Maryland came closer than we expected, but the Terps still fell to Pitt 83-79, and, being Maryland, things are getting ugly.
Just 11-8 before the loss to Pitt, shirts are appearing that say "Purge the Turge," an acknowledgment of the move to dump coach Mark Turgeon.
After the loss, Scott Van Pelt tweeted this: "It'd be worth 50 million to never have a game reffed by Karl Hess again."
This is the thing about Maryland fans - it's never Maryland's fault. Maryland doesn't lose; the Terps are just denied, whether it's the officials, the conference, Duke, the tournament being in an unfair location or something else.
Years ago, when Clifford Rozier left UNC, Dean Smith said to him, "you know, they play defense at Louisville too, Clifford."
Aside from the finances, we wonder if Maryland fans expect that this sort of thing will change. But it won't, because the Big Ten has officials, the tournament won't often move to D.C., and teams like Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State will fill in for Duke and UNC.
It won't be long before Maryland fans realize that they are in a new world with people who have no particular sympathies for the endless excuses and rationalizations.
For the ACC, it'll be interesting to watch. Whatever Louisville brings, it won't be as...undignified.
Just leave the money on the dresser on your way out, Scott.
In ACC action Saturday, to no one's surprise, Virginia beat Virginia Tech, 65-45 to move to 15-5 and 6-1 in the ACC.
Given Virginia Tech's struggles since firing Seth Greenberg, it wasn't really a fair fight, but that doesn't take away from what Virginia has accomplished. Check it out:
- Florida State, 62-50
- Florida State, 78-66
- Wake Forest, 74-51
- NC State, 76-45
- UNC, 76-61
- Virginia Tech, 65-45
The Cavs did lose to Duke, by four, but Virginia is winning by an average of 18.8 ppg.
That's not an accident or anything, that's dominance - so far. The schedule is particularly favorable to Virginia - one of the problems of no longer having a round robin schedule.
And Virginia was pretty dominant. Malcolm Brogdon said that "[w]e were getting so many open shots that there were some we had to turn down."
From here, UVa plays at Notre Dame, at Pitt, BC, at Georgia Tech, Maryland, at Clemson, at Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Miami, Syracuse and close out at Maryland.
We see nine wins Virginia should get and Pitt and Syracuse aren't impossible, particularly with Syracuse coming late and at home. Fourteen wins would be a pretty solid affirmation of Tony Bennett's coaching style and philosophy.
While Wake Forest continues to struggle on the road, at home, the Deacs rule the roost. On Saturday, Wake knocked off Mike Brey's Notre Dame 65-58, and worse than that, pushed the Irish perilously close to .500.
Best of all, for Wake, it wasn't an easy win. Notre Dame was in it until the end.
Virginia and Pitt clobbered the Deacs, but otherwise, UNC was a seven point win, State was just by one, Virginia Tech was conquered by six, and now Notre Dame by seven.
These are games that Wake Forest would have found a way to lose a year or two ago.
Things get real quickly: Syracuse comes to town on the 29th and after a meeting with Georgia Tech on the 1st comes a trip to Duke.
Wake has to grow up a lot more still, but Wake is only a few games from being certain of a winning season. That's a change.
Syracuse got a much tougher game than expected from Miami the first time around. Miami hung around at home, but the 'Cuse won by 12.
Ultimately the same basic thing happened: Miami was tough but at the end, Syracuse had enough to control Miami at the end of the game.
It's striking, though, that Miami has given the Orange more trouble than just about anyone else.
On Sunday, State and Georgia Tech play but unless it's a really interesting game, it doesn't mean much. The most interesting thing will be to see if State can build on the remarkable win over Maryland, when TJ Warren couldn't play.
The more interesting game comes later, when Clemson challenges The Streak. The Tigers have never won in Chapel Hill, and this is one of the best chances to do it. UNC is offensively challenged, distracted somewhat by scandal and vulnerable as several teams can attest.
It's hard to guess who has the most pressure. Clemson has 0-56 to face up - possibly 0-57 - while UNC has to deal with the miserable season to date and the pressure, rising with each loss, of being left out of the tournament.
Roy Williams is not happy with his team, not even remotely: "There’s not one thing that we’re doing that I’m satisfied with. There is no phase of the game that we haven’t continued to work on, even from a technical aspect. The sense of urgency is still the greatest thing that I’ve talked about, and I’m sure I’ve used the word focus, as well. We have to do everything better."