jersey retired, a UNC player must be named the National Player of the Year by one of the six aforementioned organizations.

Coach Roy Williams has mentioned on his radio show that it might makes sense to take another look at the criteria for having jerseys honored. So perhaps Marshall -- and a few others -- will be up there down the road.

Sam from NC: Hey Robbi, where can I find the tiebreakers for ACC tournament seeding? With UNC and NC State [and now Virginia] all tied at 8-5, I’m trying to figure out who ends up where.

Pickeral: Hey, Sam. And which slot they end up could be particularly important in this case, since all three are currently tied for third (and fourth, and fifth) place, and only the top four teams get a first-day bye in the ACC tournament.

The tiebreak rules can be complicated, because of the imbalanced league schedule. The full explanation to all of the scenarios can be found in the ACC tournament media guide, and I'm sure I'll get into them in the coming weeks, if things stay jumbled.

But in a simplified nutshell:

If two teams are tied in the standings, regular-season head-to-head results are used as the tiebreaker. If the teams split, their records against the team ranked highest (or next-highest) in the final regular-season standings is used to break the tie. If they split against that team, they move on to the next-highest ranked, then next-highest after that, to determine the higher seed.

If three or more teams are tied in the standings, the combined record of league games between all of the tied teams is compiled, and seedings will be based on those winning percentages. According to the ACC media guide, “the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group is unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1; 1-0 is the same as 2-0; 2-0 is the same as 4-0; 2-1 is the same as 4-2; 1-0 is better than 1-1; 0-1 is the same as 0-2; 0-2 is the same as 0-4).”

If that fails to break the tie, you start comparing records against the highest ranked teams in the standings.

Sean from Minneapolis writes: Do you see any scenario where [James Michael] McAdoo returns to Chapel Hill for his junior year to continue to hone his craft before jumping to the pros? I feel he needs another year to develop. ... After all of the preseason talk about his potential, clearly he needs to work on being more assertive and aggressive under the basket. Also, he's slipped to being a likely mid- to late-first round pick in a somewhat weak draft.

Pickeral: Of course there’s that scenario, but like every underclassman, McAdoo will have to take a bunch of things into account:

  • Where will he be drafted, and will he be drafted significantly higher if he returns to college for another season? (One of the reasons Marshall left early last season was that his draft stock probably wasn’t going to rise much more.)

  • Does he have enough talent returning around him to make a March run, and make him a better player, if he does return? (Big man Sean May left early after the 2005 title season because most of the line-up was either going pro or graduating.)

  • How much does he like being in college? (That was one of the reasons why forward Tyler Hansbrough stayed four years.)

  • What are the chances of a major injury if he comes back?

  • How eager is he for a big paycheck?

It’s easy to say, “come back to college and develop; you’ll become a better player;” because those who watch North Carolina want to watch him develop and play there for as long as possible. But it’s not that simple, not with millions of dollars and NBA dreams on the line. I doubt McAdoo has made a definite decision about his future yet (and even if he has, he wouldn’t tell us yet). But there’s a lot for him, and his family, to weigh.