By Mychal Hunter
Been a slow week here on the site and for that I apologize but there was certainly no lack of news or drama in the ACC this week. I’ll obviously get into everything tomorrow with the podcast but Miami and FSU look to be righting the ship, Virginia Tech finally got themselves a quality win and Georgia Tech is pretty much toast.
Lets get after it…
- Virginia 19-1 (8-0): Today is the day folks. The showdown. #1 vs #2 in the ACC and possibly the game of the year. Obviously Virginia’s defense receives its biggest test of the year today when they face the Duke Blue Devils and that high powered offense. Can Isaiah Wilkins stop Marvin Bagley from taking over? Maybe at least make him tap the brakes? Virginia has held three straight opponents under 50 points, that streak will most likely end at around 3:20 this afternoon.
- Duke 18-2 (6-2): The Blue Devils face their largest obstacle of the ACC season at 2pm today in that Cavaliers defense but I am more interest in if they can prevent Virginia from getting those quality shots that those double baseline screens produce. I think Duke’s defense is the key to this game, not their offense. Against teams not name Pitt or Evansville recently they have still been a sieve on defense. They are at home and Virginia is a pretty young team so look for the Crazies to have an impact.
- UNC 16-5 (5-3): The Tar Heels remain in the 3 spot despite their loss at Virginia Tech. I can’t move Clemson up after their loss and Louisville just fell to Miami so they are out as well. The defense displayed in Blacksburg can’t make Ole Roy happy and the last team I would want to be is NC State in Chapel Hill today.
- Clemson 16-4 (5-3): I expect the Tigers to tumble a bit in the coming weeks given the loss of Donte Grantham. Amir Simms is a fine player and will give Clemson quality minutes but at this point in his career I am not sure he can sustain his play over 30 minutes played or consistently game to game. Elijah Thomas needs to step up here and be more consistent in the front court, something he has yet to do this season.
- Miami 15-4 (4-3): The ‘Canes have now won back to back games against NC State (in Raleigh) and against Louisville and averaged 82 points on offense while doing it. If this team has finally put it together offensively they are a legit elite eight team and possibly title contender. I need to see more though.
- Louisville 15-5 (5-2): Had they beaten Miami I would probably have them in the 3 spot but after winning four in a row against inferior teams they couldn’t get that big win. Louisville has the personnel to be a final four team but they can’t seem to get that big win. Their best win is currently a victory over FSU in Tallahassee, they get Virginia on Wednesday, I am not optimistic.
- FSU 15-5 (4-4): The Seminoles looked really impressive going into McCamish and hanging 88 on Georgia Tech the other night. Terance Mann set a new career high (again) with 30 and was utterly unstoppable Wednesday night. If he plays like that every night the ‘Noles are going to be hard to beat. They get Miami today looking to avenge an earlier loss at home. Should be a great game.
- Virginia Tech 14-6 (3-4): The Hokies finally got the win their resume needed in a home victory over the Tar Heels. That was probably the best I have seen them play since the first half against Kentucky. The question now stands: How do they respond? They have two very winnable games this week but both are on the road at South Bend and Chestnut Hill. Neither game will be easy but they are games VPI should win.
- North Carolina State 14-7 (4-4): The Pack is the biggest question mark in the ACC not named Louisville in my opinion. They have proven they can beat literally anyone but have also struggled against teams like Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. If this team makes it into the dance they will be a very popular team chosen to be upset in the first round.
- Syracuse 14-6 (3-4): The Orange made the most of a week that is about as easy as the ACC gets, earning victories over both Pitt and BC in NY. They get Pitt again on the road and then head to McCamish before taking their shot at the Cavaliers. Tyus Battle has looked good lately but the injury to Matthew Moyer could be a big deal as the Cuse bench has been short lately.
- Georgia Tech 10-10 (3-4): The Jackets have now lost 3 in a row for the second time this season and look like a team that just isn’t going to figure it out. Too many injuries, too much inconsistency and not enough offense. It’s a shame that Ben Lammers will never go dancing.
- Notre Dame 13-7 (3-4): Another team that just can’t get it together but it’s all about injuries for the Irish. Matt Farrell has been shut down indefinitely and will miss at least the next two games. This now becomes TJ Gibbs’s team about 9.5 months sooner than expected, behind him there just isn’t enough to keep the Irish afloat I don’t think, which is a shame as they were a legit elite eight type team when healthy.
- Boston College 13-8 (3-5): The Eagles can beat anyone in Chestnut Hill when that triple is falling but have now lost two in a row on the road and put up less than 70 in each game. That front court depth is a real bitch right now but they get consecutive home games against VT and GT this week, they aren’t going to make the dance but they can enjoy playing spoiler for sure.
- Wake Forest 8-12 (1-7): What needs to be said here? This team looks like they may have packed it in on Danny Manning, losing 6 in a row. At this point Manning should be grateful that he has a star studded class coming next year otherwise he might be the one packing up.
- Pitt 8-13 (0-8): Again, what is there to say? They did finally crack 68 points in a 72-68 loss to NC State but have yet to crack 70 in an ACC contest this year. It’s good to have goals I suppose.
There it is folks, short and sweet today. Tune in for the podcast tomorrow for some more good stuff, it should be a good show.