State is so hot that the question now is not how good are they (damn good),
but rather, are they peaking too soon? Could be. They're playing
really well, but they might be a few weeks ahead of schedule. If this was
the first week of the NCAA Tourney, we'd be picking them for a deep run. They're
experienced, they're shooting well, they play good defense, and the offense just
flummoxes a lot of people.
Check this out: State started the
game against FSU with eight straight three-point attempts, as the 'Noles
tried to defend the interior. State got 12 points out of that, which is
pretty damn good. State ended up hitting 14 out of 30. That's 42 out
of a total of 75 (State won 75-59, which is almost the same score - in reverse -
as it was in the Duke-State game last month, which ended 76-57).
Florida State has now lost 20 straight ACC road games. N.C. State is
now 12-0 at home and are licking their chops for a crack at Duke, which they'll
get Sunday. Make no mistake about it: we're going to get State's absolute
In Tuesday's other ACC game, UNC went down to Hotlanta, with a chance to
either rise to third in the conference or slide down to fifth.
Unfortunately for the Heels, Tech prevailed, 88-77, and UNC is in a fifth place
tie with Florida State. UNC gets Maryland next, another team which was in
serious bubble danger, but which has fought its way up. UNC still has a
chance to finish at .500 in the ACC, but their margin of error is shrinking:
they have home games left with Maryland, Florida State, and Clemson. They
have scores to settle with all three.
Clemson of course has never won in Chapel Hill, and it's hard to see who they
could this year. Florida State humiliated UNC in Tallahassee, and they
have lost 20 straight games. So add those two, and UNC is up to 6
wins. Maryland is problematic but not impossible, and is probably the
toughest home game left. With a good effort, then, seven.
It's hard to see UVa beating them, even at home, so that's eight by our
count. So they win their home games and take UVa, and they're in. If they lose
any of these four, they have to beat either State or Duke on the road. They
could do it, but it won't be easy. Easier to hold serve at home and whip
UVa at home.
We meant to link this yesterday and forgot: the son of UNC assistant
coach Joe Holladay has been serving in Iraq. His time there done, he is in
Italy and will soon
head to Chapel Hill for the first time in a very long time. We're sure
that his parents are immensely relieved he's okay, and since he's the only
member of the ACC family we know of who served there, our thanks to him for
doing a very difficult job.
Good news for the bubble teams: the
ACC is the top conference, according to Jeff Sagarin.
Sagarin ACC school rankings:
- Duke - 1
- Tech - 6
- NC State - 11
- UNC - 15
- Wake Forest - 17
- Maryland - 20
- Florida State - 33
- Virginia - 75
- Clemson - 87
If you take this seriously, the ACC should see Duke, Tech and State in the
tournament with no real debate, UNC, Wake and Maryland with some, and then maybe