2008-09 Around the ACC: February 2nd, 2009

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After another week of ACC basketball, there are no more undefeated teams in
conference play. There are also just four teams left with less than three
losses. As usual, the middle-of-the pack is filled with teams that are on the
NCAA tournament bubble.

Here is a look at the ACC standings.

ACC
Standings
Team Conf. Overall RPI

Duke
6-1 19-2 1

UNC
5-2 19-2 4

Clemson
4-2 18-2 8

Wake Forest
4-2 17-2 14

Boston College
5-3 17-6 51

Virginia Tech
4-3 14-7 38

Florida State
3-3 16-5 27

Maryland
3-4 14-7 80

Miami
3-5 14-7 49

NC State
2-5 11-8 108

Virginia
1-5 7-10 97

Georgia Tech
1-6 10-10 133

*RPI numbers from RealTimeRPI.com

Barring an unforeseen collapse, four ACC teams are locked into the NCAA tournament. Duke, UNC, Clemson and Wake Forest all look
like sure-fire bets to make the field of 65 in March. Boston College, Virginia
Tech, Florida State, Maryland and Miami are all in the hunt for a ticket to the
Big Dance as well.

At this point, it looks like the ACC will get 6-7 teams into the NCAA
tournament. That means 2-3 quality ACC basketball teams will have to watch it on
television while they play in the NIT.


Duke Blue Devils (19-2, 6-1, RPI #1)

Duke finally lost an ACC game on Wednesday night, falling to Wake Forest
70-68 on a last second shot in Winston-Salem. The Blue Devils rebounded by
drubbing overmatched Virginia 79-54 in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday. Duke is
the only ACC team with less than two losses.

This is a dominant defensive team. The Blue Devils are allowing just 54.6
points per game through seven ACC games. The closest team to them is Florida
State, who allows 70.2 points per game. Opposing ACC teams are shooting just
37.3% from the field and just 24.4% from three-point range against Duke.

Duke does have a tough schedule coming up. They travel to Clemson on
Wednesday night before returning home to host Miami on Saturday. After that,
they host North Carolina and then travel to Boston College.

Up Next: at Clemson (Feb. 4), Miami (Feb. 7)


North Carolina Tar Heels (19-2, 5-2, RPI #4)

North Carolina has run off five victories in a row since losing to Wake
Forest back on January 11. The Tar Heels beat Florida State 80-77 in Tallahassee
on Wednesday, and then blew out NC State 93-76 in Raleigh on Saturday.

Florida State gave UNC a run for their money. Tyler Hansbrough picked up
three fouls in the first half and finished with just 8 points. However, point
guard Ty Lawson hit a running three-pointer as time expired, giving the Tar
Heels a big road win against a quality opponent.

UNC has what should be two easy home wins this week. They host Maryland on
Tuesday, and then Virginia comes to the Dean Dome on Saturday.

Up Next: Maryland (Feb. 3), Virginia (Feb. 7)


Clemson Tigers (18-2, 4-2, RPI #8)

Clemson had just one game this past week, and it was a big one. The Tigers
overcame a 15-point second half deficit to defeat Virginia Tech 86-82 in
Blacksburg on Thursday night. The victory moves Clemson back into the Top 10 in
the RPI and gives them another Top 50 win.

K.C. Rivers scored 27 points against Tech on Thursday. In his last two games
in Cassell Coliseum, Rivers is averaging 25.5 points per game. He is 18-of-28
from the field and 12-of-17 from three-point range. No one has been that hot in
the Cassell since Dell Curry.

Clemson has two huge home games coming up this week. They host Duke on
Wednesday night, and they host Florida State on Saturday.

Up Next: Duke (Feb. 4), Florida State (Feb. 7)


Wake Forest (17-2, 4-2, RPI #14)

It was an up-and-down week for Wake. They beat the team at the top of the ACC
standings, Duke, on a last second shot on Wednesday night. On Saturday
afternoon, they lost to the last-place team in the conference, Georgia Tech, on
a last second shot. The Demon Deacons basically broke even this week.

Wake Forest was rolling offensively throughout much of the season. However,
they have failed to score over 80 points in each of their last four games.
Before that, Wake had scored 80+ points in 10 of their previous 11 games.

The Demon Deacons play two games against NCAA tournament contenders this
week. They’ll travel to Miami on Wednesday, and then host Boston College on
Sunday.

Up Next: at Miami (Feb. 4), Boston College (Feb. 8)


Boston College (17-6, 5-3, #51 RPI)

After losing four games in a row earlier this month, Boston College has
rebounded to win their last four games. The Eagles knocked off Maryland 76-67 in
College Park on Tuesday night, and then beat Virginia Tech on a last second
tip-in at home on Saturday night.

With two wins this week, Boston College has put themselves in a position to
make the NCAA tournament. Their RPI isn’t particularly high at this point, but
their overall record and ACC record is hard to ignore. BC also has Top 50 wins
over UAB, UNC and Virginia Tech.

The Eagles stand a solid shot to finish with a winning record in the ACC.
They still play Virginia, NC State and Georgia Tech. An above .500 finish in the
ACC should put them in the Big Dance.

