The last couple of weeks are a perfect example of how crazy the ACC is.
Virginia Tech handed UVA their first-ever ACC loss in the John Paul Jones Arena,
then lost to last place Georgia Tech. Maryland lost at Virginia Tech, then won
at #1 UNC. Buckle your seatbelts, because the ACC ride is just getting started.
|RPI Data from RealTimeRPI.com,
as of 1/21/08, 11:00 a.m.
Recent Games (click score
70, NC State 54
76, Miami 66
|Chestnut Hill, Mass.|
71, Wake Forest 64
|College Park, Md.|
70, FSU 57
70, Virginia 69 (OT)
83, Georgia Tech 82
81, VT 70
82, UNC 80
|Chapel Hill, N.C.|
93, Clemson 80
84, BC 66
79, Miami 77
74, FSU 57
|01/22/08||Wake Forest @ Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||RSN||
|01/23/08||Georgia Tech @ NC State||Raleigh, N.C.||ESPN2||
|Virginia @ FSU||Tallahassee, Fla.||none||
|Coral Gables, Fla.||RAYCOM||
|01/24/08||Duke @ VT||Blacksburg, Va.||ESPN||
|01/26/08||NC State @ FSU||Tallahassee, Fla.||RAYCOM||
|Chestnut Hill, Mass.||RAYCOM||
|01/27/08||Clemson @ Miami||Coral Gables, Fla.||RAYCOM||
|Georgia Tech @ Virginia||Charlottesville, Va.||FSN||
|Duke @ Maryland||College Park, Md.||FSN||
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…
Duke (15-1, 3-0)
Duke had two relatively easy victories this week. They beat Florida State
70-57 on Wednesday night on the road, then knocked off Clemson 83-70 on
Saturday. No one has been within single digits of beating Duke since before
Christmas. They are on a roll, and they are playing better than any team in the
ACC right now. They don’t have one dominant player, but they have a team full of
very good players.
Duke plays tough, aggressive defense, and their ball movement on offense is
outstanding. Coach K has improved his team drastically in the offseason, despite
the loss of Josh McRoberts.
The Blue Devils have two road games this week. Thursday night they are at
Virginia Tech, and Sunday they are at Maryland.
UNC (18-1, 3-1)
North Carolina blew everybody out before ACC play began. Since league play
started, the Tar Heels have gotten lucky to get by Clemson and Georgia Tech, and
this Saturday they got knocked off in Chapel Hill by a Maryland team that had
lost at home to American and Ohio earlier in the season.
UNC has a dominant offense, but their defense leaves a little bit to be
desired. They’ll get things rolling at some point, but right now they are not
playing anywhere near what they are capable of.
UNC’s only game this week will be Wednesday night against a Miami team that
has struggled since ACC play began.
Boston College (12-5, 3-1)
It’s still not clear how good Boston College is. After good home wins against
Wake Forest and Miami, they went on the road and got whipped by a struggling
Virginia team 84-66. BC still looks like a team that’s going to finish in the
upper half of the league, but that’s by default. The ACC is a bit down this
When you lose Jared Dudley, Sean Marshall and Sean Williams, it’s hard to not
slip. Those were very good players, and it’s a credit to Al Skinner’s coaching
ability that the Eagles are 3-1 so far.
BC’s only game this week is Saturday against Virginia Tech. The Ealges get
the entire week off to prepare, while the Hokies will have just part of one day
on Friday, as they host Duke on Thursday night.
Clemson (14-4, 2-2)
Clemson had two games this past week, easily beating NC State 70-54, and then
losing at Duke 83-70. The Tigers still have a great opportunity to make the NCAA
tournament this year. Six more wins would put them at 20 wins overall and at
.500 in the ACC, and that should be enough to get it done.
Clemson should be able to handle that this year, with very winnable home
games against Wake Forest, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech
left on the schedule.
The Tigers host Wake Forest on Tuesday night, and then travel to Miami over
the weekend. It’s a great opportunity for them to pick up two wins in one week.
Wake Forest (12-5, 2-2)
Wake lost to Maryland 71-64 at the Comcast Center last week, but returned
home to defeat Florida State 74-57. The Demon Deacons did not look impressive in
the first half, but they turned their game up a notch in the second half to pull
away from the Seminoles.
Wake Forest has one of the ACC’s top freshmen in forward James Johnson, who
scored a career-high 26 points against Florida State, 21 in the second half.
Johnson is a very athletic player who has a bright future ahead of him.
The Deacons travel to Clemson on Tuesday. That is their only game of the
week. Both teams are currently tied at 2-2, so that will shake up the standings
Maryland (12-7, 2-2)
What a difference a week makes. On January 12, the Terps missed a last second
shot to lose to Virginia Tech on the road. On January 19, they went into the
Dean Dome and snuck out with an 82-80 victory. Maryland has Eric Hayes back from
injury, and they are playing better basketball.
