The North Carolina Tar Heels, the highest-ranked and best team in the
conference, ascended this past week to the number one spot in the ACC standings,
thanks to losses by Boston College and Virginia Tech. The league has separated
itself into two groups in the standings, heading into tonight’s Duke vs.
Virginia game: five teams have one or two losses in the league, while the other
seven teams have four losses or more. All that and more in this week’s
installment of “Around the ACC.”
Ratings per RealTimeRPI.com,
as of 2/1/07, 2:00 p.m.
68, Clemson 66
|Sat, 01/27/07||North Carolina
92, Arizona 64
74, Wake Forest 66
64, Clemson 63
73, Georgia Tech 65
75, Boston College 61
|Tues, 01/30/07||Wake Forest
85, Georgia Tech 75
96, Maryland 79
|Wed, 01/31/07||Boston College
94, Hartford 60
105, Miami 64
70, VT 59
|Thurs, 02/01/07||Duke @ Virginia||Charlottesville,
|Sat, 02/03/07||Clemson @ Georgia Tech||Atlanta,
|Virginia Tech @ Boston College||Chestnut
|North Carolina @ NC State||Raleigh,
|Maryland @ Wake Forest||Winston-Salem,
|8:00 p.m.||RLF Affiliates|
|Miami @ Virginia||Charlottesville,
|Sun, 02/04/07||Florida State @ Duke||Durham,
|Tues, 02/06/07||NC State @ Georgia Tech||Atlanta,
|Winston-Salem State @ Wake Forest||Winston-Salem,
|Virginia @ Maryland||College
|Wed, 02/07/07||Boston College @ Miami||Coral
|Florida State @ Clemson||Clemson,
|North Carolina @ Duke||Durham,
|9:00 p.m.||RLF Affiliates
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…
North Carolina (20-2, 6-1)
North Carolina has had a huge week since last Thursday’s
“Around the ACC” update. They went on the road and crushed Arizona 92-64.
They did so without the services of starting power forward Brandan Wright and
reserve defensive stalwart Marcus Ginyard. That shows exactly how deep this UNC
With Virginia Tech’s loss to NC State, the Tar Heels are back at the top of
the ACC standings, and look like they are there to stay. Their next two games
are on the road at in-state rivals NC State and Duke.
Virginia Tech (16-6, 6-2)
Virginia Tech got a huge road win at Georgia Tech on Sunday but promptly
gave it back by losing at home to NC State on Wednesday night. The Hokies have
little margin for error, sickness and injuries, and they got all three on
Wednesday. Tech was a step slow in all phases of the game, Jamon Gordon was
suffering from the flu, and Zabian Dowdell injured his right (non-shooting) arm at the end of the
first half, then was ineffective in the second half.
In wins over Maryland, Miami and Georgia Tech, the Hokies did not win the
turnover margin battle a single time. Against NC State, Virginia Tech turned the
ball over just five times and was +9 in turnover margin. To be +9 in turnover
margin and still lose at home by 11 shows just how poorly the Hokies played.
Virginia Tech will take on Boston College in a big ACC matchup in Chestnut
Hill on Saturday. Both teams are tied for second place in the ACC.
Boston College (15-6, 6-2)
Boston College went on the road on Sunday and lost to Duke 75-61 in Cameron
Indoor Stadium. Wednesday night they knocked off Hartford at home 94-60. It’s tough
to tell how good BC is without Sean Williams. They have won two games without
him. One came against FSU on a last-second three-pointer by Sean Marshall, and
the other was last night. In their two losses without Williams, they have lost
by double digits.
The Eagles haven’t faired particularly well against good competition this
year. Of their six ACC wins, four came against Maryland, Wake Forest, Miami and
NC State, teams that reside at the bottom of the ACC. BC has lost to Clemson by
20, Kansas by 18, Vermont by 14, Providence by 9 and Duke by 14. They even lost
to Duquesne at home.
The Eagles have a good record, but no one is really sure how good they
are, even though we are starting the month of February. BC will host Virginia
Tech on Saturday and then travel to Miami and Florida State. Time will tell if
Al Skinner can take his team back to the NCAA tournament.
Duke (18-3, 5-2)
The Blue Devils have won five consecutive ACC games, their most recent coming
at home against Boston College 75-61. They probably aren’t going to challenge for the
ACC Championship this year, but they have certainly done a great job rebounding
from their 0-2 ACC start.
Their big test comes tonight in Charlottesville. Duke knocked off two quality
teams at home in Clemson and Boston College, but can they play as well on the
road? Virginia is a hot team brimming with confidence after two road victories.
The Blue Devils will have to play very well to knock them off.
