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A Great Slate Of Games!

Today brings a great slate of ACC games between teams with generally
different styles and a lot of great story lines as well.  First of course
is Duke and Georgia Tech. Bobby Cremins and Coach K broke in at the same time,
and both got good at about the same time as well, Cremins behind Mark Price,
John Sally and the Haitian Sensation, Yvon Joseph, and Coach K behind Dawkins,
Alarie, Bilas, Henderson & Amaker.  Lately of course their fortunes
have largely diverged. More accurately, they've both had adversity but Coach K
has largely overcome his - his back/exhaustion problem, his hip replacement, the
NBA defections - old news.   Not so for Cremins.  He was crippled
when Stephon Marbury departed, and when Dion Glover left after rehabbing a year
on Tech's dime, he was stuck again (put Glover on this team and it's not that
bad).  But that's the way things go sometimes.

Tech has the intensity which despair provides, at least until hopelessness
hits the city limits, and Duke will have to match that. It won't be easy for a
young team which could be cocky after two big road wins.  The potential for
an upset is clearly there.

In the second game, State and UVa are two rising ACC powers with very
different styles, though State is promising to run more.  But UVa is
committed to running and offensive imagination, while State, reflecting Herb
Sendek's sometimes nerdish mentality, will put defense first always.  The
offense is better, but it's not there yet, at least not on a predictable basis.
Well the shooting isn't always there. The offensive rebounding is most
impressive. So it's UVa's running against State's power.  Good fight there!

State, UVa, and Wake are, right now anyway, jockeying for second place. Wake
is playing UNC,  at Wake. A couple of weeks ago, it would have been easy to
pick Wake in this game, because UNC was struggling so much.  For some
reason, recently, Wake has struggled just as much if not more as UNC did
earlier.  A win in this game would be huge for the Deacs. Can they do it?
Of course they can.  If FSU can come back from 18 down, why can't Wake win
a game against UNC?

Unfortunately, they'll have to figure out ways to stop Cota and
Haywood.  They might be able to defend most of the other Heels reasonably
well, but those two matchups will be tough.  Our guess is Wake will try and
push Haywood out from the basket and double team him, but they can't do that if
Lang is playing reasonably well and Capel is hitting his shots.  The
Forte-Dawson matchup (when they do match up) should be fun.

The funny thing is, the natural tendency is to think they are the red-hot
three point shooters, and they are both very good. But what's this? Who's the
leading 3 point artist in the ACC? Ed Cota?

True. Easy Ed is hitting 48.4%, compared to Forte's 43.6%.  He's fourth overall. Third in the
conference is Cwell, who is at 44.8% - not bad.  Cota has only shot 31,
though. Most 3's chunked up thus far? 87- by both Jason Williams and Shawn Fein,
of Tech.

Speaking of stats, here's reason to bet on UNC and UVa tomorrow: Wake and
State are wretched from the free throw line, and both games are likely to be close. After 13 games, Wake is hitting
only 61.4% from the charity stripe; after 12, State is at 60.4% To borrow from
Ross Perot, now that's just sad. And it may cost either of them the game

Duke is first at 76.1, Tech second at 72.1, UNC third at 70.7.

Another surprising stat - Duke is the leading rebounding team in the
conference, at 39.8, followed by Clemson at 37.9.

 One other interesting stat - the closest guy to Brendan Haywood's FG%
(76) is Carlos Boozer, at 64.4%.  That's an unusual gap in that stat.