Historically, the Big Four have been at the heart of the ACC. There's a chance this year that all four could fade, with Duke having the best chance for a top finish, but even the Blue Devils are having issues.
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UNC has some critical weaknesses and Wake and State are rebuilding. Neither Wake Forest nor Carolina helped things Wednesday night.
As we expected, Wake simply couldn't handle Virginia's defense, but we didn't realize how incapable the Deacs were of guarding Virginia.
Since December 4th, Virginia has scored 38, 72, 57, 66, 52 and 62 points against Wisconsin, Green Bay, Northern Iowa, Norfolk, Tennessee and FSU.
74 points and shot 50% overall and from three point range.
It's a veritable offensive explosion for the stodgy Cavaliers.
As for Wake, it's back to the drawing board. The UNC win was a certifiable Big Deal, even against these Heels, because Carolina is still a yardstick to measure yourself against.
Wake Forest turned the ball over on its first three possessions and never recovered.
Wake's road woes continue: the Deacons have not won on the road in the ACC since January 21st, 2012, at Boston College. Jeff Bzdelik's personal ACC road record is 1-25.
After the game, Codi Miller-McIntyre said "We just didn’t come ready to play. I really do not know how to explain that."
Bzdelik wasn't much more forthcoming, saying that "I really don’t know the answer to that. Obviously toughness, mental and physical toughness, competitive spirit, discipline, all those intangibles are truly tested when you’re away from home."
Concussions coming and going: Joe Harris might've gotten one against Florida State Saturday, but he played. As for Wake's Devin Thomas, it's unclear. He got his bell rung by Virginia's very physical defense, tried to go, and was taken back out. No word yet on his condition, but nobody's messing with concussions anymore.
It sounds funny to say this, but UNC was the easy part of a three-game stretch. After Virginia, Wake Forest makes the trek to Pittsburgh to take on Pitt. That's another knock-down defensive team and, likely, another painful loss for Wake Forest. The Deacs have grown a lot but not enough.
As for UNC, anyone who can figure this team out should get an honorary Ph.D.
As we've said for some time now, Jim Larranaga is a superb coach and he's doing the very best that he can with a team decimated by losses.
Did a pretty damn good job in the Dean Dome Wednesday.
Miami completely controlled the tempo, holding UNC to just 57 points. Not surprisingly, Miami zoned UNC and forced the Heels to take a third of their shots from three point range - not something UNC wanted. Marcus Paige was held to 2-15 from the floor and just 2-11 from three point range.
People are really keying on Paige now. Toss out UNC-G, Northern Kentucky and UNC-W as irrelevant and look what's happened lately:
- vs. Michigan State - 4-14
- vs. Kentucky - 6-13
- vs. Texas 5-13
- vs. Davidson 4-12
- vs. Wake Forest 3-12
- vs. Miami 2-15
True to form after the game, Hamlet-on-the-Hill was questioning his mental well-being, saying that "I do feel mentally probably worse than I’ve ever felt as a head coach right now...When you go to school here and you coach here as an assistant and you come back and coach here, it’s a feeling of ownership and it’s a feeling of pride. And right now we’re not doing a very good job with this basketball team. That’s the hardest thing there is I’ve ever had to say."
Life can't be too bad then.
Oh, wait, it might be: UNC's next trip is to Syracuse, where the Heels will see a zone again, and an exceptional one at that.
By the logic of this season so far, though, UNC should beat Syracuse by, say, 15 or so.
Makes sense, right? No? Good. Nothing else does either.