By: Mychal Hunter
Finally. We finally saw a week that pretty much made sense in this conference. Last weekend every game was won by the team ranked higher in my power rankings for the first time this season. In fact, the only game of the week that saw a higher ranked team lose was FSU falling to BC in Chestnut Hill on Monday night.
I am just going to jump right into it today because I am still stewing from the officiating in the UVA @ GT game last night. Roger Ayers is fucking garbage.
Here we go…
- Virginia 17-1 (6-0) : I continue to be impressed by this team. They walk into McCamish last night and show a team that hangs their hat on defense what defense really is. Locking up Okogie and literally making Tadric Jackson bleed, twice, while getting called for zero fouls. The Wahoos have now won 9 in a row and are allowing an astonishing 52.6 points per game to opponents which ranks 1st in the country. They will look to get to 7-0 this week against Wake before getting into the meat of their schedule with Clemson, @Duke and Louisville in the three games following the Demon Deacons.
- Duke 16-2 (4-2) : If anyone had any doubt about that offense (why would they?) it should have disappeared after that Miami comeback. Erasing a 13 point deficit with 10 go is not that big of a deal but Miami is a really talented squad and Duke made them look pretty silly the last quarter of that game. The defense remains the question mark and Coach K has yet to find the answer. The last three games look decent on paper but Pitt, Wake and Miami aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts.
- UNC 15-4 (4-2) : It is nice to have finally found a team that wants to be in this spot. After a weekly revolving door at the three spot, UNC answered the call by going 2-0 on the week, beating both ND in South Bend and (once again) beating Clemson in Chapel Hill. The stretch four lineup seems to be working better and better the more it is used as the Tar Heels have scored 87 or more points in 2 of the last 3, something they had not done in their 6 games prior. Theo Pinson seems to be thriving in the system as well now that he is not relied upon as much to score. The senior swing man has recovered from an extended streak of bad play where he went 11-36 from the field over a seven game stretch and is now 10-21 from the field during UNC’s current 3 game win streak.
- Clemson 15-3 (4-2) : A 1-1 week against two top 25 teams is hardly a disaster considering they have never (ever) won in Chapel Hill. Even though Clemson lost, most of that was attributable to a really poor first half. In the second half the Tigers put up half a C-note and really looked good. They get a home game against Notre Dame this weekend before heading to JPJ for a mid week rumble with UVA that really interests me. Clemson’s experienced guard play is something that could really play a factor against that talented but still young UVA back court.
- Louisville 14-4 (4-1) : Just when I thought I was out… The Cardinals have now won three conference games in a row, two of which were on the road. They get Boston College and an unpredictable Miami team this week. Ray Spaulding is becoming a star right in front of our eyes and Deng Adel is Mr. Consistency (11 straight games in double figures) if not always Mr. Efficiency (6 of those games he has shot 25% or less from deep) but Louisville is looking more and more like a tournament team with each game. They have a relatively tame stretch coming up before a 1/31 showdown with UVA at JPJ (does UVA ever play anywhere else?!). Looking at their schedule this team could very well be 11-2 in the ACC heading into their 2/17 match-up with UNC.
- Miami 13-4 (2-3) : At this point I really don’t know what to think of this team. They serve as a constant reminder that John Calipari is a fucking genius. Miami has a TON of talent and to steal a term from “Street Outlaws”, they just can’t seem to get their power to the pavement. The ‘Canes are at NC State this week which has proven to be no easy task and then home against Louisville who we have already discussed. It is not outside the realm of possibilities for this team to be 2-5 when they host Pitt in a couple weeks. It is paramount that Bruce Brown find his swagger for this team to succeed, his percentages are down across the board from a very productive freshman campaign. He is desperately needed for this team to make any kind of run in the conference or in March.
- NC State 13-6 (3-3) : I said last weekend on the ACC Weekly Podcast with Matt and Jeff that I expected this team to fade down the stretch. In fact, I think I may have said it twice. I still believe that but I need to give credit where it is due, the Wolf Pack are playing really well right now and on top of a big win (Duke) they also took care of business in a game they were expected to win (Wake). That goes a long way to showing me you might be for real.
