In ACC action Saturday, Miami is at Clemson, Virginia Tech at Virginia, and
Florida State at Wake. With Duke at Maryland, that means that three of the
four 5-5 teams are in action (Tech hosts N.C. State on Sunday).
There is also a logjam below those 5-5 teams, with Virginia, N.C. State, and
FSU at 3-7, so the standings will look a lot different after this week.
Actually, with three teams at 8-2, four at 5-5, three at 3-7, this may be an
ACC first. It obviously is with expansion, but we can't recall a year when
things were both this tight and this delineated.
Virginia Tech and Miami continue to hang in there, but with the stretch run
at hand, we'd expect Maryland and Georgia Tech to pull out in front (though
obviously we're hoping Maryland waits a game to make their move).
Miami will get a different sort of ACC experience at Littlejohn, one of the
best pits in the ACC.
Wake could be ripe for a loss - State wasn't too far off actually - but not
this one. After the upset in Tallahassee, we'd be shocked if FSU won in
The best of these three, though, will likely be Virginia Tech at
Virginia. As intense as some of the ACC rivalries are, Virginia and
Virginia Tech has its own magic. Putting them both in the ACC will just
So by the end of this weekend, things are going to be pretty different.
If things go according to form Sunday, State will lose to Georgia Tech, and
will fall to 13-11, perilously close to .500, and that's the minimum for an NIT
With Maryland, UNC and Virginia Tech at home, then a trip to UVa, and closing
with Wake at home, State's road is very tough, and the now-traditional calls for
Sendek's head will get louder.
We don't really have a stake in whether he stays or goes, but it would be fun
to see how someone else could do with the job.
So who would it be?
One of the names to pop up has been Bob Knight, who apparently wouldn't mind
escaping Texas, and might find fertile recruiting grounds in these parts.
Rick Barnes always comes up whenever the State job is discussed, and he is
from Hickory and a lifetime ACC guy. But he's got a great gig in Texas and
dominates the recruiting in one of the nation's most talent-rich states.
He'd be third banana in the Triangle.
Rick Majerus might be a great fit if he's healthy. He would satisfy
State academically, and his teams are razor sharp. He would also make
State fans happy with his ability to periodically say things which are
But what State grew up on, what State was weaned on, was a sense of
showmanship. From Everett Case to Norm Sloan to Jim Valvano, State has a
deep and abiding love for a coach who has a flair. Knight has that to an
extent - certainly he has charisma, although his temper deflects from it - and
Majerus does to an extent as well.
There are a number of other guys who would be on the list. They might not
want him, his reputation isn't great, and he'd cost a fortune, but things have
been sort of up and down for Billy Donovan, and who knows, he might enjoy a
change. Plus the hire would severely antagonize Roy Williams, and for State,
that would be a bonus.
Still, the ACC pattern is to hire an up-and-comer, and there are at least
three solid candidates nearby who would be great hires for either State or
Blaine Taylor, of ODU, is doing a great job. He is 22-3 so far this year. He
also has head coaching experience, at ODU and Montana, and he was an assistant
at Stanford, so he learned from Mike Montgomery and has dealt with demanding
Jeff Capel of VCU had a gaudy debut year last year. He lost some key seniors
but is still buzzing along at 13-9. You'll remember Wake almost lost to VCU last
year in the tournament.
And finally, Bob McKillop of Davidson. The guy has done a brilliant
job. He has either beaten or competed with Kansas, Stanford, UNC, and
Duke, and has done well against all. He would be a great hire for anyone.