In Wednesday night ACC action, Virginia continues to build strong defensive credibility, holding NC State to just 47 points and just 37.5% from the floor. State kept Sylven Landesberg just seven points, but Mike Scott had one of his better games this season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Virginia now moves into a tie for first place with Duke, and if the Devils lose to Georgia Tech, the Cavaliers will be back on top, which would be remarkable.
By the way, one thing you should be keeping an eye on is that Richard Howell is becoming a real force for State. In this game, he finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. He's improving rapidly.
In our opinion, Tony Bennett has already wrapped up ACC Coach Of The Year. While Lenox Rawlings says that things are looking dismal for the ACC, Bennett is one of the real bright spots. He's looking like a keeper, and will force other schools to keep up.
The real key to the ACC is its hypercompetitive nature. State hires Everett Case and UNC responds with Frank McGuire. Mike Krzyzewski dominates the ACC after Dean Smith retires and UNC brings back Roy Williams.
Think Lefty Driesell threatening to strap the ACC championship trophy to his car and drive it around the state of North Carolina and you get a pretty good idea of what makes things work around here. Bennett is a step in the right direction.
For our part, though, what we'd like to see is the ACC take its medicine and make a return to the full round-robin. It would be brutal, but it would return the missing intensity.
There are two pretty good games Thursday night: Maryland versus Florida State and UNC at Virginia Tech. One of our pet theories about the ACC is that some of the most competitive games are driven by desperation. So it will be in Blacksburg, where the loser is on a fast track to the NIT. We think Tech is, at the moment anyway, a much better defensive team, and playing up there is no fun. Draw your own conclusions.
And as for Maryland at Florida State...the Terps have the guards, which FSU definitely does not, but as so often has been the case this year, a game against FSU is backcourt vs. frontcourt. Not that Maryland's is pathetic, but Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton present some real challenges.
|The DBR App!|
|The Next Step For DBR|
|DBR Is On Twitter!
|Blue Devil Tip-Off!|