Maryland is the perfect example of how the ACC works. Anybody can beat
anybody. The Terps aren’t likely to be an NCAA tournament team this year because
of such a poor start, yet they still have the talent to beat UNC on the road.
Maryland gets the week off before hosting Duke on Sunday. Back-to-back wins
over the premier programs in the ACC would be huge for the Terps.
Virginia Tech (11-7, 2-2)
On Wednesday night, the Hokies beat UVA on a last second shot by Deron
Washington in overtime. It was a great night for the team and their fans. On
Saturday, things weren’t so good. Tech went on the road against last place
Georgia Tech, showed no intensity in the first half, and eventually lost 81-70.
To make matters worse, Jeff Allen brushed an official as he was walking off the
court, and has been suspended by the ACC for the next two games.
As happy as everyone was last week at this time, temper your expectations
this week. Tech gets Duke at home on Thursday night. Even with Allen, that’s a
likely loss. Without him is almost certain. Tech will BC on the road on Saturday
BC has no game during the week, so they get plenty of time to prepare for
Tech. The Hokies have Duke on Thursday night, which gives them part of the day
on Friday to practice, and part of the day to travel, and then a walk-through
when they get to Boston. Too little practice and prep time for Tech, while BC
has more than usual.
This will be like a Thursday night college football game, where the home team
had the previous weekend off and the road team is playing just five days after
their previous game. In other words, it’s not going to be pretty.
Miami (14-3, 1-2)
Miami rolled through the out-of-conference portion of their schedule, but now
that ACC play has begun they’ve found life a little more difficult. They had two
road games this week, losing at BC 76-66, then at NC State 79-77 in overtime.
They basically gave the game away in Raleigh, turning it over under their own
basket for the game-winning shot by NC State, so it could be a tough one to get
Miami has a lot of weapons, and it will be interesting to see how they handle
the rest of their ACC games. They match up well from a talent standpoint with
most teams they play, but will they be able to win the close ones? This past
weekend’s game with a bad NC State team indicates that they will not, but we’ll
The Hurricanes host UNC on Wednesday, and then get Clemson at home over the
NC State (12-5, 1-2)
The Wolfpack lost to Clemson 70-54 last Tuesday, but rebounded to knock off
Miami 79-77 in overtime on Saturday. NC State’s Gavin Grant had a backcourt
steal and layup off an inbounds pass with just 2.1 seconds remaining in the
As bad as NC State has been this year, they still have a chance to make a
run. They have some very talented players on their team — Gavin Grant, J.J.
Hickson, Ben McCauley, etc. Those guys are legit ACC players. If the Wolfpack
can get better point guard play down the stretch, they can be a much improved
NC State gets Georgia Tech at home on Wednesday, then travels to FSU on
Saturday. Both games are very winnable.
Virginia (11-5, 1-2)
Virginia lost a home heartbreaker to Virginia Tech on Wednesday night but
rallied to blow out Boston College 84-66 on Saturday night. Again, this is an
example of how wild the ACC is. A winless team in conference play easily beating
an undefeated team. That’s what makes this league fun.
UVA will go as far as their role players take them. Guys like Mamadi Diane
and Adrian Joseph were terrible against Virginia Tech on Wednesday night, but
they dominated the Eagles on Saturday. Sean Singletary can only do so much. He
needs some help.
The Hoos have a couple of winnable games this week. They play at Florida
State on Wednesday, then host Georgia Tech on Sunday. They could potentially be
on a nice winning streak by this time next week.
Florida State (12-7, 1-3)
Florida State has some nice players, but you don’t just lose arguably the
best player in the ACC in Al Thornton to the NBA and then improve. It doesn’t
help when you have a bench full of walking wounded. The ‘Noles played just eight
guys in their 74-57 loss at Wake Forest, and two of those played nine minutes or
FSU simply doesn’t have enough bodies right now. They are one of the bottom
teams in the ACC this year, or so it seems. Even if they get better, it will be
difficult to overcome such a bad start.
The ‘Noles get UVA and NC State at home this week. Winning both games would
Georgia Tech (8-9, 1-3)
The Yellow Jackets lost a heartbreaker to #1 UNC on Wednesday night, falling
83-82 at home. They followed that up with an 81-70 victory over Virginia Tech on
Georgia Tech is a better team than their record indicates. They played
Indiana, Kansas, UNC and Vanderbilt, and the latter three teams have combined
for just two losses. Their schedule has been difficult. They aren’t going to the
NCAA tournament, barring something incredible, but they can still win some
GT will be at NC State on Wednesday, and at Virginia this weekend.