Around the ACC: March 1, 2010

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There is just one week of ACC basketball remaining, and there is still a lot
to sort out. Two teams will battle for first place, and five others are still in
the hunt for the two remaining first round byes. Teams are getting desperate,
which should lead to another great week of basketball.

Seven teams still remain in contention for the NCAA tournament. Duke and
Maryland are safely in at this point, while the other five teams need at least
one more win to feel comfortable about their chances.

ACC Standings










Virginia Tech






Florida State



Wake Forest



Georgia Tech






Boston College






NC State






The line is clearly drawn between Georgia Tech and UVA in the standings.
Everyone above the line has a chance to go to the Big Dance. Everybody below it
is hoping for the NIT.

Some of those teams above the line will face each other in the upcoming week.
The head-to-head results will have a big impact on seeding in the ACC
tournament, which begins on March 11.

Here’s a look at this week’s games.

Georgia Tech at Clemson, March 2, 8pm, Raycom
Miami at North Carolina, March 2, 8pm, Raycom
NC State at Virginia Tech, March 3, 7pm, No TV
Wake Forest at Florida State, March 3, 7pm, ESPN2
Duke at Maryland, March 3, 9pm, ESPN
Virginia at Boston College, March 3, 9pm, ESPNU
Florida State at Miami, March 6, Noon, ESPN2
Maryland at Virginia, March 6, 1:30pm, Raycom
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, March 6, 4pm, Raycom
North Carolina at Duke, March 6, 9pm, ESPN
Boston College at NC State, March 7, 2pm, Raycom
Clemson at Wake Forest, March 7, 6pm, FSN

Games to keep a close eye on include Georgia Tech at Clemson, Wake Forest at
Florida State, Duke at Maryland, Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech and Clemson at
Wake Forest. All of those games involve teams that are fighting for either
seeding in the ACC tournament, or their NCAA tournament chances.

Hardware Heading to College Park?

The Maryland Terrapins have won five ACC games in a row, including a double
overtime game at Virginia Tech on Saturday night. The Terps have a serious
contender for ACC Coach of the Year in Gary Williams, while Greivis Vasquez is a
pretty good bet to be named ACC Player of the Year barring a collapse in the
final week.

The only major competition for Vasquez at this point is Duke point guard Jon
Scheyer. Those two teams will meet on Wednesday night, and if one player clearly
outperforms the other, then that could decide the voting.

However, if they have similar performances, Vasquez is expected to win the
award at this point. He’s having a great senior season. He set a career high
with 41 points at Virginia Tech on Saturday, and he’s developed into perhaps the
most clutch player in the ACC.

A Closer Look at the Schedules

Duke and Maryland battle on Wednesday night, and the Terps could win a share
of first place with a home win. We all know about that game, but of the other
five teams competing for byes in the ACC tournament, who holds the scheduling

Virginia Tech: vs. NC State, at Georgia Tech
Clemson: vs. Georgia Tech, at Wake Forest
Florida State: vs. Wake Forest, at Miami
Wake Forest: at Florida State, vs. Clemson
Georgia Tech: at Clemson, vs. Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech has the most difficult road to climb. They are a game behind the
other teams in the ACC standings, and two losses this week would give them a 7-9
record. They badly need to split their two difficult games this week against
Clemson and Virginia Tech. 8-8 looks a lot better to the NCAA tournament
selection committee than 7-9.

Virginia Tech and Florida State probably have the easiest road over the last
week. They are the only two of these five teams to face a team from the bottom
part of the ACC standings. The Hokies face NC State at home, a team they beat by
20 on the road. They should win that game on Wednesday night, but they could be
facing a Georgia Tech team in a must-win situation on Saturday in Atlanta.

Games involving the five teams listed above are must-watch games for ACC
basketball fans.

Games to Ignore

There are also some games we can ignore this week. Some of the bottom five
teams in the league will face either other, and these games simply don’t matter
in terms of the NCAA tournament. They are:

Miami at North Carolina
Virginia at Boston College
Boston College at NC State

Barring a miracle run in the ACC tournament, those teams are all hoping to
win enough games to go to the NIT.

Game of the (Past) Week

Maryland defeated Virginia Tech 104-100 in double overtime in Cassell
Coliseum on Saturday night. This was probably the game of the year in the ACC,
with both teams standing toe to toe and slugging it out, trading blows in the
middle of the ring like two heavyweight boxers.

Both teams hit huge shots, came up with big rebounds and made clutch plays.
In the end, it was Virginia Tech who faltered. The Hokies missed four straight
free throws in the second overtime period, and Erick Green missed a
three-pointer that would have put the Hokies up by one with just a second left.

Game of the (Upcoming) Week

This is a game you don’t want to miss. Greivis Vasquez hates Duke. Duke hates
Greivis Vasquez. For his last game, on Senior Night, the Duke Blue Devils are
coming to the Comcast Center with a share of first place in the ACC on the line.
ACC basketball doesn’t get much better than this.

Duke blew out Maryland in Durham earlier this year, but you can bet that this
will be a different game in College Park. The Blue Devils have struggled on the
road at times this year, and the Terps will be ready to play in front of a fired
up fan base. You can catch the game at 9pm on ESPN on Wednesday night.

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