In Saturday's ACC action, UNC hosts Virginia Tech, Florida State takes on Maryland, and Clemson heads up to Raleigh to take on the Pack.
UNC's injury situation just keeps getting worse: Bobby Frasor, out for the year. Ty Lawson, still out after getting injured at FSU on the 3rd. Tyler Hansbrough, his toe recovering from a serious infection. Deon Thompson with a hyperextended knee. Danny Green has a nasty case of the flu. Marcus Ginyard is getting over a sprained ankle and a turf toe. And Quentin Thomas is having back spasms.
It's surreal. Who has four injured point guards?
Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg knows how to get a dig in! About Tyler Hansbrough: "After watching them (against Clemson), I just hope Hansbrough doesn't hurt any of our guys. He plays so hard."
Maybe it's just getting to know Greenberg, but that sounds like a sly comment on the officiating in the Clemson game.
Speaking of Greenberg, rumors have tied him to the LSU job, a notion he has rejected pretty firmly, saying that "I have had no communication with LSU, nor do I expect to. Any time you're mentioned [for a job], it's flattering...I am going to be back at Tech. I have no desire to leave Virginia Tech. I'm very happy with Virginia Tech."
He'd be stupid to take it, really. Virginia Tech is a football school, like LSU, but LSU just fired a guy two years after he made the Final Four. True, they call him Shady Brady, and there are probably reasons for the nickname, but given the history of the program, even before Brady, taking the job is asking for trouble.
Here's another way to ask for trouble: if Jeff Allen tries to punk Hansbrough. It'd be a big mistake for the rookie.
Clemson travels to Raleigh as the clear favorite, but they're coming up against an emotional buzz-saw, as State welcomes back the '83 team. Can it really be 25 years since that miracle in Albuquerque?
It's a shame the coach can't be there too, but he immortalized himself long ago and he'll be there in spirit. And needless to say, El Sid's team will get a predictable pre-game speech.
Clemson has had some real setbacks this year - injuries and crushing losses - but the Tigers haven't given up. This team is much, much tougher than last years.
Maryland, in our opinion, has made their case for the NCAAs as long as they don't fall apart. Eric Prisbell of the Post says they have a thin margin for error. But they're playing with confidence and passion, and Greivis Vasquez may be about to emerge as one of the best players in the country.
La Cabra Barbuda has the potential to be a ridiculously good player. He's not a great athlete - not like a Gerald Henderson or a Tyrese Rice - but he really understands the game, and he understands how to make enough space to get his shot off. He was good enough in the second half at Duke to more or less singlehandedly keep his team in the game, and Duke couldn't control him.
Sidney Lowe said this: "He has a different kind of game. He'll slow it down, and all of a sudden, he'll see something and burst. He plays angles as well as anybody right now at that position. He understands the game. He's very cagey. It's really hard to prepare for him."
That said, he lives on the edge, competitively and emotionally, and he takes insane risks, mostly though not entirely with the basketball. We heard Jim Young of the News-Record on 850TheBuzz the other day describe him, flat-out, as "crazy." He said Gary Williams had to rely on him but that if he didn't, he'd surely bench him more often.
We took his point and that's probably right. But we're also sure that when Williams sees Vasquez harness his talents, and also control his emotions, he's seeing a pretty amazing ball player.
Typically - we can't really think of any exceptions actually - players emerge first in practice. What we saw at Duke, Gary is probably seeing on a regular basis. More even. He's going to be really good, as long as he can control his anger. Unfortunately, his coach has a similar problem and may not be much help.
The Terps welcome FSU into town fresh on the heels of a self-imposed probation after the academic fraud scandal which came to light recently. It won't necessarily affect the basketball team - we're not sure any of the athletes were basketball players - but it will hurt the football team, and in a way that's too bad. Bobby Bowden had a magnificent run after Florida State joined the ACC, and he would love to get back to that level before he steps aside. Odds are pretty good he won't and he might not even get close.