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ACC Roundup

It's going to be a busy Saturday in the ACC, busier than usual since the Sunday night Fox
games started. Quick rundown:

UNC vs. UK
FSU vs. Florida
Mount St. Mary's vs. Maryland
New Mexico vs. Wake Forest
Tech vs. Georgia
Providence vs. UVa
Duke vs. Clemson

Almost every game, with the exception of Maryland and NC State, is compelling
on some level. UNC-UK is obvious and a big game no matter how you slice
it: Kentucky somewhat on the skids, UNC's chance to stake a claim with Roy
Williams on the bench, the two winningest programs in NCAA history.

A surging FSU has a chance to stick it to long-time rival Florida, and since
they've been close in previous years, when they sucked, you have to give them a
shot this time. Plus Florida has been somewhat erratic.

Tech has a similar situation with Georgia - a hated non-con rival, and even
better, a chance to kick them when they're down.

Pete Gillen takes on his old team, Providence, where he upset Duke once upon
a time.

Wake takes on a somewhat down New Mexico, but that's a fun program to
follow. They're just as likely to burn up as to do well, but they have an
immensely loyal fan base, a great, great homecourt, and should be an
excellent opponent about now. Wake
has some injuries to overcome
, which could be a problem.

Duke and Clemson is always good in Littlejohn, and Clemson really made great
strides in their last game and is likely to be very confident, and deservedly

So what will happen? Well, let's look at it. Kentucky has managed
to avoid their traditional Tubby slow start by playing patsies, a strategy which
is backfiring now. If UNC goes in with Williams
and May ready to play
(we'd expect Williams, and probably May to go), we'd
take them because the talent, though thin, is clearly superior, and the
coaching, while still new, is as well. In addition, the natives are
restless, and that is likely to put pressure on UK's players, who historically
have not performed well under conditions of less than total adulation.
That's the drawback to playing at a place where there is such obsessive
focus. Same thing happens at Arizona, Iowa, and New Mexico.
Caveat: May has to be pretty sound for UNC to win. He can't pull a
Willis Reed. Historical note: a win over Adolph Rupp (using the four
corners) went a long ways towards establishing Dean Smith as a successful
coach. Don't think Ol' Roy isn't aware of that.

We'd rate FSU/Florida as a tossup at this point, with the psychological
advantage to the 'Noles, who are ready to take a bite out of somebody. Who
better than the Gators?

Tech has a potentially very dangerous game. As we know here, bitter
rivals can have terrible years and still upset their opponents - think Duke in
'73, for instance, over UNC. Or was that '74? Anyway, great upset for the
Devils. Georgia now has a no-nonsense, disciplined coach who has his guys
listening. Still, they're all over the map, giving Gonzaga a tremendous
game, then losing to Winthrop, and badly. But still, all it takes is for Tech to
get cocky, and they're in serious trouble. We expect Tech to win, but
anything could happen here.

Virginia might have a tough match with Providence. The Friars have knocked
off Alabama, Illinois, and Richmond, though just barely. They're getting
good and toughened up. Anyone think the 'Hoos are?

State would deserve to lose to UNC-W after scheduling so many lame opponents,
and you can also expect the RBC Center to be just about empty yet again.
To us, this is the worst part about the Sendek era - the absolute risk
avoidance. What good does this game do them? Maybe it gets the Turkish
Motor, Engin Atsur, more incorporated. That's about it.

Maryland has long since proven they're willing play anyone, so they get a

Duke-Clemson is covered elsewhere here, but in case you missed it: at times
in the BC game, Clemson played brilliantly. Their talent is not where
they'd like it, but it's not horrible either. Duke better be wary, because
if Clemson plays that way again, they can play with anyone in the conference.

Here's a business perspective on what's
happened to UNC basketball over the last couple of years.

Tom Izzo and Mike Montgomery may
think the ACC gets too much credit,
but they weren't saying that when the
conference was getting three bids to the tournament, now were they?