2008-09 Around the ACC: February 9, 2009

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Every ACC team is finished with at least half of their conference schedule,
and as most people expected, North Carolina and Duke sit atop the standings.
Behind the Tar Heels and Blue Devils, four teams are in a tie for third place,
with Boston College lurking close behind.

Team Conf. Overall

North Carolina
7-2 21-2

7-2 20-3

5-3 19-3

Wake Forest
5-3 18-3

Florida State
5-3 18-5

Virginia Tech
5-3 15-7

Boston College
6-4 18-7

4-5 15-8

4-6 15-8

NC State
2-6 12-9

1-7 7-12

Georgia Tech
1-8 10-12

As usual, the ACC is a jumbled mess in the middle of conference play. Nine
teams still have a realistic shot at an NCAA tournament berth.

North Carolina (21-2, 7-1)

North Carolina had two home wins over Maryland and Virginia, extending their
unbeaten streak to seven games. With Duke and Wake Forest slipping, the Tar
Heels look like the best team in the ACC right now.

However, even UNC has issues. Marcus Ginyard’s injury has forced him to take
a redshirt year, while Will Graves has been suspended for the remainder of the
season by head coach Roy Williams. That gives the Tar Heels some serious depth
problems. Williams now has just two backups that he truly trust, Bobby Frasor
and Ed Davis.

The ACC’s biggest game this week is UNC at Duke, which will take place on
Wednesday night. First place in the conference standings is up for grabs.

Up Next: at Duke (Feb. 11), at Miami (Feb. 15)

Duke (20-3, 7-2)

Duke suffered an embarrassing 74-47 loss at Clemson on Wednesday night, and
followed that up with a narrow 78-75 overtime win against Miami on Saturday. The
Blue Devils trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half before rallying
to beat the ‘Canes.

Duke has struggled offensively in the last two games. After putting up just
47 points at Clemson on Wednesday, they shot just 32.9% from the field against
Miami on Saturday. Their first half shooting against Miami was remarkably bad,
as the Devils were just 6-of-31 (19.4%) from the field.

The Blue Devils are still playing good defense, but they’ll have to play much
better offensively if they want a chance to beat North Carolina on Wednesday.

Up Next: UNC (Feb. 11), at Boston College (Feb. 15)

Clemson (19-3, 5-3)

It was an up and down week for the Clemson Tigers. They blew out Duke 74-47
on Wednesday night, but followed that up by losing a 19-point second half lead
in a 65-61 loss to Florida State on Saturday. If not for that comeback by FSU,
the Tigers could be tied in the loss column in the ACC standings with Duke and

The loss to FSU is somewhat surprising, considering the game was played at
Clemson. Despite that loss, the Tigers are still in great shape. All they have
to do is finish .500 in the ACC and they are virtually guaranteed a spot in the
NCAA tournament.

Clemson has two road games this week at Boston College and Virginia, but they
match up well against both of those teams.

Up Next: at Boston College (Feb. 10), at Virginia (Feb. 15)

Wake Forest (18-3, 5-3)

Wake Forest was blown out by Miami 79-52 on the road on Wednesday night. It
was their second consecutive loss. However, they came back to defeat Boston
College 93-76 at home on Sunday afternoon. The Demon Deacons have blown out BC
twice this year. The Eagles just don’t match up well with Wake’s athletic

Like Clemson, all Wake will likely need to do is finish .500 in ACC play to
get a spot in the NCAA tournament. That should be pretty easy, as the Deacons
still have games against NC State (twice), Georgia Tech and Virginia. Those are
the three ACC teams with no realistic chance of making the NCAA tournament.

Wake gets NC State on Wednesday, and then plays host to Florida State on

Up Next: at NC State (Feb. 11), Florida State (Feb. 14)

Florida State (18-5, 5-3)

Florida State is perhaps the surprise team in the ACC this season. The ‘Noles
had two four-point wins this week, the first coming over Georgia Tech and the
other coming against Clemson. FSU rallied from a 19-point second half deficit to
defeat Clemson on the road.

FSU isn’t a great offensive team, with only point guard Toney Douglas
averaging in double figures. However, the ‘Noles are a tremendous defensive
team. The last two teams they have faced failed to score over 61 points.

The ‘Noles get a struggling Virginia team on Tuesday, but their final seven
games of the season come against teams with NCAA tournament hopes.

