In Saturday's ACC action, Wake Forest survived Virginia in overtime, 64-61, State nearly came back against Georgia Tech but fell short 73-71, Virginia Tech knocked off Clemson 70-59, and Florida State got by Miami 71-65.
|ACC Sunday Action!|
|North Carolina @ Maryland||2:00 PM||FSN|
What Virginia has done so far this season is incredibly impressive, and as Zach Berman of the Post points out, Virginia has lost five games by five points or less.
Not only does Tony Bennett have his team playing competitively, he's done it even while mending the damage Dave Leitao inflicted on their collective psyche over the last several years.
In a sense, you could compare them to State as being nearly there, although Virginia is further along than the Pack is. After the game, Bennett said this: "Let's learn from it, and keep being about quality. We have to play on Wednesday [at Maryland]. This league is so good."
It would be interesting to have a conversation with Bennett about the ACC versus his experience in the Pac 10 not to mention the Big Ten.
Obviously, the weather affected attendance, but the official tally was 11,972. If so, that's pretty impressive.
Over in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech managed, or at least listed, 9,847 brave souls who watched them take down the Tigers. The injured Demontez Stitt played, but wasn't overly effective. In 27 minutes, he shot 1-6 and had one assist.
Both teams shot 30.6% from the floor and while Clemson dominated the boards, 42-31, they had 17 turnovers to Tech's 10.
However, they couldn't keep Malcolm Delaney off the foul line. He had 23 shots and made 20 of them to set a record for Virginia Tech. Clemson has lost a lot of ground since Stitt got hurt. At 4-5 in the ACC, they need to get busy soon.
You could certainly make an argument that Georgia Tech is the ACC's Team Stupid. Right now, even Paul Hewitt might agree.
That aside, as we've said all season, State is not that far away. In the last few years, even if you gave them a game, they weren't capable of taking it.
And make no mistake, Tech tried to give it away. It's pretty hard to blow a 16 point lead with five minutes left. It happens, of course, sometimes, but an element of panic has to get into things.
Hewitt pretty much blew a gasket after the game. After ripping his team for their performance at Duke, he said this:
"I told them that was the most embarrassed I've been since I've been here -- in the second half at Duke. That was absolutely, completely an embarrassment. Well, I topped that today."
But as Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta paper points out, pretty thoroughly actually, he's the coach and it's his responsibility to get them ready. He has a very talented team. Whose fault is it that this happened? We must say, though, that his rant is pretty classic stuff.
State's Julius Mays had a chance to win the game on a last-second three-point shot, but missed. Sidney Lowe argued that Mays had been fouled and was so angry that he left the court without shaking hands with Hewitt (he went to the locker room afterwards to make amends).
Florida State survived Miami, but a win is a win is a win.
They got a great game out of Luke Loucks, who scored 19 including four crucial free throws down the stretch.
As usual with these guys, it's about defense: they didn't play much in the first half but corrected it in the second.
On Sunday, UNC takes on the Terps in Comcast, and in the great ACC tradition, not to mention the tradition of the weather up there currently, Maryland is more than ready to pile on. Gary Williams has a deep and abiding desire to beat Duke and UNC and he'll have his team ready.
The weather is again an issue: it's unclear how many fans will make it, and UNC had trouble just getting to the arena to practice. Gary Williams is reportedly sleeping in his office to make sure he'll be there. And whatever happens Sunday, they have to get back to the Triangle. Given the transportation woes in the Capitol area currently, that may take some time.
The stay meanwhile hasn't been entirely fun: Ed Davis and Jon Henson both tweeted that Maryland fans are up to their old tricks, calling the hotel and trying to disrupt their sleep.
The struggles this season are clearly getting to Marcus Ginyard, according to Dan Wiederer, who says his public persona has changed a lot with the team's fortunes.
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