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ACC Roundup

Dave Leitao had to do it. He had to get off script. He couldn't
just let Virginia be the last place team in the ACC like it was supposed to
be. He had to go and teach his guys how to play and how to not be
intimidated by the other teams.

No Games Friday
Atlantic Coast Conference
<!a href="" target=_top>Duke 5-0 17-0
<!a href="" target=_top>Miami 3-1 11-6
<!a href="" target=_top>N.C.
3-2 14-3
<!a href="" target=_top>Virginia 3-2 9-6
<!a href="" target=_top>Florida
2-2 11-3
<!a href="" target=_top>Maryland 2-2 12-4
<!a href="" target=_top>North
2-2 10-4
<!a href="" target=_top>Georgia
2-2 9-6
<!a href="" target=_top>Clemson 2-3 13-5
<!a href="" target=_top>Boston
1-3 13-4
<!a href="" target=_top>Wake
1-3 12-5
<!a href="" target=_top>Virginia
0-4 10-7

And apparently give them steroids in their Wheaties. That's a
joke. But what he's done with his team is far from a joke.

How did Virginia get 12 blocks on UNC? How did they hold their supposed
betters to 36.2% from the floor? How did Laurynas Mikalauskas kick Tyler
Hansbrough's ass so thoroughly at the end of the game?

On the one hand, Virginia deserves immense credit, because really, most
people didn't think they'd be able to do well in the Southern conference, much
less the almighty ACC.

And after he ended up with only eight scholarship players, the season looked
grim. But give the 'Hoos credit: they have bought into what he's
selling, and Mikalauskas (note to self: learn to spell without looking this up),
Jason Cain, and to a lesser extent Tunji Soroye, have given Virginia a
reasonable presence down low, defensively if not necessarily offensively.

They've got a touch schedule coming up - Miami, then trips to Duke and State,
and then Wake at home - but we can't help but admire what this team is doing. It
is one of the better stories in college basketball.

UNC, by contrast, well, they're not exactly tanking, but if it were a stock,
a lot of people would be selling about now. And when you see what a brutal
road they face, well, life is about to get really difficult: they jet down
to Tallahassee on Sunday to play a deep and athletic FSU, a team which currently
finds itself in fifth place in the ACC. If things go just right for them,
and B.C. knocks off Miami, and Wake upsets State, FSU could go into the UNC game
with second place on the line. Think they'd be pumped up for that?

After that, UNC gets Boston College at home, then Arizona, then off to
College Park, then Clemson and Duke at home. That's a brutal six-game
stretch, with Clemson being the possible exception, but let's remember:
UNC has had Manos di Piedra lately, and Clemson's strength is in the backcourt,
which makes it potentially interesting. As Coach K said, speaking of
Vernon Hamilton, "He’s the heart and soul of that
team. And that team has a lot of heart and soul."

That's a very tough stretch for a team which is having trouble holding onto
the ball and its confidence. For the Heels, realistically, their season
comes down to these games: do well, and they're tournament bound. Tank,
and the NIT beckons.

Interesting story during the game about Tyler Hansbrough's brother, who had
brain surgery and was told he'd never run again. He's running marathons now.

Here's a nice story about Clemson's
Vernon Hamilton
, who has hung in there and made himself into a really good
player despite some adversity.

As we said above, Florida State may be on the verge of doing something they
very rarely, if ever do, which is to be in second place in the conference after
more than three games in. But bad news for 'Noles fans, and for the
University: due to a broadcast dispute between Comcast and Fox Sports Net
Florida, which Comcast doesn't carry,
most televised FSU games aren't even on local cable
. So how's that for
a major suck factor: FSU might be in position to really stick it to UNC, but no
one will see it in Tallahassee, unless they have a ticket.

Well, almost no one. May we recommend DirectTV? Our experience
has been very positive.

Speaking of FSU, this story about Bob Sura in high school is
tangential, but somewhat funny.
Sounds vaguely like a story Valvano
might have told.

In the Atlanta paper, Mark Bradley, definitely not a Duke fan, predicts Duke
will lose either at UNC or Maryland and therefore not go undefeated, but will
win the national championship. He also predicts Tech will not make the
tournament, but Tech is getting better. And if not this year, next year
they'll add Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton to Anthony Morrow and Jeremis
Smith, they'll have a dynamic young core, and they'll make some serious noise.

Frank Dascenzo argues that there
is no clear second-best team in the ACC.

Surprise! The Herald-Sun actually
sprung for a road trip to Charlottesville.

Tech's woes continue,
on court and off: one player's (this article
doesn't identify which player) guardian died last week. You
name it, it's gone wrong for Tech this season.