At this point, there's not too much question that Maryland
is the hottest team in the ACC.Â Last night they continued to prep
for what could be a nice post-season drive, defeating
FSU.Â Normally you can put Maryland in the same category with a few
other teams who won't go past the round of 16, at best, but this team could.
It's the smartest Maryland team we've ever seen. Normally that's like saying
the highest jumping pig we've ever seen, but this team pretty clearly has it
going on. A lot of this is due to the improvement of Juan Dixon and Lonnie
Baxter, of course, but Steve Blake is the guy driving the ship. We're glad we
don't have to be talent analysts, because it's hard to tell from a brief
appearance anyway, what to expect. For instance when we saw Blake in Raleigh,
he wasn't very impressive and we
didn't think he would be this good. But when we saw Archie Miller dominate
Baron Davis, we thought he'd be sensational.
UNC avoided the senior day upset and knocked
off Tech in overtime.Â We were psyched for Cremins, thinking he'd get
one last, cool upset, but it didn't happen.Â Lenox
Rawlings says the ACC will miss Cremins, and we can't speak for anyone
else, but we will. He's obviously a nice man.Â They'll probably get a
very cautious guy in there, and almost certainly no one will do a
teleconference from a bathtub again anytime soon. Nice
to see Art Chansky in a good mood.
UNC of course is the last team in captivity to maintain a JV team, which
serves some useful purposes - a development team for promising walkons and
head coaching experience for assistants. Last night they got Jason Parker and
Fork Union, and Parker
put on a show.
Here's a prediction that Wake
could win the ACC.Â Why not? Someone will.Â Chances are Duke
will struggle, being as thin as they are, and it's only a question of time
until someone says it would be to Duke's benefitÂ to not win the
ACC (you won't hear it from Coach K, we're betting).Â Right now it seems
unlikely that Clemson or FSU could win it. Maybe Tech could get on an
emotional bender and pull it off. UVa could do it but they are still a bit
young (we looked last night and something like eight guys are first or second
year players, which makes you wonder what they will do over the next two
years). We're not gamblers, but if someone put a gun to our head and said pick
a winner now, we'd say Maryland, UVa, or, yes, Wake.Â Duke is a gutty
team, but in that environment they'd miss Dunleavy terribly we think.