2006-07 Around the ACC: January 25th, 2007

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Boston College continues to hold the top spot in the ACC at 6-1, but Virginia
Tech and UNC are both on their heels at 5-1. The league’s RPI rating is a solid
#1, according to RealTimeRPI.com, with eight teams in the top 36 of the RPI. We
cover all the action from the past week and look ahead in this week’s
installment of “Around the ACC.”

Current
ACC Standings
School Conf. Overall
Boston College 6-1 14-5
Virginia Tech 5-1 15-5
North Carolina 5-1 18-2
Clemson 4-2 18-2
Virginia 4-2 12-6
Duke 3-2 16-3
Maryland 2-4 16-5
Florida State 2-4 14-6
Georgia Tech 2-4 13-6
Miami 2-5 9-12
NC State 1-5 11-8
Wake Forest 1-6 9-10

Recent
Games
Thurs, 01/18/07 Duke
62, Wake Forest 40
Durham,
NC
Sat, 01/20/07 Clemson
74, BC 54
Clemson,
SC
Florida State
86, Miami 67
Tallahassee,
FL
Duke
79, NC State 56
Raleigh,
NC
UNC
77, Georgia Tech 61
Chapel
Hill, NC
Sun, 01/21/07 Virginia
88, Wake Forest 76
Charlottesville,
VA
VT
67, Maryland 64 (OT)
Blacksburg,
VA
Tues, 01/23/07
BC 85, Florida State 82
Chestnut
Hill, MA
VT
92, Miami 85
Coral
Gables, FL
Wed, 01/24/07 UNC
88, Wake Forest 60
Winston-Salem,
NC
Maryland
80, Georgia Tech 65
College
Park, MD
Virginia
71, NC State 58
Raleigh,
NC
Upcoming
Games
Date Matchup Location Time Television
Thurs, 01/25/07 Clemson @ Duke Durham,
NC
7:00 p.m. ESPN
Sat, 01/27/07 North Carolina @ Arizona Tucson,
AZ
1:00 p.m. CBS
Wake Forest @ Florida State Tallahassee,
FL
4:00 p.m. RLF Affiliates
Sun, 01/28/07 Virginia @ Clemson Clemson,
SC
1:00 p.m. RLF Affiliates
Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech Atlanta,
GA
3:30 p.m. FSN
Boston College @ Duke Durham,
NC
5:30 p.m. FSN
Tues, 01/30/07 Georgia Tech @ Wake Forest Winston-Salem,
NC
8:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Maryland @ Florida State Tallahassee,
FL
8:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Wed, 01/31/07 Hartford @ Boston College Chestnut
Hill, MA
7:00 p.m. NESN
Miami @ North Carolina Chapel
Hill, NC
7:00 p.m. ESPN
NC State @ Virginia Tech Blacksburg,
VA
9:00 p.m. RSN
Television:
RLF = Raycom Lincoln Financial; CSN = Comcast SportsNet;
CSS = Comcast Sports Southeast; FSN = Fox SportsNet;
FSNS = Fox SportsNet South; NESN = New England Sports Network;
RSN = Regional Cable Partners (check listings)


A Look Around the League…


Boston College

In their first game since losing Sean Williams, Boston College got blown out
at Clemson 74-54. It looked like they had no idea how to play without their
dynamic shot blocker, but their losing ways didn’t last. BC knocked off Florida
State on Tuesday night with a last second three-pointer by Sean Marshall.

With their win Tuesday, BC improved to 6-1 in ACC play, which keeps them in
first place by themselves. Sean Marshall has stepped up his game since
conference play began, averaging 18.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in ACC games.
Jared Dudley is proving to be one of the ACC’s top players, averaging 18.9
points and 8.8 rebounds for the season.

The Eagles will be tested in their next game. They travel to Durham Sunday to
take on Duke. Then they get an out-of-conference home game against Hartford
before hosting Virginia Tech on February 3.


Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech is 2-0 since the last week’s “Around the ACC”, and
they are currently tied with UNC for second place with a 5-1 record. The Hokies
were impressive this week, downing Maryland at home 67-64 in a tough overtime
game. Just two days later, they beat Miami on the road 92-85, a good result for
such a short turnaround.

Zabian Dowdell just keeps getting better and better for the Hokies. He is
fourth in the ACC in scoring at 18.1 points per game. In ACC games he is even
better, averaging 21.5 points per game. He is also second in the conference in
steals, averaging 2.5 per game. He is behind only Jamon Gordon, his teammate.
Gordon averages 2.6 steals per game.

Dowdell scored a career-high 30 points on Miami. Deron Washington was just
one point off his career high and one rebound off his career high. Washington
finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

If you aren’t impressed with the Miami win, consider this. The Hokies are one
of just three teams in the ACC to have played two league games in three days this
season. Miami and Duke are the other teams. The fact that the Hokies won the second game on the road at the ACC’s most
southern school, just two days after playing a night overtime game, is very
impressive. It doesn’t matter what Miami’s record is.

The Hokies have two big games coming up in the next week. They travel to
Georgia Tech on Sunday, and return to Cassell to host NC State next Wednesday.

One interesting note on the Hokies is that they have not won the turnover
margin in their last three games, yet they are 2-1 in those games.


North Carolina

UNC hasn’t lost since being upset in Blacksburg back on January 13. They
registered a 77-61 win over Georgia Tech over the weekend and followed that up
with an 88-60 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday night. They’ll head west to
play Arizona on Saturday.

The Tar Heels are still getting excellent production on the inside from Tyler
Hansbrough and Brandan Wright. Freshman guards Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson are
getting better each game, and the Tar Heels have more quality depth than anyone
in the conference.

If they can get Reyshawn Terry playing like the All-ACC player that many
thought he would be, the Tar Heels could really be something. They’ll have a
chance to move up in the ACC standings soon. After their game with Arizona, UNC
plays Miami and NC State.


Clemson

After dropping two games in a row to Maryland and UNC, the Tigers rallied
with a 74-54 win at home over BC, showing just how hard it is to win on the road
in the ACC. Clemson has a huge matchup with Duke tonight that could end up
having a big impact on the ACC standings.

Clemson is 18-2 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. If I told you that the Tigers
were shooting just 57.8% from the free throw line overall, and just 47.1% from
the line in ACC play, you would probably guess they were at or near the bottom
of the league standings. They are also dead last in the ACC in field goal
percentage defense and 3-point percentage defense in conference games only.

Despite those deficiencies, Clemson is still high in the rankings because
they lead the ACC in turnover margin in conference games (+7.5; VT is a distant
second +3.3).


Virginia

Virginia finally nabbed a road win on Wednesday night, knocking off NC State
71-58 in Raleigh. Shooting guard J.R. Reynolds has been playing lights out
recently, scoring 69 points in the Cavaliers’ last two games. UVA also beat Wake
Forest over the weekend.

At 4-2 in the ACC and 12-6 overall, UVA is in better shape than their overall
record indicates. They are 10-1 at home this year, and they have very winnable
ACC home games against Duke, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia
Tech. They also host Longwood, which will be an easy win.

They also have some winnable road games, including trips to ACC bottom
feeders Miami and Wake Forest. The Cavaliers are still in the running for an
NCAA tournament bid, but they have a little more climbing to do to get out of
the hole they dug themselves in Puerto Rico.


Duke

After starting 0-2 in the ACC, Duke has won three consecutive conference
games against Miami, Wake Forest and NC State with relative ease. Of course,
Miami, Wake Forest and NC State will likely be the cellar dwellers of the ACC at
the end of the season. We’ll find out exactly how much the Blue Devils have
improved tonight when they host Clemson.

Starting with Clemson tonight, Duke plays four of their next five games at
home. Beside the Tigers, they’ll also get Boston College, Florida State and UNC
in Cameron during that stretch. Their only road game will be in Charlottesville
to take on Virginia.

