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First Blood!

Some Recent Wake Games
Wake 67, Georgia 68
Wake 72, UNCG 62
Wake 79, High Point 35
Wake 70, Arkansas 64
Wake 66, Oregon 67
Wake 84, Ohio 78, 20T
Wake 57, Villanova 70
Wake 64, FSU 66

If you're surprised that Florida
State knocked off Wake,
you shouldn't be (from yesterday's DBR - "Wake
had better get their problems sorted out, because despite a lack of top-drawer
talent, FSU is well coached and smart and they'll take the bacon right off of
Wake's plate if they play the way they played in Hawaii.").

First, Wake hasn't exactly
been ripping it up lately, having had a horrid Hawaiian tournament, and even
before that they weren't exactly on fire. Their best win was a trashing of
Temple, who was missing their star player.

Arkansas is less impressive when you look at their schedule - they have
beaten UT-Arlington, Mercer, Santa Clara and the like. In their
significant games they've lost every one - Iowa State, Oklahoma, Wake Forest,
Providence, and Memphis. 8-5 isn't that impressive, particularly when every
major conference team on the schedule beat you.

Villanova has lost to UMass, Tulsa, and Temple (they did however beat
Michigan). After Tuesday night's loss to Seton Hall, they are 6-4.

Georgia is poking along at 7-5. Not exactly murderers row.

Secondly, FSU is always a good bet to take out an unprepared team. We
took one look at the schedule the year after Arizona won the national title and
predicted - here, in print in the summer - that FSU would beat Arizona.

Whatever is happening at Wake -and their funk has been quieter than UNC's,
but probably not anymore - they are about to hit an absolutely critical stretch.
Next up is Clemson at Clemson. The temptation this year, of course, is to say
it's a gimme game, that after eating cupcakes for years, what your mom said has
come true - you are what you eat. In Clemson's case, that would be a
cupcake. But Clemson is always tough at home, and Odom had this to say
about his team: ''We seem to lose enthusiasm. It's like we stand out there and when an opponent makes a great play, we look at each other and say, 'They're not supposed to do that.' Well, they are supposed to do that. They're doing what they're supposed to be doing. The truth of the matter is we're not doing what we should be doing.''

If Clemson sees an opportunity, you'd better believe they'll take it.

Dave Odom has earned great respect as a coach, but he's got a problem:
after Clemson, win or lose, comes in short order, UNC at home, State in
Raleigh, Maryland at Maryland, and then Duke at home. After that
they get Tech at Tech, UVa at home, and sort of a breather with Davidson.

That's a tough stretch. By contrast, FSU get South Florida next
(actually not a bad team this year), Clemson and Duke at home, then Tech, UNC,
and UVa on the road.

Of course the ACC can change quickly, but one
thing we all know is that whenever anyone smells blood in the water they go for
the kill. In the immortal words of Larry Shyatt, "they'll run over you with a glass bottom truck and watch you die in this league."
Shyatt is up now, and if he manages to score a kill, the others will be more
than ready to add to Wake's pain.

On the other hand, one of the secret keys to the ACC is despair. Wake is
likely feeling it now, and they are liable to respond with a frenzy. Stay