Maryland and Notre Dame both faced disaster Sunday and both escaped. Notre Dame's was considerably more difficult. Canisius - Canisius! - took the Irish to the wire in regulation and only in overtime did Notre Dame manage to put the Golden Griffins away.
Put it on top of the Ohio State collapse, the failure of Jerian Grant to handle his schoolwork and his forced withdrawal from school and the transfer of Cameron Biedscheid, and December has been just horrible for Mike Brey's program.
It's hard to imagine how it could be much worse. At least the Irish did manage to stave off mighty Canisius, but just barely.
Remember Jimmy Baron? He and his Rhode Island team nearly knocked Duke off in Cameron a few years ago.
His brother Billy, briefly a Virginia Cavalier, nearly did in Notre Dame in the same fashion, scoring 33 and hit a three to tie the game at 73 with just 1:02 left.
Notre Dame, remember, was expected to compete at the highest levels of the ACC from the beginning. It's really hard now to see that happening this year.
As for Maryland, the Terps regained the services of point guard Seth Allen, but for the first half, Tulsa didn't care and held their own. Maryland did pull away in the second half and avoided losing three straight home games to unranked non-conference opponents. But Mark Turgeon was happy to have Allen back: “Seth Allen did what Seth Allen does, he got us going. He got the rim, he hit a couple of threes, he makes everybody better.”
The return of Allen also frees up Dez Wells to focus on slashing and scoring. It's a huge break for Maryland.
Turgeon, by the way, also notched his 300th career win.
Georgia Tech had no guarantees against Charlotte, a team with some big wins (K-State and Michigan) already, and sure enough, the game came down to the wire:
Georgia Tech's Trae Golden hit a clutch three pointer with just 3.6 left, but Charlotte came right back and Pierria Henry hit one too. Unfortunately his was ruled late, so the 58-55 margin stood.
Golden hit for 24 while Marcus Georges-Hunt finished with 10 and Daniel Miller put up nine points and nine boards and also nein three pointers. Hey, you take a joke where you can find it.
It's an unusually busy Monday with five games. Charleston Southern visits Florida State, VMI takes its run-gun offense into Clemson's gut-punch defense, while Miami hosts Loyola, and Virginia becomes the third ACC team to play Tennessee and State visits UNCG.
Virginia remains an intriguing team though one that has not (yet) lived up to its potential.
Last year, UVa and UT slugged out a 46-38 game in Charlottesville. It probably looked like a game coached by Bennett's dad, Dick, who didn't mind a game in the 30s one bit, as long as his team won.
UVa won last time; the rematch may be tougher. And after that ACC play starts with a visit to Florida State, which is a root canal if anywhere is.