Their offense isn’t the same since they lost J.J. Redick and Shelden
Williams, but the team defense of the Blue Devils has improved. They have
allowed more than 60 points just five times this season. The 69 points scored
against Duke by Virginia Tech is the fourth-highest total that anyone has put up
on the Blue Devils this season.


Maryland

Maryland got back to their winning ways on Wednesday night, beating Georgia
Tech 80-65 in the Comcast Center. Unfortunately for the Terps, they now go back
on the road with two straight trips to Florida State and Wake Forest. Three of
Maryland’s four ACC losses have come on the road.

Maryland plays five of their last eight games at home, so they have a chance
to make up some ground in the ACC at that point. This team has the talent to go
to the NCAA tournament, but they’ve been able to say that the last two years
when they were NIT bound.


Florida State

Florida State beat Miami 86-67 over the weekend and then dropped an 85-82
heartbreaker at Boston College on Tuesday night. The Seminoles are still hanging
around with a 2-4 ACC record 14-6 overall. Their RPI is #26, and they have an
SOS of #11. If FSU can get to .500 in the ACC, their RPI and SOS will likely
push them into the NCAA tournament.

Florida State’s next two games are very winnable, with home contests against
Wake Forest and Maryland. If they win those games, they’ll be back in the NCAA
tournament hunt. But the Seminoles must start winning now, as three of their
last four games of the season are on the road.


Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech lost at UNC 77-61 over the weekend, then got beat by the
Maryland Terrapins 80-65 in College Park on Wednesday night. See the theme? Yep,
both losses were on the road. The Yellow Jackets have now lost 16 consecutive
road games. And despite their nice overall record (13-6) and solid RPI (36),
they are going to need to steal a road game or two to make the NCAA tournament.

The Yellow Jackets are the total opposite at home, sporting an impressive
11-0 record in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. They have a chance to get their
season back on track with three of their next four games at home, including
Sunday’s game against the Hokies. Their lone road game in that stretch is at
Wake Forest, which is a great chance to steal a road win in the ACC.


Miami

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Miami’s players and coaching staff. They lost
guards Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite to the NBA, and this year their frontcourt
has been decimated by season ending injuries. But the Hurricanes keep playing
hard. Unfortunately for them, playing hard hasn’t been enough, as they have
dropped four straight games.

Miami got blown out by Florida State over the weekend and then dropped a
tough home game to Virginia Tech on Tuesday night.

Things won’t get any easier for Miami. Their next two games are road trips to
UNC and UVA. The ‘Canes are going to flirt with last place in the ACC (though
Wake Forest might have it locked down; see below).


NC State

Things continue to go downhill for the struggling Wolfpack. After their 71-58
defeat at the hands of Virginia on Wednesday night, NC State has lost four of
their last five games. Things don’t get any easier with their upcoming schedule.
They travel to Virginia Tech next Wednesday, then host UNC and then take on
Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

NC State has been without the services of point guard Engin Atsur for most of
the season, and when he has played, he hasn’t been 100%. Without Atsur, they
have been forced to play Gavin Grant at the point, which takes away from his
scoring ability as a wing. It will continue to be a long season for Sidney Lowe
and his team, which only goes about seven players deep.


Wake Forest

Wake Forest lost their fifth consecutive game on Wednesday to North Carolina
86-60 in Winston Salem. Their next three games are very tough, with a road game
at FSU and home contests against Georgia Tech and Maryland. The Demon Deacons
appear to be on the fast track to a last place finish in the ACC.

However, NC State and Miami could have something to say about that. Either
way, things are looking grim in Winston-Salem. They are a young team, but none
of their young players appear to be stepping up and separating themselves from
the pack, with the exception of point guard Ishmael Smith. Two of Wake’s top
three scorers are seniors, including the ACC’s most improved player, Kyle Visser.

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