In Thursday night ACC action, Maryland got by Florida State, 71-67, and Virginia Tech survived UNC at home, 74-70.
Give the Heels credit: they played better. It just wasn't good enough.
Roy Williams demoted Marcus Ginyard, who is supposed to be the senior leader. Dexter Strickland took his spot and while he didn't score, other than a free throw, he did grab seven rebounds. Jon Henson had 14 points off the bench.
Odd stat: Will Graves, Deon Thompson, Ed Davis, Larry Drew, Ginyard, and David Wear all got seven shots each. Henson just missed with six.
UNC had a chance to cut the lead to one in the waning seconds, but Graves' three-pointer went in and out. On the radio, Woody Durham said he'd never seen a shot go so far in and still come out.
Here's a telling stat: Virginia Tech had just 10 turnovers; UNC had 19, and Drew and Ginyard had four each.
It's been that kind of year for UNC, though. They've now lost five of six and with the loss remain stuck in 10th place. Here's how bad things are: ninth place Boston College plays Duke Saturday. Should they win, they will make UNC's efforts to dig out a great deal harder. Their next game is at Maryland, if this weekend's massive storm permits, and then Duke at home. While the Duke game is always a tossup, the oddsmakers will favors their opponents in both games. If they're correct, UNC would fall to 2-7 in the ACC.
UNC is thus in the awful position of almost having to pull for Duke to beat Boston College if they have any hope of climbing back towards a respectable finish.
Maryland by contrast is in a much better situation. After defeating Florida State, the Terps, like Duke and Virginia, have just two losses in conference play.
Grievis Vasquez wasn't that far off a triple-double with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. And the Terps did a tremendous job on Solomon Alabi, holding the young big man to 12 points on 4-15 shooting. That's even more impressive when you consider that he got seven offensive rebounds.
Chris Singleton had an awful game, shooting just 1-7. However, Derwin Kitchen went nuts, shooting 12-16 for a career-high 29 points.
The Seminoles collectively shot just 37.7% for the game.
If we had to guess, given the massive snow predicted for the Maryland-DC area, we think there is a very strong chance this weekend's game with UNC will be postponed unless perhaps they bused directly over to College Park after the game in Blacksburg.
Not quite, as it turns out: they'll be chartering a plane and flying up Friday night. Here's the rule: as long as both teams and two out of three refs can make it, you play. Maryland's home-court advantage will probably be greatly diminished.
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