In ACC news, a big Saturday around the conference, and a lot of bloodletting: Georgia Tech and Virginia fell to .500 with Tech losing to UConn, 80-68, and Virginia to Wake, 80-64. Miami stole a game from Virginia Tech 74-71, which could cost the Hokies dearly, and Maryland continued their resurgence, beating State 84-70, in those awful mustard-colored uniforms they've broken out periodically since the days of the Lefthander.
Maryland is the most consistent team outside of Duke and UNC and has moved into third place, and is almost certain of a bid, barring a collapse.
State was in it in the first half before Maryland put them away with a strong second half. James Gist had 30 and Grievis Vasquez had 15 assists, a school record, and just missed a triple double.
Maryland of course visits Duke on Wednesday, a game Gist said he has circled on his calendar after losing to Duke at College Park.
The Terps have won four straight and 10 out of 12, which pretty much qualifies as hot.
Virginia lost again, and again seemed listless, trailing throughout the game. Have they given up? Has Leitao lost his team? He'll never lose Sean Singletary, who is a warrior, but the others? Things are grim in Hoosville. Leitao benched Mamade Diane and Mike Scott, who was recently critical of his coach, in favor of Ryan Pettinella and Jamal Tucker.
Down the road in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech missed a major chance: instead of being 6-4 and 15-9, the Hokies fell to .500 in conference and 14-10 overall. That was a winnable home game, and with UNC, Maryland, an improving Georgia Tech and Clemson still to come, that's a big loss.
Miami limited Tech to 19 rebounds.
Paul Hewitt warned his team not to take the game at UConn's 7-3 Hasheem Thabeet, who racked up 24 points, 15 boards, and and six blocks. He says he focused on it for two days but they didn't listen. So whose fault is this?
Still, unlike Virginia, also at .500, Tech didn't give up and had a shot at this game though it got away from them.
On Sunday, UNC takes the court for the first time since losing to Duke, and the Heels still are trying to figure out what happened. Marcus Ginyard says for some reason they just didn't try hard. He says some pretty striking things here.
It's not clear yet whether or not Ty Lawson will play. Clemson has to sense an opportunity here, although it's equally possible that UNC will be so mad they'll just completely erupt. It's a big game no matter what happens: if Clemson breaks through at Chapel Hill, they'll force a three-way tie at third place, and Maryland will have the tiebreaker.
Now imagine the intensity they'll bring to Cameron on Wednesday if Maryland shows up in second place.