Today's games are, at least two out of three, looking pretty good.
Maryland should wipe FSU, having clobbered them twice during the season.
Nothing's changed there.
We've vacillated on the other two games, having picked State and UVa both at
least once, and UNC-Wake is pretty much a tossup.
Can you well we have no idea?
We can say this: of all these teams, only Maryland can be positive they're
in the NCAAs. The other five will have to scrap like hell. So at least
two games should be highly competitive and entertaining.
Wake-UNC should be particularly compelling. Both teams are very proud,
of course, particularly UNC, and both have had difficult seasons. How will
they react now that they are, potentially, at the end? UNC is liable, as
they are at any given time, to shoot 60%. But Wake, having found a serviceable
point guard in Ervin Murray, suddenly finds Darius Songaila surging.
Coincidence? Hardly. He's also big enough to pose some problems
defensively for Ed Cota. ACC fans know well that it's foolish to write UNC off, even in an 18-12 year. That North Carolina across the chest - wait, let's try that again - that tradition is a big stick to carry. Like Kentucky in their dark years, UNC can still take that stick and beat someone silly, and while 18-12 is sub-par, it's hardly a disaster. Even if UNC loses, expect, at the absolute minimum, at least one kick-ass power surge during this game.
State-Uva has a different storyline - two programs who hoped to move to the
upper echelon, only UVa has pulled it off this season - amazingly only two years
into Gillen's regime. State had essentially collapsed this year, of
course, and now there is speculation about Sendek bolting Raleigh for Lincoln
and the Nebraska job. Hey, if he feels unsafe in Raleigh, it's hard to
blame him for leaving.
Bottom line: any of these four teams could get hot and play their way to the
championship, and parlay that into a reasonable tourney run. Who will step
up? The proud UNC program? Wake, suddenly clear of confusion? State, who thought
they had made it, only to lose seven straight before snapping out of their funk
at FSU with a dominant road performance? Or the dazzlingly quick - and sometimes
quite erratic - UVa?
Should be a fun day of tourney action. As Ernie Banks used to say, let's play