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ACC Roundup

In Tuesday night ACC action, Maryland travels to Florida State and Georgia Tech goes to Wake Forest.  Wake's season, barring a run for the NIT or a striking upset, is more or less over and the Deacs will point to the future since the present looks pretty barren.  But Georgia Tech? That's a different situation.

Tuesday Night ACC Action!
Teams Times TV
Ga. Tech vs. Wake Forest 8:00 RLF Split
Maryland vs. FSU 8:00 RLF Split
ACC Standings
Virginia Tech 6-1 .857 16-5 .762
North Carolina 5-1 .833 19-2 .905
Boston College 6-2 .750 14-6 .700
Duke 5-2 .714 18-3 .857
Virginia 5-2 .714 13-6 .684
Clemson 4-4 .500 18-4 .818
Florida State 3-4 .429 15-6 .714
Maryland 2-4 .333 16-5 .762
Georgia Tech 2-5 .286 13-7 .650
Miami 2-5 .286 9-12 .429
NC State 1-5 .167 11-8 .579
Wake Forest 1-7 .125 9-11 .450

Tech can still play their way into the tournament, just as they seem to be determined to play their way out.  But they have to win the winnable games and then take a few they won't be expected to win.  Losing to Wake would be devastating.

If you accept our ACC theory of the importance of desperation, the Maryland-FSU game is very interesting indeed.  In our mind, at this point, the cutoff for the tournament is anyone under Clemson, which means losing this game is going to cost someone.  Since both teams like pressure defense and running, and both also tend to historically not deal with pressure all that well, it could be highly entertaining, like watching a demolition derby in fast forward.

It's still somewhat under the radar, but at Maryland, there is a certain level of concern with the play of the team over the last few seasons.  A lot of Maryland fans assumed they had arrived with back-to-back Final Fours and an ACC title.

Unfortunately, not much has happened since then.  The Terps have struggled each year, crushed on Selection Sunday.  Last year, Gary Williams declined the NIT before the school advised him his team would be participating.

His accomplishments at Maryland surpass anyone else's by far.  But Maryland fans are brutally demanding, and another NIT-level season will drive them to distraction.  How Maryland deals with that pressure is going to be one of the big stories of the rest of the season.

So far, Paul Hewitt has managed to escape a serious level of criticism, but if Tech doesn't improve, it's coming.  And it'll get worse, since Georgia seems to be improving rapidly, and nothing irritates Tech fans more than being behind the Bulldogs.

People are still talking about Virginia's amazing win at Littlejohn Sunday, which is understandable. They'll be talking about it for a long time: it was one of the great comebacks in conference history.  How does it stack up in UVa's tradition? Take a look.

With UNC in second place, even if temporarily, think the Heels are still steamed about their loss at Blacksburg? They won't pay a heavy price for it, but it has to be annoying to look up at Tech in the standings and know they're the better team.

After the game in Durham, Oliver Purnell refused to make a public scene about the clock problem.  A lot of people had wild ideas about it, including some columnists who should have known better (and would have had they done their homework), but the truth was pretty simple:  one of the officials forgot to push the button.  The guy who works for Duke didn't control it and wasn't responsible for it.

He has impressed us a lot in his time at Clemson as a smart guy, a hard worker, and someone who doesn't whine or make excuses.  Our belief is that the idea that Duke somehow gets all the breaks has started to work to Duke's benefit, as a lot of people now think they can't win no matter what.

Purnell has wisely avoided that trap, and his team will be a tough match for Duke - and anyone else - as a result.