Three big games in the ACC Saturday:Â Tech travels up to Chapel Hill, Clemson rumbles with FSU in Tallahassee, and Maryland takes on State in Raleigh.
|ACC Saturday Action!|
|Georgia Tech @ North Carolina||12:00 PM||CBS|
|Wake Forest @ Virginia||2:00 PM||Raycom|
|Clemson @ Florida State||2:00 PM||Raycom|
Ok, two big games then.Â We could see - theoretically - an upset in Atlanta, but Tech is going to have a tough time winning in Chapel Hill, unless UNC just lets them. They're too turnover prone and weak in the backcourt to pull it off without help. So barring a miracle, expect UNC to win.Â It might be better for them to have a more serious opponent about now, but nothing can be done about that.
Clemson and Florida State are playing for third place and in Clemson's case, if Duke loses in Blacksburg, the tie-breaker goes to them.Â It's hard to bet against Clemson here, but FSU is impressive.Â Both teams play intense defense, but Toney Douglas is going to be tough to control.Â The 'Noles are 2-2 in their last four; Clemson is as well. You can't ask for a much more intense environment. Well, wait, it is in Tallahassee, so reserve judgment.Â But one hopes the fans appreciate this team.
Maryland still has an outside shot at a bid, but they can't afford any more losses. But here's the deal:Â State can be beaten.Â Wake has been vulnerable on the road. And they should beat Virginia, even in Charlottesville.Â That would put them at 20-10 with two big wins over Michigan State and UNC, and 9-7 in conference and in our book, that should do it. And if not, they could still squeak in in Atlanta.
The ACC Coach Of The Year conversation has arisen lately, and it's safe to say Roy Williams won't get it since the perception since the perception, fair or not, is that his team has underachieved and not defended well.Â Of course it might have done better had Tyler Hansbrough not been injured early on and they miss Marcus Ginyard terribly.Â But that's just the way it worked out.
Mike Krzyzewski might get some support, particularly if Duke catches UNC in the regular season.Â Dino Gaudio's team has been too erratic.Â Leonard Hamilton? A solid argument.
But you shouldn't overlook Gary Williams and Al Skinner.Â A 20-win season would be a real accomplishment for Williams, and B.C. is dramatically better than they were last year.
But even though Williams won't win it, he showed that he's a much savvier guy than Jim Calhoun. When asked if he would give some of his salary back, Williams answered artfully, pointing out that his son had just been let go by Wachovia, that he had contributed a great deal to UNC financially, and that if he started losing, they wouldn't ask him for money back, they'd just fire him.Â Smart answer. Calhoun should take notes.
Less smart on Tyler Hansbrough and fouls, though.Â When asked about Hansbrough's foul shots, which are down, Ol' Roy said that
"probably the most frustrating thing that I've had to deal with during games that I've had as a coach...It is a physical game, and he does promote the physical play. He does promote the contact, but if he gets called for a reach-in foul, then blood should at least be a foul on the other end."
Part of the problem with dishing it out is that people figure you can (and probably should) be able to take it as well.