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ACC Roundup

Sunday was a fairly spectacular day for the ACC, with a) a surging State team
staking a claim by beating #1 Duke; b) a pair of desperate teams in UNC and
Maryland squaring off in Chapel Hill with the loser getting back in bubble
trouble, and c) a spectacular performance by Chris Paul to lead Wake Forest in a
stirring upset of Cincinnati.

Conf. Overall
Duke 10-1 21-2
NC State 9-2 16-5
Georgia Tech 5-5 18-6
Wake Forest 5-5 15-6
North Carolina 5-6 15-7
Florida State 5-6 17-8
Maryland 4-6 13-8
Virginia 3-8 13-9
Clemson 2-9 9-13

We deal with the Duke stuff separately here, so let's move on to the other
two. First, congrats to Wake Forest. What a wonderful victory! It could
reinvent their entire season if you think about it, particularly if they follow
up with a win over Duke this week. They went 2-6 for a stretch, and this
goes a long ways towards overcoming that. Plus they made Bob Huggins blow his
cool on the sideline, which is very cool in our book.

As for UNC-Maryland, the Heels went into halftime with a 20 point lead, if we
remember correctly, but Maryland eventually cut it down to 3. Much like
Duke, they couldn't get over the hump and fell back again.

The conference race has tightened again, almost to the point of
hysteria. Duke lost their margin and could be tied for first place if Wake
wins, assuming State keeps up. State plays at Clemson this week, which has been
a tough game for them lately, and there is always the possibility of a letdown
after an emotional win. We'll see.

At this point, the odd team out with the NCAA Committee has likely shifted
from UNC to Maryland, and now that FSU has fallen somewhat, they might get
zapped too because they haven't won on the road.

We got e-mail from a guy the other day who took us to task for boosting the
ACC, and said that really, outside of Duke, no ACC team was a real threat to
make the Final Four. We really disagree with that. While Maryland may be
too young, and FSU too non-tourney savvy to make a deep run, anyone above those
two is very capable of getting hot and making the Final Four.

Duke of course is favored to do so. And by the way, UConn, who was also
expected to, has likely ceded their #1 seed to Pitt. So that means they'll
probably be the #2 seed in our regional. Oh, joy.

A lot of what happens in the NCAAs depends on luck and your bracket.
For instance, a few years back, Billy Tubbs and Oklahoma went in a #1 seed and
UNC was their second round opponent. To us, there was no question about
who would win that matchup.

There are some tough teams for anyone - Stanford would doom Maryland, UConn
would likely beat State, and Cincinnati-Tech would be rough for Tech. But you
never know what the tournament brings. Sometimes the brackets just part
like the Red Sea and a team wanders into the Final Four without any trouble at
all. We're not predicting an all-ACC Final Four or anything, but the teams
here are so wildly competitive that you can't rule them out of any game.