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ACC Roundup

So much for an undefeated Clemson - the Tigers ran into Georgia and got their
first loss of the season - but it was close. But Clemson got a double dose
of bad news - forward James Mays is now academically ineligible. That
can't help. Mays had started every game and was Clemson's best rebounder,
and also was scoring 9.2 ppg. What if he had played?

In his absence, Clemson went to basically a 4 guard lineup, starting K.C.
Rivers, Vern Hamilton, Cliff Hammonds, and Sam Perry, around Akin Akingbala.
it's worked for Villanova.

Both teams are rebuilding under sharp coaches, so stay tuned.

School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
Duke 1-0 1.000 11-0 1.000
NC State 1-0 1.000 10-1 .909
Maryland 1-0 1.000 9-2 .818
Georgia Tech 1-0 1.000 5-4 .667
Clemson 0-0 .000 11-1 .917
Florida State 0-0 .000 8-1 .889
Wake Forest 0-0 .000 9-2 .818
North Carolina 0-0 .000 7-2 .778
Boston College 0-1 .000 9-2 .818
Virginia Tech 0-1 .000 9-3 .750
Miami 0-1 .000 7-5 .583
Virginia 0-1 .000 5-4 .556

Georgia Tech lost to Air Force, 54-56, in what must be a depressing loss for
Paul Hewitt's program. Don't get us wrong, we know Air Force is solid, but
it's a service academy with the normal recruiting limitations. Tech got
beat by a 6-10 center who bombed away from outside.

Air Force (now 11-1) only committed six turnovers; Tech coughed it up 19

The other conference games were what you'd expect - State slapped New
Hampshire around, Virginia beat Md. Baltimore County 77-66, UNC trounced
Asheville 89-47, and Maryland rode a hot first half to beat Delaware State, but
only by 14.

Congratulations to Gary Williams, incidentally, for winning his 550th game.

As we have often said, the odds are against anyone winning the national
title, and you really have to be profoundly lucky, even if you're really
good. Consider: Duke had to get an astonishing play from Christian
Laettner and Grant Hill to beat Kentucky in '92. UNC was one missed call
from losing to Villanova last year. In the year Jim Harrick led UCLA to
the title, only a full-court last second drive defeated Missouri. And
though Illinois didn't win last year, they had to pull off an amazing comeback
late against Arizona just to have the chance to get to the Final Four. The
exception last year was Louisville, but it was an unusual exception: it's
a program which has a legendary tradition, a brilliant coach, and was on the
verge of entering the Big East. The exception that proves the rule, in
other words, and they lost by 15. Look at the Elite Eight last year:
Michigan State, Kentucky, UNC, Wisconsin, Louisville, West Virginia, Illinois
and Arizona.

Our point? While you can't predict anything with certainty, you can
have some generally reliable facts to go by. First: the national
title is almost always won by a school from either the ACC, Big East, SEC, Big
12, Big 10, or PAC-10. The smaller conference reps are generally out by
the Sweet Sixteen, and almost certainly by the Elite Eight. So you can
pretty much draw on those six conferences and figure that your Final Four will
most likely come from them.

So while it's early to think about such things, and momentum and luck play a
big role, who might be ready to take a step up to play for the title? Who could
it be? Hmmmm?

We wouldn't bet on anyone in the Big 12 - they look awful so far as a
conference. Villanova could certainly do it out of the Big East, and we could
see any number of Big Ten teams going, including Tommy Amaker's Michigan.
We're not sure the PAC-10 will get there this year, though Washington is looking
tough. Kentucky and FSU are the logical picks at this point from the
SEC. And the ACC?

Obviously Duke has a chance to win the title, and Maryland and B.C. should be
factors. But don't overlook the team in Raleigh.

We submit that this year's N.C. State team has the potential, for the first
time in a long time, to win the national title. They always play great
defense (a must), Cedric Simmons and Andrew Brackman are excellent inside
players, Illian Evtimov is almost the ideal player for State to put in the high
post passing position in their version of the Princeton offense, and the guard
play, between Engin Atsur and Tony Bethel are a solid backcourt, more so the
healthier Bethel gets.

And they have Cameron Bennerman, a freak athlete who has been a head case for
much of his career but less so this year, Gavin Grant, and freshman Brandon

This is a deep team, too, with eight players getting double digit minutes and
two more close behind. Plus they shoot well and they play a tremendous
half-court game - something critical deep in March.

Will they do it? Who the hell knows? And as we said, the odds are
against everyone, Pack included. But the point is, you have to look at
them and think, you know, they could do it. And it's been awhile
since anyone has thought that about State.

Think the Herb haters would shut up if they did?

Just as an incidental note - if you had to look at the ACC standings and draw
a cutoff line for the NCAA as of now, only Georgia Tech, Miami, and Virginia
would be teams to rule out.

- The Postseason Projection Version!
School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct. RPI
Duke 1-0 1.000 11-0 1.000 2 NCAA Bid
NC State 1-0 1.000 10-1 .909 57 NCAA Bid
Maryland 1-0 1.000 9-2 .818 23 NCAA Bid
Wake Forest 0-0 .000 9-2 .818 90 NCAA Bid
Boston College 0-1 .000 9-2 .818 53 NCAA Bid
North Carolina 0-0 .000 7-2 .778 41 NCAA Bid Possible
Virginia Tech 0-1 .000 9-3 .750 121 NCAA Bid Possible
Clemson 0-0 .000 11-1 .917 34 .500 record
guarantee NIT bid
Florida State 0-0 .000 8-1 .889 158 .500 record
guarantee NIT bid
Miami 0-1 .000 7-5 .583 134 .500 record
guarantee NIT bid
Georgia Tech 1-0 1.000 5-4 .667 194 .500 record
guarantee NIT bid
Virginia 0-1 .000 5-4 .556 152 Postseason play
RPI rankings are according
to Mike Greenberg

And we know that Tech and Miami could do some damage of course.

Whatever happens, the ACC could get 11 of 12 teams in post-season play.
Clemson and FSU are fairly close to guaranteeing post-season play, since a .500
record will get them into the NIT, and they're just a few games

Eric Williams was heading back to Wake and shooting to be there in time for
practice Tuesday evening, but
got a ticket -
for doing almost 90 in a 65 zone! Wake coach Skip
Prosser says it's no big deal, but you know, 89 mph, it's really hard to stop
when you're going that fast. Not least of all in Raleigh, which has become
quite congested.

We'd be curious to see if anyone is enterprising enough to look at the
tickets and see what Williams was driving. Not that we think Wake is doing
something slimy - far from it. Wake is a very admirable school in almost
every respect. But we would be curious to see what he drives, and if he
was rolling along at about 90 in an SUV or some other oversized vehicle.

We didn't see this article about David
Wednesday, but here it is in case you missed it as well.

People talk about coaching trees all the time, but what about the DeMatha
coaching tree? We'd really have to stop and break it down, but if we
remember correctly, two of Morgan Wooten's sons are excellent high school
coaches, and unbeknownst to us, Mike Brey and Dereck Whittenburg, who were
teammates at the legendary high school, and both now head coaches at Notre Dame
and Fordham respectively, say they
have been like brothers
for years.

And while he's not a a coach, former Stag Danny Ferry is turning heads as
Cleveland's young G.M. Who else? There are bound to be more than
these. Well, obviously Sidney Lowe, who has been an NBA coach.