Up Next: Virginia (Feb. 10), at Wake Forest (Feb. 14)

Virginia Tech (15-7, 5-3)

Virginia Tech got the week off before facing NC State on Sunday. The Hokies
had not beaten NC State in the last six meetings, and the Wolfpack held an
18-point lead with 13 minutes remaining in Sunday’s game. However, Tech was able
to rally down the stretch, forcing overtime and eventually winning the game

It was a big win for Virginia Tech, simply because they didn’t lose. They
held serve at home against one of the ACC’s cellar dwellers. The Hokies couldn’t
afford to lose their third game in a row. That would have seriously damaged
their NCAA tournament chances.

The Hokies have two more winnable games coming up this week. They host
Georgia Tech on Wednesday night and travel to Maryland on Saturday.

Up Next: Georgia Tech (Feb. 11), at Maryland (Feb. 14)

Boston College (18-7, 6-4)

Boston College split their games this week, beating Virginia 80-70 in
Charlottesville on Wednesday, and then losing 93-76 at Wake Forest on Sunday.
The Eagles are faring much better in ACC play that the preseason picks said they
would, but they have a tough four-game stretch coming up.

The Eagles still have a relatively low RPI, when you consider their high
number of overall and ACC wins. BC needs to win three more games to feel good
about their NCAA tournament chances. Over the next four games, they play
Clemson, Duke, Miami and Florida State. Fortunately for the Eagles, three of
those games are at home. It gives them a chance to pick up some valuable Top 50
wins to put in front of the Selection Committee.

BC then closes out the season with a road game at NC State and a home game
against Georgia Tech.

Up Next: Clemson (Feb. 10), Duke (Feb. 15)

Maryland (15-8, 4-5)

Maryland lost to UNC 108-91 in Chapel Hill in their first game this week, and
then narrowly beat Georgia Tech 57-56 in Atlanta on Sunday night. The Terps are
on the outside looking in, but they are still in the picture for an NCAA
tournament berth.

Maryland has a low RPI, just 15 overall wins and a losing record in
conference play. They need to go 5-2 down the stretch to give themselves a
chance to make the NCAA tournament. That will be tough to do, as the Terps must
face Virginia Tech, Clemson, UNC, Duke and Wake Forest in five of those seven

Maryland will take the week off before hosting the Hokies on Saturday.

Up Next: Virginia Tech (Feb. 14)

Miami (15-8, 4-6)

Miami trounced Wake Forest 79-52 at home on Wednesday, then lost a tough
78-75 overtime game to Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday. They have
lost three ACC games in overtime, and another by just five points.

The ‘Canes are a good basketball team, but they don’t have much room for
error down the stretch. They have two home games against UNC and Boston College,
but must travel to Florida State, Virginia and Georgia Tech. The opportunity is
still there for an NCAA tournament berth, but chances are not good at this

Miami gets the week off before hosting UNC on Sunday.

Up Next: UNC (Feb. 15)

NC State (12-9, 2-6)

NC State blew an 18-point second half lead to Virginia Tech, a team they had
defeated six times in a row. The Hokies came back and won 91-87 in overtime. As
usual, the Wolfpack struggled with defense and turnovers. They had 22 turnovers
against the Hokies. That can’t happen on the road against good teams.

Unless they make a major run down the stretch, NC State is heading to the
NIT, or worse. They still have to play UNC one more time, and they also have two
games against Wake Forest.

Up Next: Wake Forest (Feb.11), at Georgia Tech (Feb. 14)

Virginia (7-12, 1-7)

Virginia lost at home to Boston College 80-70 on Wednesday, then fell 76-61
at North Carolina on Saturday. The Hoos have lost seven consecutive games. They
have not won since a January 6 victory over Brown, and they haven’t beaten a
team from a major conference since they knocked off Georgia Tech on December 28.

UVA has basically no chance at any kind of postseason play, barring a
miracle. Freshman Sylven Landesberg is playing well, but he’s not getting much
help from his teammates. Senior Mamadi Diane has disappeared. Diane is averaging
just 4.2 points per game, and he’s hit just two three-pointers all season.

Up Next: at Florida State (Feb. 10), Clemson (Feb. 15)

Georgia Tech (1-8, 10-12)

Georgia Tech had two close losses this week, falling to FSU 62-58 and
Maryland 57-56. The Yellow Jackets have lost three ACC games in overtime, and
two others by four points or less. They are still a dangerous team, despite
their record.

Despite being dangerous, Georgia Tech’s chances at postseason play are
basically gone. From here on out, they are playing the spoiler’s role.

Up Next: at Virginia Tech (Feb. 11), NC State (Feb. 14)

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