In the tournament, ACC-wise, Maryland beat a game effort by Davidson 80-72, Boston College sent Bob Knight back home to Texas, 84-75, UNC beat Eastern Kentucky, 86-75, and Duke of course lost to VCU.Â The ACC opens up 3-1, with Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech on deck for Friday's games.Other than Duke, no one had any particular problems.Â Maryland did get a game from Davidson, but shut the Wildcats out over the last 5:51, other than one basket from freshman sensation Stephen Curry.
Al Skinner said he was looking forward to playing someone outside the ACC, and got his wish.Â The Eagles shot 53% against one of the great defensive coaches of all time in Bob Knight, and won praise from Knight, who said:
"They're a well put-together team. They cut sharply. They read our defense well, and I think there's nothing that's probably more important to good offensive play than reading a defense well."We didn't need to score any more points. But we just didn't get things done defensively like we needed to in this game."
We have qualms about B.C.'s tolerance of some egregious behavior, but if you haven't noticed it, Al Skinner is a tremendous coach.Â He finds overlooked talent, refines it, and gets his players to play really, really smart basketball on a consistent basis.Â
UNC looked as if they were going to cruise against Eastern Kentucky, but blew a 27 point lead and let the Colonels come back to within four.
After that, though, they turned the afterburners on and pulled away again, winning 86-65.
Was this a bad omen?Â The opponents just keep getting tougher, and it'll be harder to come back. Next up, for instance, is Michigan State.Â This is not a vintage Michigan State team, but under Tom Izzo, the Spartans rebound and play defense with a passion.Â Â It won't be as easy to get (or hold) a big lead.
The day's other winners include Butler, Pittsburgh, Indiana, UCLA, Vandy, Washington State, Georgetown, Xavier, Louisville, and Texas A&M.
As we said, UNC gets Michigan State next. Maryland gets Butler, which should be a fun game, and B.C. gets a scary opponent in Georgetown, which has size B.C. can't hope to match.