Tonight’s matchup against UVA could be very difficult for Duke, who has
struggled against teams with good guard play. Against Sean Singletary and J.R.
Reynolds, they’ll face some of the best guard play in the country. Tonight’s
game is the only ACC game on the docket, and it starts at 9:00 on ESPN.
Virginia (13-6, 5-2)
After beating NC State on the road last week, UVA traveled to Clemson on
Sunday. Down 63-49 with five minutes to play, it looks like the Cavaliers were
reverting to their old ways of losing on the road, but Clemson didn’t score in
the final five minutes, and UVA pulled out a dramatic 64-63 win.
A win like that is the type that can boost a team’s confidence. UVA
and Duke have been playing very well lately, and both teams will expect to win
on Thursday night. The key to this game will be matchups and home court. UVA has
home court advantage, as well as guards that will give Duke’s Greg Paulus all sorts of
Clemson (18-4, 4-4)
It was a heart-breaking week for the once 17-0 Clemson Tigers. They lost on a
last second shot at Duke (with a clock error playing a big role in a
controversial defeat), and gave up a 14-point second half lead at home to
UVA. Those are the types of losses that can crush confidence and send a team
into a string of losses. Losers of four of their last five, Clemson can’t
afford such a streak.
Clemson has two tough games coming up. They travel to Atlanta to face the
talented but struggling Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday, then they host
Florida State next Wednesday. Clemson beat FSU in Tallahassee by two points
earlier in the season. Clemson needs at least a split of their next two games.
Florida State (16-6, 4-4)
Florida State is living proof that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
After starting 0-3 in the ACC, the Seminoles have won four of their last five
games, with their lone loss coming on a buzzer-beating three-pointer at Boston
College. Florida State is a very confident team right now, coming off a win
against Wake Forest and a blowout victory against Maryland.
FSU’s next two games will be tough. They play at Duke and at Clemson, but
those games are more winnable than they seem. The Seminoles always give Duke
fits, and their good guard play, plus the star power of Al Thornton, will present
problems for the Blue Devils. Clemson is reeling, and FSU can return the favor
and beat the Tigers on the road.
The Seminoles have legit hopes of making it to the NCAA tournament after
falling one game short last season.
Maryland (16-6, 2-5)
Stick a fork in the Terps. Their NCAA tournament hopes could very well be
done. They generally play well at home, but they struggle horribly on the road.
They have lost three of their last four games. Their remaining home games are
Virginia, Duke, Florida State, UNC and NC State. They won’t get through that
group of teams unscathed.
They also have road trips to Wake, NC State, Clemson and Duke. With six of
their nine remaining games against teams from the top half of the ACC, it looks
like Maryland is going back to the NIT again.
NC State (12-8, 2-5)
NC State has played just one game in the last week, and they picked up a huge
road win at Virginia Tech 70-59 on Wednesday night. The Wolfpack have a talented
starting lineup and a short bench, so they could wear down before the end of the
season, but with 12 wins, they have a chance to make the NIT.
NC State hosts UNC on Saturday before hitting the road to take on Georgia
Tech on Tuesday. The win in Blacksburg will provide them with a great boost of
Georgia Tech (13-8, 2-6)
Georgia Tech is reeling, having lost four games in a row. Their latest losses
were a 73-65 home setback to Virginia Tech and an 85-75 loss at Wake Forest. A
preseason Top 25 team, Georgia Tech has seen their NCAA tournament hopes go up in
flames. They are heading for the NIT, barring a miracle.
The good news for the Yellow Jackets is their next three games are at home,
where they have lost just one game this season. They host Clemson, NC State and
UConn, with the latter game being played in the Georgia Dome.
Miami (9-13, 2-6)
The injury-plagued Hurricanes can set aside any hopes of playing in a
postseason tournament. They are playing for pride now. Losers of five in a row
and six of their last seven, Miami lost 105-64 at UNC on Wednesday night.
Things don’t get much easier for Miami. They travel to UVA on Saturday and
host Boston College next Wednesday. They are on the fast track to last place in
Wake Forest (10-11, 2-7)
Wake Forest has played much better of late. They hung with UNC at home for
the majority of the game, played Florida State close on the road, and then
knocked off Georgia Tech 85-75 in Winston-Salem on Tuesday. The Demon Deacons
are very young, but they look like they are improving.
They have a chance to pick up two more wins in the next week. They host
Maryland on Saturday, and the Terrapins are a very poor road team. Then Wake
will take on Winston-Salem State at home on Tuesday. The Demon Deacons still
have an outside shot at making the NIT, if they can get on a good run to close
the season like they did last year.