Up Next: at Virginia (Feb. 4), at Wake Forest (Feb. 8)


Virginia Tech Hokies (14-7, 4-3, #38 RPI)

After picking up two huge road wins two weeks ago, Virginia Tech dropped two
big ACC games this past week. First they blew a 15-point second half lead in an
86-82 home loss to Clemson on Thursday night, and then they lost 67-66 on a
last-second tip-in to Boston College on the road on Saturday night.

A.D. Vassallo didn’t start against BC as a punishment for his outburst on the
VT bench in Thursday night’s game against Clemson. He didn’t enter the BC game
until the 12 minute mark of the first half, and didn’t score until the second
half. Vassallo played just 28 minutes against BC, and he went into the game
averaging 37.7 minutes in ACC play. His lack of playing time could have cost the
Hokies the game.

Tech has a good RPI and a solid ACC record. However, they still lack the
overall number of wins when compared to those other ACC teams that are in
contention for an NCAA tournament berth. That could come back to haunt them in
the end.

Up Next: NC State (Feb. 8)


Florida State Seminoles (16-5, 3-3, #27 RPI)

Florida State lost a heartbreaker on Wednesday night when Ty Lawson’s running
three-pointer dropped in, giving UNC an 80-77 victory over the ‘Noles in
Tallahassee. It would have been a huge win for FSU, basically solidifying their
NCAA tournament hopes.

Despite the loss, FSU’s overall record and RPI are very good. The ‘Noles have
two wins over Top 50 teams, and if they can pick up one or two more down the
stretch, they should have a good chance of making the NCAA tournament if they
can finish .500 or better in the ACC.

FSU hosts Georgia Tech on Thursday night, and then travels to Clemson on
Saturday. The Clemson game gives the ‘Noles another chance for a Top 50 win.

Up Next: Georgia Tech (Feb. 5), at Clemson (Feb. 7)


Maryland Terrapins (14-7, 3-4, #80 RPI)

Maryland lost at home to Boston College 76-67 on Tuesday night, and everyone
was writing off the Terps. However, they rallied with 73-68 victory over Miami
on Saturday night, and for the moment Maryland still has NCAA tournament hopes.

However, if the Terps want a real chance at the NCAA tournament, they are
going to have to close the season very strong. They have six games remaining
against Top 50 teams, so they’ll have a chance to improve their RPI quite a bit.
Despite the win over Miami, Maryland’s NCAA tournament chances aren’t very good
right now.

The Terps play at UNC on Tuesday night, then visit Georgia Tech on Sunday.

Up Next: at UNC (Feb. 3), at Georgia Tech (Feb. 8)


Miami Hurricanes (14-7, 3-5, #49 RPI)

At one point, Miami was 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. However, three
straight losses have sent them spiraling. The ‘Canes lost back-to-back overtime
games against Virginia Tech and NC State, and then fell at Maryland 73-68 on
Saturday night. That’s three losses by a total of 13 points, two of which came
in overtime.

Unfortunately for Miami, their schedule down the stretch is difficult. Their
next five games are Wake Forest, at Duke, UNC, at Florida State, and Boston
College. The ‘Canes have some serious work to do if they want to make the NCAA
tournament. They needed to win one of their games against NC State and Maryland,
but those could turn out to be two bad losses.

Up Next: Wake Forest (Feb. 4), at Duke (Feb. 7)


NC State Wolfpack (11-8, 2-5, #108 RPI)

NC State defeated Miami in overtime 84-81, then lost to UNC 93-76. The
Wolfpack is now 2-5 in ACC play, and both wins have come in overtime against
Georgia Tech and Miami.

While NC State’s wins have been narrow victories, all five of their
conference losses have come by double figures. This is not a good basketball
team right now, despite the presence of quality players such as Courtney Fells,
Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley.

The Wolfpack gets a break by playing North Carolina Central on Tuesday. Then
they’ll travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech on Sunday.

Up Next: North Carolina Central (Feb. 3), at Virginia Tech (Feb. 8)


Virginia (7-10, 1-5, #97 RPI)

Virginia had an entire week to prepare for Duke, but it didn’t help. UVA’s
young team took a 79-54 beating in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
For the Hoos’ three freshmen starters, it was an eye-opening experience.

For freshman star Sylven Landesberg, it was just another day at the office.
He scored 20 points against the Blue Devils on 8-of-10 shooting. Landesberg did
have five turnovers, but overall he played well for someone making his first
trip into such a hostile environment.

Despite Landesberg’s development, this is a UVA team that could very well be
residing at the bottom of the conference standings when the regular season is
over.

Up Next: Boston College (Feb. 4), at UNC (Feb. 7)


Georgia Tech (10-10, 1-6, #133 RPI)

Anyone can beat anyone in the ACC. Despite being winless in the ACC heading
into the game, Georgia Tech knocked off Wake Forest, who was tied for the lead
in the ACC standings. The Yellow Jackets beat the Demon Deacons 76-74 on
Saturday, thanks to a last second shot by Iman Shumpert.

The Yellow Jackets had been a hard luck team through the first six ACC games.
Three of their six losses have been decided in overtime. They aren’t that far
away from being a good team, but it’s too late for them to make a run this
season.

Up Next: at Florida State (Feb. 5), Maryland (Feb. 8)

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