In Saturday's ACC action, Clemson beat Miami 74-66, Virginia Tech survived Virginia 61-55, Wake Forest knocked off Georgia Tech, 75-64 and Carolina beat State 74-61.
As for Carolina, the AP lead says it all: "So this is what North Carolina is reduced to: a feeling of relief after beating a rival it hasn't lost to in three years."
To make matters worse, there were a lot of no-shows in the stands.
A win, however, is still a win and UNC needed one in the worst way. So far, they've only managed to beat two ACC teams: State twice and Virginia Tech once.
Speaking of Virginia Tech, they gutted out the win over Virginia. It was a really close game throughout and was tied, 51-51 with 1:36 left.
Tech's Jeff Allen hit a three and made a steal to give the Hokies a cushion. Tech built an eight point lead before Sammy Zeglinski hit a meaningless layup to cut the lead to six at the buzzer.
Tech won of course, but notice has been served: Virginia will not be an easy win anytime soon. Not for Tech and probably not for anybody
At Clemson, the Tigers had their second hot shooting game from behind the three point line in a row, hitting 9-21, which effectively neutralized Miami's zone.
Even so, it wasn't an easy game. Miami's soft schedule made it difficult for them to transition to ACC competition, but at this point they have pretty much done it. That's not to say they're winning everything, but they're competitive: this was a four-point game with 45 seconds left.
Worth noting: without Demontez Stitt, Clemson lost three out of four. Since his return, they have won two straight.
Since losing to Duke in Durham, Georgia Tech has gone 1-3, and they were fortunate to beat State, as the Pack made a superb comeback and only lost on a questionable non-call.
Against Wake Forest, Tech shot well from three point range, hitting 10-25, but didn't hit a basket for nearly the last nine minutes of the game and were out scored 15-2 down the stretch.
Star rookie Derrick Favors had just four points and two rebounds. Teammate Gani Lawal had 15 points and 12 boards.
One of the great mysteries of the ACC season is this: what the heck happened to Favors? He was supposed to be a surefire star. For whatever reason, he's been something closer to a supporting player. Brian Zoubek has had a much better year - who would have predicted that?
While Georgia Tech is still in the polls, at least until the next one comes out, they are now in eighth place in the conference and one has to wonder if pressure will be brought to bear on Paul Hewitt. No one in the conference has more talent, and there's no reason whatsoever for this team to be under-performing so severely.
Well, except for perhaps the coaching.
By contrast, Wake Forest has now moved into second-place and seems to be catching a wave.
Here's something to kick around: if you were AD at Tech, and decided to make a change, who would you go after? Who's on your short list? Here's a quick attempt:
- Billy Kennedy, Murray State
- Kevin Stallings, Vandy
- Doug Wojick, Tulsa
- Brian Gregory, Dayton
- Shaka Smart, VCU
- Brad Stevens, Butler
Only one game on Sunday as Boston College treks down to Tallahassee for what seems a likely loss to Florida State.
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