After Miami's wonderful run ended in overtime against Boston College, State has emerged as the Cinderella in this year's tournament. After knocking off Duke in the opening round, the Pack shut down Sean Singletary in the second half, and Virginia crumbled. Coach Dave Leitao said "If you don't compete, I guarantee you the other team is going to figure that out. We stopped competing."J.R. Reynolds concurred: "We just stopped competing in the second half. We broke down mentally on defense."
The Post points out that Virginia has now "...lost to teams with the league's three worst record in their past four games," which tends to underscore the problems the unbalanced schedule has caused the conference, something we'll discuss again in a bit.
Dave Glenn discusses something which has been brought up quietly but not much in print yet, which is this: Is Leitao, well, is he nuts? Is he so overbearing that it's going to destroy his relationship with his team?
Miami, after knocking off Maryland in the opening round, nearly knocked off B.C. as well before bowing, 74-71, in overtime. Jared Dudley was obviously frustrated, but fortunately for B.C., Tyrese Rice scored almost half of B.C.'s total, with 32, and so the Eagles advanced. Miami was in control of the game until fairly late and Rice had to hit a three to get B.C. to overtime. But as we have collectively learned, B.C. is a very, very mentally tough team, and they came through.
UNC had a tight game for most of the first half before an 18-2 run put the game out of reach for FSU. Leonard Hamilton didn't help by getting a technical at the end of the first half, which let UNC open the second half with two more points.
We would think FSU has a bid locked up, but there are no guarantees yet (beating UNC was their guarantee). Is there pressure building on Leonard Hamilton?
Tyler Hansbrough wore a mask to cover the nose broken last weekend in the Duke game, and apparently just hates it. That's understandable, but it complicates life for UNC.
After Wake's amazing game against Georgia Tech, the Deacs had a half left in them, but after trailing 36-34 at the half, the game got away from them, and they lost, 71-52. Harvey Hale, who scored 21 in the two overtimes Thursday, was human against the Hokies, scoring only five points.
Wake's season is over, but with big wins against Virginia and Georgia Tech in the last week of the season, they have to be upbeat.
On Saturday, then, UNC and B.C. square off, and Virginia Tech and N.C. State do as well. If it were just a question of heart, State and B.C. would be in the finals already. Both have overcome a lot this season, and while we have qualms about B.C.'s offcourt problems (we couldn't find the link the last time we mentioned this, and some people thought it was just about Sean Williams. It's not, as you'll see after reading this), there's no doubt about the courage this team has on it. And State has just been magnificent this weekend.
Virginia Tech and UNC, by contrast, have both been up and down, and have lost to teams they never should have lost to. We said after Duke lost to UNC in Durham that this team wasn't as tough as they might be, and that's a sentiment which has spread since, most recently to Pat Forde (you'll have to read past his Duke slap, but after that, he has some points). And with Tyler Hansbrough playing behind a mask, UNC might have an additional problem.
Still, it wouldn't be the first time that a team hadn't realized its potential until the very end of the season. And if both UNC and Virginia Tech win Saturdayl, since Tech won both regular season meetings, the rematch should be intense: UNC's talent and institutional pride against Virginia Tech's burning desire to compete at the highest level in the conference they have always longed to be a part of.
But they both have to win Saturday, and we're not at all convinced they both will. For one, State just completely owned VT in the regular season. For another, after losing to Duke and UNC in the same week, B.C. lost the chance to do what Virginia Tech is visibly aching to do, which is to establish their legitimacy beyond any question. They'll get another chance to do it, and their disadvantage inside, post Sean Williams, will be less with Hansbrough playing behind plastic.
- 'Then why not us?'
- Not so unpredictable, after all (Barry Jacobs!)
- Commentary: Williams now knows much is at stake
- Hansbrough needs to get his game back
- Who was that man behind the mask?
- Va. Tech wallops Wake, advances
- U.Va. has no response
- Wolfpack's Grant buries Virginia
- Lawson directs Heels past 'Noles
- After half, Cavs 'Pack it in
- ACC Notebook: Lowe says red blazer is going to the cleaners
- Favorites Regain Some of Their Swagger
- Lowe Applies Old Coat, Wolfpack Shines
- U.Va. debacle was one for the books
- North Carolina's masked man couldn't hide from media spotlight
- Blazing through
- Coach K: Defense got Duke bounced
- First day provides the kind of drama ACC fans have come to expect
- Cavs pack it in after strong start
- Nieman, Pack won't stop the bandwagon
- TOTAL CONTROL: North Carolina beats Florida State
- PACK ATTACK: Wolfpack keeps winning with victory over Virginia
- Rice gets in gear for Boston College's OT victory
- Hokies nearly flawless in victory over Deacs
- WOLFPACK LOOKS SHARP
- Virginia guards run out of steam
- Eagles' Dudley doesn't dwell on the past
- No. 1 UNC (26-6) Vs. No. 4 BC (20-10)
- Wright helps Heels put the wraps on Thornton
- ACC title not essential for UNC
- What's the big deal?
- Williams opposes ACC in cola wars
- Defense brings Duke down
- Hokies get another chance at Pack after Deacs flop
- No masking Hansbrough's discomfort
- State's riff familiar in second upset victory
- Pack does it again
- FSU: Reasonable doubt
- Freshman trio leads Tar Heels
- State delivers shocker
- ACC showcase a warm-up for Heels
- Loss in ACC dims FSU's hopes for NCAA
- Beard column: The political stumping is over for Hamilton
- Tampa doing best to impress ACC
- Jackets can't explain another relapse
- ACC Tournament: Hidden Gems
- When it comes to FSU, excuses are for losers
- U.Va. flames out against NC State
- Nieman's dad: 'He's living a dream'
- Va.Tech stiffles Wake
- Pack claws back: State erases 14-point deficit to beat Virginia
- Mr. Mailbag
- FSU's slim hopes dim in just seconds
- For Carolina, the time is now
- Hokies pound tired Deacons
- Wolfpack still proving its worth
- What a puzzling loss
- Tar Heels smother Seminoles
- BC repels Miami in OT
- Tech's task: Stay on a rollÂ
- Pretenders or contenders? Next test will tell Terps' tale
- UNC leaves little room for upset
- Tar Heels weren't great, but still got the job done
- Virginia Tech Hokies knock off Wake Forest in ACC Tournament
- North Carolina climbs closer to ACC title
- FSU: Reasonable doubt
- SWEATY: Hansbrough hates mask
- Wolfpack Swarms Cavaliers
- Eagles Come On Late to Clip 'Canes
- Tar Heels Cruise Past Seminoles