- Virginia Tech 13-5 (2-3) : After a 1-1 week they move up a spot to #8. A loss at Louisville is not necessarily a terrible thing but what is becoming a concern is that VPI has no signature wins to hang their hat on. They have hung zero fat pelts on the wall this season, their best win coming in Oxford against Ole Miss (they are at least the most talented team the Hokies have beaten anyway) and that isn’t one that is going to get you free beers at the local watering hole. They should beat FSU at home tomorrow before hosting UNC on Monday. They have to get one of those wins in my opinion.
- FSU 13-5 (2-4) : The Seminoles had a perfect opportunity for a 2-0 week but couldn’t quite get it done. After edging out Syracuse at home (in 2OT) they dropped one on the road to Boston College in another one of those horrendous play on Saturday and travel for a Monday night game scenarios which should not be allowed but that is a discussion for another day (Such as the Sunday podcast). The ‘Noles have some winnable games coming up but certainly no “gimmes” so we will just have to wait and see.
- Georgia Tech 10-8 (3-2) : That was a tough one last night. Virginia is #2 in the nation for a reason and that reason is obviously that Roger Ayers has his head driven completely up his fucking ass looking for his whistle which is also buried up there. Anyways, it’s the same ole story for the Jackets, they don’t have a guy that can just go them one. The one positive from last nights game was Curt Gone Bad drilling triples but it turned out to not be enough. The Jackets need to find that Ben Lammers magic from last year if they are going to have any hopes of an NIT bid.
- Notre Dame 13-6 (3-3) : They finally get Matt Farrell back and then they lose DJ Harvey for a month, the team is truly snake bit this season but they continue to play with a lot of heart and grit regardless of their obvious short comings. The Irish have now dropped 3 in a row and play 3 of the next 4 on the road, @Clemson, VPI, @Duke and @NCST. Things have potential to go off the rails quickly in South Bend but Mike Brey is one of the best coaches in the country (that’s right), he will find a way to at least be competitive.
- Boston College 13-6 (3-3) : The Eagles continue to be one of the biggest hit or miss teams in the conference but one that defends their home court rabidly (11-1). Jim Christian stepped OOC this week to get a win over Dartmouth and then hosted FSU where the Eagles scored another quality win. They hit the road this week against Louisville and Syracuse but if they are able to split that slate you can expect them to possibly jump GT and ND next Friday as both those teams have tough roads ahead.
- Syracuse 13-6 (2-4) : The four game losing streak is finally over with a win against Pitt but that doesn’t buy you much credit in my book. The Orange have three winnable games in a row with BC, @Pitt and @GT, lets see what they do with them. The way the schedule lays out this team could still go 8-10 or 9-9 if they figure it out or they could go 6-12, who knows. The Orange still interest me based on their potential if nothing else.
- Wake Forest 8-10 (1-5) : Chaundee Brown is obviously in the doghouse for some reason, I can’t imagine him sitting this much otherwise. The freshman guard who has struggled a bit this year has played less than 20 minutes in 3 consecutive games and only received 7 minutes of run in the NC State game. The team did play hard until the end in Raleigh but I just don’t think the coaching is there. Manning pulls in a bunch of talent but that will cease unless he can figure out a way to scratch out some Ws.
- Pittsburgh 8-11 (0-6) : The Panthers have now lost 6 in a row to start ACC play and have not really even been competitive, scoring more than 55 points only once (67 @ VT) in league play. Stallings has obviously lost the fan base (never really had it) and needs to go but where does the money come from? We have talked about it before, I am not going to waste time talking about it again. At this point I think the fan base has paid enough for running Dixon out of town, this program is currently on fire and no one seems to be pulling the alarm.
Don’t forget to tune in Sunday for a new episode of ACC Basketball Report Podcast. Tell your friends, tell your shrink, tell your moms.